Just got back from hanging out at Laurent Ponsot's cellar in Morey Saint Denis. Ponsot is a cool dude. He was getting ready to leave over the weekend for Santa Rosa, California, to begin an across-the-US road trip on a Harley with his wife.
“The best Pinot Noir is made outside of Burgundy,” he said while we tasted. “We make Burgundy here.”
I sort of see his point. It’s hard to match a great red Burgundy, or a white for that matter, in other wine regions of the world. Ponsot’s 2005s were sensational. I tasted all of them from barrel. The best were from Griotte-Chambertin, Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes, Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes and Clos St. Denis Vieilles Vignes. All the wines share a wonderful purity of fruit and minerality, while the latter two were broader shouldered with lots of power and the former two were more generous, flamboyant and sexy. These are classic quality wines.
Ponsot is very outspoken. He said that he ages all of his wines in old barrels with a minimum of five years of age. He said that he is as non-interventionist as possible and that he finds red Burgundies aged in new barrels troublesome. He said that wood changes the character of the wines and makes them better when young but reduces their ageability. He also says they mask the true quality of a wine.
I am not sure I agree, but I appreciated hearing his point of view. Makes you think. No?
“I want my wines to have authenticity, and nothing in between them like new wood,” he said.
I told him how much I liked his 2005s and I was impressed with their pretty colors. “I don’t like the colors,” he said. “It not what Burgundy is supposed to look like. They are too dark. That’s what happens when you have wines made in hot years.”
The tasting session went on like this for about 20 minutes. It was fun, and stimulating, not to mention a pleasure to taste his gorgeous reds. I left and wished him a safe ride across the States. He was a cool cat indeed. And he certainly has his own opinions about winemaking.
“We don’t have a word like winemaker in French,” he said, with a smile. “I am not a winemaker.”
Thank God I didn’t tell him that I ride a BMW, and not a Harley!
Sao Anash — Santa Barbara — April 5, 2007 9:05pm ET
Gregory Walter — Sonoma, CA — April 6, 2007 12:10am ET
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