Tasted in Gilly les Citeaux with Laurent Ponsot, 6 July 2021.
Laurent had been in his (more than) impressive new winery buildings for about 1 month when I visited. After the covid slow-down he told me that the markets were starting to open up for him “I like to sell to customers face to face with a bottle of red in one hand and a bottle of white in the other – but in the last 2 years that’s not been possible – finally now our business plan looks possible with the opening of the commercial frontiers. The allocation of the 2019s has been done, and the first deliveries will be made in November of this year.”
I asked about the volumes of his recent harvests: “I was actually just working on the numbers; 80,000 bottles in 2017 and 2018 but lower in 2019 – it’s about 70,000 – even lower again in 2020. We have a large new space here but 80-100,000 fits our haute-couture approach with comfort – we could stretch maybe to 120,000 but I don’t want to get larger than that. I do still have some gaps in my range that I’d like to fill but slowly, slowly, and with a long-term view.”
In terms of Laurent’s exploitations, I note that from 2020 he has a new fermage agreement for the Mercier family’s vines of Domaine des Chézeaux, so going forward none of the Chézeaux labelled wines will be coming from him in the future.
Laurent on 2019:
“I really like this vintage – the wines are showing their authenticity – this is my goal – avoiding my hand being visible. When I reach that point, unfortunately, you can still say that it becomes a style!”
2018 was a great vintage here, marginally I think 2019 greater – it was a pleasure to taste these!
As each year now, tasting only after bottling:
“This is a good example of what we want to produce – maybe Bourgogne is the most difficult to achieve but what I want to have is a great wine that isn’t made by declassifying villages or higher wines – it should come from regional places and this also allows us to keep a reasonable price – of course, you can pay €800 for the Montrachet but you can also buy Bourgogne for €16… My style should be an absence of style!”
Pure, but concentrated red fruit notes – cherries for sure. Supple, concentrated but vibrant too – just a faint prickle from some CO2 – vibrant finishing – a very executive Bourgogne. Super wine and so long, faintly saline is the lasting impression.
2019 Beaune 1er Cru Cuvée du Noyer
All three hills, with 8 different 1ers in here. ‘A paradox to produce natural wines and have so much technology around the process but you need to protect the grapes and the wines – this actually helps us to do nothing. A horse looks nice in the vines but where its foot lands is heavier than any tractor with low pressure in the wheels.’
A tighter nose but there’s an obvious concentration of aroma that’s straining to get out of here – pretty red fruit notes. A more structural style – I like – it needs a little more time but with no hard edges – a completely different shape – the Bourgogne is more approachable today but this is lovely…
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée l’Aulne
From 11 different parcels including some that are owned.
A little extra colour. Fresh and deep. The darker fruit is still reluctant to rise to the surface. More direct, a little more intense -the tannin is silky though present – there’s no grain just modest bitters in the finish. Tasty, lip-smacking finishing flavour.
All the wines are a little cool and again this is slightly tight but with some higher tones. Hmm – more mouth-filling with a more vibrant energy – bravo! So deliciously finishing too. Slowly mouth-watering. That’s a great villages!
2019 Vosne-Romanée Cuvée du Cerisier
A little paler colour. Open, more airy, though also with more depth of stony fruit too. Structural – like the Beaune but much more open with cooler fruit – there’s class here. Growing intensity too, faintly tannic at the end. Simply lovely wine!
2019 Gevrey-Chambertin Cuvée En Ergot du Mélèze
Airy and freshly attractive – the depth is more a promise than a delivery today. Rounder and more comfortable than the first Gevrey – there’s depth and some weight to the flavour here – more sophistication overall. That’s a super wine.
Airy again but with more higher-toned expressiveness. Silken but still with a structural tannin – pure, amply concentrated, slowly penetrating, the flavour delivered in rolling waves of deliciousness – certainly for some patience will reward you but there is simply great material here – bravo – he’s nailed it this year.
A nose of less impact but equally fine and pure. A little extra structure, more sinuously shaped – there’s some lithe muscle on display here – it’s an athlete – and then a burst of finishing flavour too. I slightly prefer this even to the Charmes!
2019 Clos de Vougeot Cuvée du Cèdre
Was 6, now it’s from 7 different providers of grapes – ‘from all over the clos’
A profound depth – a structural/shaped nose – the most architectural wine so far. A little salinity is the first impression, then the width, the salinity coming from the ultra-fine tannin – then what a width of fine finishing flavour! Complete harmony, even approachable too. Great length and almost a great wine!
2019 Echézeaux Cuvée de l’Érable
From 0.35 hectares
A very different style – more overtly floral in the complexity. Also wide flavour but with a more mouth-filling style. A softer style than the Clos de Vougeot more vibrancy in the mouth-watering finish too. But only different, not better.
Also from about 0.3 hectares
More direct aromas, red-fruited, subtly mineral too. Broader, with more impact – that’s really quite something – and definitely showing more flamboyantly than the last two. Finishing a little narrower but not shorter. Probably the most delicious of these three today… Great Charmes is unfortunately quite a rare thing but here is one!
A narrower but more direct nose of beautiful red fruit. Extra stony-fruited depth to this flavour – a little extra acidity too – a little less flamboyant and more ‘comfortable’ than the last – but somehow, it’s my favourite – so complex and open – just great wine again.
Frêne – an ash tree.
Not the deepest colour but with this nose, who cares – airy and so complex – never with impact but still engrossing. A more concentrated version of the Latricières – the nervous energy and concentration, the complexity is there too. Also more intense finishing – perhaps this is the best of these in 20 years but today I still take the Latricières!
“My previous Chambertins Chambertin were never my favourite examples from here but it’s clear that since we added grapes from other contracts it is clearly a better wine and definitely has the level of a Chambertin.”
Less openly airy but clearly a more complete nose in terms of shape and depth. An extra attack, an extra energy too – fuller, but the energy and delicious flavour give this the edge today over the Bèze and not by a small margin. Bravo – grand vin and definitely one up on the Latricières!
2019 Griotte-Chambertin Cuvée du Saule
Hmm – that’s rather open, wide and quite mineral-accented. Hmm (again!), that’s got a super depth, of textured, flavour. The tannin is visible but micro-grained and without dryness. Almost a chewy depth to this hyper-impressive wine – bravo again – super wine, even following the great Chambertin!
2019 Bonnes-Mares Cuvée de l’Amandier
Laurent is now a proprietor here, this the first vintage. “I would need 140 years of selling the grapes to get the purchase price back – it’s clearly nonsense even before inheritance tax is calculated and it is this which forces the land into the hands of richer people. We are killing the golden goose!”
Hmm – that’s a super nose – it really makes me think of Bonnes-Mares in the style of de Vogüé. Properly structural – but energetic – there’s more accessible, assimilable, info here than for example the structural wine of the Clos de Vougeot (today) – so persistent. Incredibly impressive!
Sometimes you know you are in the presence of something great – and here we are. The nose is airy, far from forward but captivating all the same. Extra: clarity, minerality, complexity, texture. It’s another great vintage here for this wine.
2019 Bourgogne Blanc Cuvée du Perce Neige
Narrower, more direct aromas than any of the reds. In the mouth it’s easy but with a nicely developing intensity – a modest depth of tannin here too. Fainty finishing bitters – a wine that keeps you on your toes. Very nice.
From many providers (7, each with 3-6 locations) bringing the must back to here – ‘I don’t buy the grapes I prefer the must as I think the white grapes can be more fragile.’
That’s a proper Meursault, very faintly ginger-spiced – very nice. Mouth-filling, very classically flavoured but with plenty of energy. Proper wine – a bravo villages.
“Blagny doesn’t need to be like the Meursault!”
Extra purity and a little more citrus freshness to this complexity. Some gas here – but wider, fuller, though also fresher. The first wine with a slightly creamy oak accent – maybe it’s something else as there are only old barrels here. Exploding over the palate in the middle and finishing flavours – another great wine. Laurent comments – “We had the expression ‘boisé’ before Parker – even if a wine never saw a barrel and this comes from the vine itself – I’ve sometimes noted it in my Clos de la Roche even though the barrels were very old.”
The Meursault-Charmes was just bottled and not showing well, so is now ‘recovering!’
2019 Meursault-Genevrières Cuvée de l’Ipomée
Back to the more composed, faintly spiced approach. Depth of flavour. Width of flavour too. Super energy again but a wine that begs more time – keep it back 5 years before returning – the material is super here – and the finish so meltingly impressive too.
2019 Meursault-Perrières Cuvée de l’Hellébore
A much more composed, not quite serious but impressive nose. Extra mouth-filling presence, clearly a more mineral style too. Following a long finishing line of flavour, so long and narrow – a tightrope heading into the distance – Super!
2019 Corton-Charlemage Cuvée du Kalimeris
“A wine that represents all the areas of CC with 6 different suppliers.”
More width of aroma, pithy, stony and inviting. A stronger leading edge to this flavour, also salinity here. Long, layered with almost waves of finishing flavour – always accented with some salinity. Width compared to the line of flavour in the Perrières yet both so mineral in style.
2019 Montrachet Cuvée des Orchidées
Here is again a depth of aroma that seems faintly creamy – boisé. Such a wonderful intensity – the essence of the rocks and the fruit. The width shooting wider in the finish. A wine that stains the palate for many minutes after swallowing. Montrachet! Laurent casually mentions the wine’s 15.5° – it’s not visible.