Tasted in Gilly les Citeaux with Laurent Ponsot, 19 August 2020.
Laurent on 2018:
“Bottling is finished for all the 2018s, I think it’s another great vintage – it seems like we’ve lost the recipe to make bad wines. I consider the last so-so vintage to be 1994, the last bad one to be 1984 – you could find some great wines in 2004 – for those that waited to pick! I blended the wines in 1994, declassifying to 1er crus, but in 1984 I declassified everything to Bourgognes… I’m always ready to be strict. We pretend to make haute couture wines – but it’s not just words, every detail is important, but if one wine is not in accordance with the appellation then I will distil – and I did that with some wines in 2017 – the new winery will have its own distillery!
“I find both colours very harmonious in 2018. The vine is the best reverse osmosis machine – when there’s no water, the berries are the only source of water for vines to sustain the leaves – and with sustained leaves you still have the chlorophyll and you get maturity and sugar – you accept the lower yields. I think that the date of bottling was important in this vintage – and it’s the wine that decided – if, after a month or a month and a half there is no new development then the wine is ready – we have a new bottling line that allows us to bottle one barrel if necessary but of course with cleaning before and after it will still take a day!”
I asked Laurent how covid was affecting the domaine commercially:
“We are suffering, of course. Half the production ends up in the hands of restaurants and we have only been around for about 3 years so are perhaps less ingrained in purchasing decisions of some of them. My way to sell is to share the wines, but with the lockdowns, we haven’t had that chance. Now that I’m in the process of building a new winery – you could call that poor timing – but what a winery it will be!”
2018 was a very successful vintage for Laurent Ponsot – and in both colours. In only one wine – the Griotte – did I note any potentially cooked fruit flavour yet that wine was still excellent. It begs the question, given Laurent’s much later harvesting, how so many dark and volatile wines could be produced in the vintage, many from Chambolle, yet here with later picking the wines are fresher and show more purity. A conundrum on one hand – such a great result on the other…
2018 Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée du Perce Neige
Depth, a little breadcrumb note to start, opening to become a little zestier. Nice presence in the mouth, supple, slowly ingraining. A wine with a growing power but still understatement today. Radiating its flavour in the slightly mineral finish – very persistent.
2018 Meursault Cuvée du Pandoréa
6 providers and many more parcels included for this cuvée
Hmm, this is directly much finer and more inviting – a lovely aroma. More mouth-filling – more scale to this wine – the balance and slowly ingraining acidity are really on a high level. Fresh juicy finish – simply lovely.
“Blagny doesn’t need to be like the Meursault!”
Less open but with lots of tight material – concentrated – but slowly opening. Fresher attack than the villages – more mineral – similarly juicy – what a great finish. Bravo!
2018 Meursault-Charmes Cuvée de la Centaurée
“A real Charmes, from everywhere in the vineyard – 5 suppliers.”
A wider, more floral-inflected nose – a certain cushion to this aroma. More depth of concentration and a certain muscle here. Luxuriously textured. Waves of flavour radiating from the core. This is excellent Charmes – well done.
“Like the Charmes, a wine that represents all the areas of CC with 6 different suppliers.”
Les direct impact but more floral freshness versus the Charmes – clarity too. Beautifully structured, mouth-filling wine. Super-energetic intensity of flavour in this finish – proper grand cru – bravo.
“It’s not by chance that we make Meursault, it corresponds to our taste but villages Puligny and Chassagne are not really our taste – but the grand crus from there are not bad,” smiles Laurent! “Passion and pleasure are everything, knowledge is less important than the emotion.”
Ooh – now here is a nose of volume and presence, some florality again. Muscular, mouth-filling wine – yes there is another level after Charlemagne! So perfumed flavour – great wine – this is just so impressive!
No fining, no filtration.
Very perfumed, high-toned fruit, but not tending to volatile. Bright, beautifully fresh – intense, a small grain of tannin – that’s a brilliant Bourgogne!
2018 Beaune 1er Cru Cuvée du Noyer
All three hills, with 8 different 1ers in here.
That’s beautiful again, a little mineral, and a growing round, but fresh, red fruit. Rounder lest direct focus than the Bourgogne, beautifully mouth-watering – there’s an attractive tension here in the finishing flavours.
The same price as the Beaune; 9 different parcels including some that are owned.
Aromatically a little more depth and a faint herb too – growing more beautiful with air. More width, energy and excitement – versus the contentment of the Beaune. Really an extra level of middle flavour complexity. Beautiful village – bravo!
2018 Vosne-Romanée Cuvée du Cerisier
Bright, pure, though less width than the Gevrey – again adding extra dimensions with air. Fresh and more direct, finer texture too. There’s a minerality here, a style that suggests waiting longer to drink than any of the previous wines – delicious as the middle and finishing flavours are! Simply excellent.
2018 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Les Charmes Cuvée du Tileul
A little more depth of colour. Concentration and depth of cherry fruit are the first impressions – subtle complexity too. Mouth-filling, a flavour profile that’s more ingraining and complex. More persistent with more volume – this is great flavour. Very successful for Chambolle in 2018!
2018 Clos de Vougeot Cuvée du Cèdre
“6 providers for this wine – I like the number 6!”
More width of aroma – stone-fruit in there – slowly becoming floral too. Concentrated, silken, beautiful texture – yet there is a super line of freshly intense flavour too. Of-course it is structured, but here is a very accessible, complex 2018 grand cru. Excellent wine – easier, perhaps than the Vosne today!
Frêne – an ash tree.
Just a little less colour. Airy and perfumed with flowers – Laurent has great aromas in 2018 – bravo! A wine with a tiny grain of tannin, but mouth-filling without weight, complex, beautifully structured too. Great, porcelain wine – gorgeously structured and detailed! Did I say a great wine?
2018 Griotte-Chambertin Cuvée du Saule
A little extra colour – hmm here is a weight of fruit but not heavy. A small vibration of more cooked fruit – certainly compared to the picture-perfect Bèze – but nothing is really overdone. Concentrated, supple, super textured too. A wine that really starts to open up from the middle into the finish – more overtly complex than the Bèze, though that would still be my pick from these wines. A very good Griotte vintage here.
Complex and fresh – so good – the scale is perfect too! Very wide, intense – and growing ever more-so. There is concentration, indeed a richness of fresh fruit flavour here too. Impeccably balanced. Some years this wine is great, other years in is incomparable – today it’s somewhere in-between. A resonant finish – great, great wine!