No Rudy Kurniawan Here

Today’s Story: Domaine Ponsot

Domaine Ponsot traces its roots back to 1872 when William Ponsot acquired a home and vineyards that included plots in Clos des Monts-Luisants, Clos de la Roche, Gevrey-Chambertin Les Combottes, and Charmes Chambertin. Though he bottled a small amount of wine at this time, Ponsot used this mainly for personal use or for sale in restaurants the Ponsot family owned. In 1920, William’s nephew and godson Hippolyte Ponsot, a former diplomat, took over the estate due to William not having children. With the help of his brother Henri Ponsot, Hippolyte greatly expanded the estate’s holdings in Clos de la Roche. By 1932, Hippolyte was bottling all of his wines and 1934 marked the first vintage being marketed throughout France, Europe, and even the United States.

A familial estate since its beginning, Domaine Ponsot started to transition to Jean-Marie Ponsot (Hippolyte’s son) when he helped at the estate in 1942. By 1957, Hippolyte stopped working at the estate and Jean-Marie took over completely. Jean-Marie played a very important role in clonal selections within Burgundy during the 1960s and many of the well-known Pinot Noir clones including 113, 114, 115, and 667 come from Ponsot’s vineyard holdings in Clos de la Roche (source). In 1981, Jean-Marie’s son Laurent Ponsot began working at the domaine and he would ultimately take over management of the domaine in 1997 with his sister Rose-Marie. Laurent left work at the domaine in 2017, however Rose-Marie took over sole management and continues the family legacy today.

To learn about the painstakingly deliberate process Domaine Ponsot follows when they grow fruit, harvest fruit, and make wine, check out the “Our Job” tab on their website here. Also, explore the other tabs that do more justice than I probably could in what I try to keep relatively short and easy to read posts.

I will, however, leave you with a very interesting tidbit about Domaine Ponsot. Some of you may be familiar with the name Rudy Kurniawan already, but if not I encourage you to read about him or watch the “Sour Grapes” documentary on Netflix. Rudy was the center of a massive counterfeit wine fraud throughout the 2000s, and he used some of Domaine Ponsot’s “wines” throughout his crime. For instance, Rudy consigned bottles of Ponsot including 1945, 1949, 1959, 1962, 1966, and 1971 Clos St. Denis as well as a bottle of 1929 Clos de la Roche but the domaine did not estate bottle wines until 1934. Even worse, Ponsot didn’t make a Clos St. Denis until 1982. Laurent Ponsot quickly got wind of this and, knowing these wines must be fake, worked with the FBI in an attempt to bring Rudy to swift and brutal justice. (You may also know of Bill Koch’s battle against counterfeit wines….this also centered on Rudy).

Today’s Wine: 2009 Corton Bressandes Grand Cru

100% Pinot Noir; 13% ABV

This wine is medium to deep ruby in color and moderately opaque. I let this open up in the glass, and once it did the nose showcases aromas of raspberry, strawberry, rose, white pepper, chocolate, rocky soil, rosemary, and mint. Once in the mouth, I get notes of cherry, strawberry, forest floor, game, purple florals, and stone minerality. The wine is medium-bodied with high acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.

Price: $290. Certainly a bottle for a special occasion, as many of Ponsot’s wines are. Pair this with chicken, rabbit, lamb, or a plate of mild cheese and charcuterie.

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