Domaine Ponsot Chapelle-Chambertin Grand Cru 2005
WA93-95: The 2005 Chapelle-Chambertin exudes black cherry, plum preserves, chocolate, brown spices and licorice, along with Chartreuse-like high-toned distilled herbal and floral essences. This fills the mouth with doughy thickness and sumptuous richness. The finish evinces more brightness of fruit than with most of the wines, but is above all marked by sweet richness, purity, and sheer might. The selection and age of vine, as well as the vinification are identical for this and the Griotte. “Only” 300 meters separate them. Laurent Ponsot (like his father) vinifies to the beat of a different drummer, whether it is in his employment of a basket press from 1945, his reliance on exclusively (truly) old barrels, his aggressive pigeage, or his virtual refusal (since 1988) to sulfur the wines (nitrogen and CO2 are administered at bottling). The results are as distinctive as the methods, but also profoundly impressive and proven to age magnificently. Certainly one has to adjust to a background level of chocolate and that lack of a certain “pep” that is otherwise conveyed, MSG-wise, to wines given a normal quota of sulfur during their elevage. But after a few samples – and especially when I re-tasted these wines “cold” at 7:00 A.M. – I was fully attuned to their virtues. The alcohols in 2005 are as high as 15%, but you do not notice it, even when told. Asked when he intends to bottle, Ponsot replies “I don’t know. Maybe one or two in the Spring, maybe before the harvest, maybe afterward.”
VM92-95: Deep ruby. Slightly high-toned, expressive aromas of sappy black cherry and brown spices. Dense, spicy and superripe, with compellingly rich fruit saturating the entire palate. Finishes with superb length and considerable power. Ponsot says this is more complex than the Chambertin, but not today. And the Chambertin is finer. As with the Griottes, this is a remarkable performance from 15-year-old vines.