Laurent Ponsot, pictured right, when tasting 2015s in Morey St.Denis, last November.
Laurent Ponsot has made a name for himself, not just by being the greatest exponent of the ‘late-harvest’ Burgundy, but also by being a fighter of fraud, or rather counterfeit wine, too. But it seems that events may have taken him by surprise at Domaine Ponsot.
I got wind of it earlier this week and left some messages/questions for Laurent – he hasn’t yet responded, though if he does I’ll edit this note – but it seems that it is the end for Domaine Ponsot as we know it, if not for many of Laurent’s wines.
See Bruce Sanderson’s note here.
Without direct info from the man himself, I won’t disrespect Bruce by simply re-hashing his words – linked above – but in the last couple of years it was clear to me that Laurent was positioning himself to retire – and sooner rather than later, so 60 could have been the number – and his son Clément could ‘do what he wants with the domaine afterwards – the decisions will be his.’ Yet it seems that things can change very quickly in Burgundy. As far as I know there are no other winemakers in the family, i.e. the families of Laurent’s three sisters, so a sale seems the only option. And will the sisters have any legal right to challenge Laurent taking away with him the metayage contracts of Chambertin, Clos St.Denis, Griotte-Chambertin and Chambolle-Charmes? – Bruce indicates that Laurent will do so – despite that they have been integral to the domaine since 1982…
Regardless, it looks like a good pay-day for one, and for all, yet it will be such a shame. Domaine Ponsot – if it keeps that name, and how could it? (- with 20% ownership remaining with the family? ;-)) – will never have the same cachet without a charismatic Ponsot at the helm. Neither Laurent nor his father Jean-Marie could be the easiest of people, but they certainly both had charisma!
Still, I’m looking forward to tasting his 2016s – the lines between the domaine and négoce wines were always rather blurred here…