The Cote de Nuit is the epicentre of great red Burgundy and its leading wines have outperformed Bordeaux in auction houses and throughout the global market over the last six years, becoming hugely popular in Asia. In the same way that the last 20 years have seen incredible growth for those who have stockpiled great Bordeaux, Burgundy fanatics are now experiencing a similar trend. However, the difference is that Burgundy’s greatest wines are notoriously difficult to source and the leading names simply cannot produce enough wine supply the spiking global demand. Today, it is extremely rare to find single bottles of aged Burgundy, let alone complete cases of leading Grand Cru Burgundy producer, when they do, they trade at a premium and are snaffled tout-suite. As such, today we are very pleased to offer a parcel from one of Burgundy’s greats, Domaine Ponsot. The parcel boasts three of Ponsot’s leading Grand Cru plots from the 2004 vintage at stunning prices. Each case was bought and stored in bond in the UK since release, they are in the original domain packaging with perfect provenance. This is an outstanding parcel, which represents a brilliant opportunity to secure a wine drinking brilliantly, as well as a superb investment proposition.
The 2004 vintage in Burgundy was considered a good one among the leading wines on release, the wines are fresh and elegant, with good structure and excellent minerality. In recent years its freshness and structure has lead re-tastings to be more positive still, many ways reminiscent of the 1993. In 2004, Ponsot Clos Vougeot Vielle Vigne is the Domain’s highest scoring wine with 93 points priced today at £2,000 per case of 12. Griotte-Chambertin and Chapelle Chambertin are the second best with 92 points and are priced today at £2,000 and £1,500 per case of 12 respectively. All three best Ponsot Clos de la Roche Vielle Vigne 2004 trades at £4,800 a case of 12 and also score better than the Ponsot Chambertin, which received 91 points and trades at £3,800 per case of 12, the value is obvious.
As can be seen from the table below, Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin’s average price per bottle has increase 60% since 2014, the average bottle price rising from £168 to £268. In 2004, it has been awarded 92 points from Burghound who describes it as ‘amazingly dense…This too is a serious old school burgundy that will live for a very long time.’ The relative value is exceptional, when compared horizontally as above, but also vertically, the equal scoring 2008 and 2009 cost £3,000 and £2,500 per case of 12. Priced at £1,500, Ponsot Chapelle Chambertin 2004 is a no brainer, especially as the average case price is £3,200, therefore the 2004 offers a 53% discount. Only 220 cases are made a year.
|Year||Chapelle Chambertin||Perf||Clos Vougeot||Perf||Griotte Chambertin||Perf|
Ponsot’s Griotte Chambertin comes from a 9-hectare plot, which was planted in 1990. The wine has a wonderful freshness and elegance, which is surprising given the amount of rich red fruit and cassis it retains even with many years in bottle. This is rounded off with excellent spice, torque and elegance. Since 2014, the average price per bottle has increased 58%, from £177 per bottle to £280, showing similar superb performance. In 2004 it has also been awarded 92 points by Burghound, who says ‘An expressive and relatively high-toned red berry fruit nose mixed with underbrush, earth, iron and subtle spice notes… This will require at least a decade to realize the excellent potential.’ The equal scoring 2001 and 2002 trade at £3,000 and £4,800 respectively. The average price for Ponsot’s Griotte Chambertin is £3,360, so the 2004 is a brilliant proposition at £2,000 per case of 12, trading at a 40% discount to the average case price. Only 240 cases are made a year.
Ponsot’s Clos de Vougeot Vieilles Vignes entered the fray in 1999 and has been among the finest from Clos Vougeot since. If you enjoy Clos Vougeot, Ponsot’s is one of the best and one should stock up well while it remains well priced. Clos Vougeot is as heterogenous as any Grand Cru could be and Ponsot’s comes from a .04 hectares parcel sited on the pebble and limestone soil, in the top, finest segment of this Grand Cru. Their parcel is found close to the wall that separates Clos Vougeot from Grands Echezeaux. The 2004 is a brilliant example of its quality once again at a large discount to its average trading price of £3,500, representing a 42% discount. Burghound describes the 2004 as ‘A great ’04 Clos de Vougeot.’
The story of Domaine Ponsot began with William Ponsot, who came from St. Roman, yet after returning from the Franco-Russian war, settled in Morey St. Denis in 1872. William’s father thereon bought him a number of plots. Under William, the Domain boasted Clos des Monts Luisants, followed shortly after by Clos de La Roche, which is their largest and finest holding. They then began to cultivate fruit in Les Charmes, Les Combottes and in Gevrey Chambertin. At the time a small amount was bottled by them, for use by the family and friends and in their restaurants; at the time the family owned a franchise for the station buffet in Northern Italy. William died childless in 1926 the Estate past to his cousin and godson, Hippolyte Ponsot, who in 1934 began the process of bottling their entire production: they were one of the first to implement this. They also started to sell in in the US, which goes someway to explain its huge popularity there. It is a romantic notion that the first labels were all hand-stamped by Hippolyte, again testament to the immense passion found in every stage of the Domain’s winemaking. During the 1930s, Hippolyte was largely involved in creating the Appellation d’Origine Controlee system in Burgundy.
In 1942, Hippolyte was joined by his son Jean-Marie, who as long-term mayor of Morey, ran the business through 1958 to 1980 when his son Laurent took charge. During the aforementioned period, the Estate began the acquisition and charge of working in Chambertin, Latricieres Chambertin, then in 1972 Jean-Marie’s wife inherited vines in Gevrey. There is history of innovation here with it being one of the first Domaines to practise estate bottling in the 1930s, and perhaps more significantly the Ponsot’s were among the first growers to understand the importance of clones and clonal selection – many of the most important Pinot Noir clones originate from their vineyards. In 1975 Domaine Ponsot was incorporated into a property company and in 1981 under the direction of Laurent Ponsot, they expanded adding Griotte Chambertin, Clos St. Denis, securing Chambertin and Chambolle Les Charmes. Last year Laurent stepped down and has begun his own venture, as such, the wines today offer a bridge to Laurent, at the height of his power in charge of this great Domain.
The Domain’s rich history explains why is it weaved into the tapestry of Burgundian wine. The innovation seen with the business is even more apparent in the winemaking. The Estate, while it does not call itself organic, makes use of no insecticide or pesticide. Laurent now uses the position of the stars and cycles of the moon to help the rhythm of the vines and surrounding plants. They use no sorting table; all defective bunches are removed long before even picking. The grapes are destalked, then allowed to ferment at their own leisure, for as long as they want, reflecting Laurent’s view that punching down and pumping over are overused. Aside from monitoring temperature, the grapes get on with the business of fermenting, then put in barrels which are 10 years old. Aside from a possible faint use when picked, the grapes see no sulphur, unless there is a problem. It is all rather like Roger Federer’s serve, all simple and minimalistic, but you try doing it. The winemaking means that the wine is often difficult when young, there is no extraction to be found, so colour can fade and obvious richness is reserved for later, for when a bottle of Ponsot has age, which is an ethereal experience.
The average vine age at the Estate is over 50 years, giving intense, yet subtle depth and richness. Ponsot’s wines are renowned and loved for their power, focus, mysterious depth and intense concentration of flavour and sweet spice. The grand cru, once ten years in, are among the most beautiful and harmonious of any wine and one of wine’s great treats. They are also capable of ageing for decades, gracefully yet encouraging intense tertiary flavours.
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