1993 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Domaine Ponsot

1993 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru, Domaine Ponsot


Ponsot’s Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes may turn out to be a perfect wine. It requires 6-7 years of cellaring and will last for 25-35 years, rare indeed for modern day red Burgundy. It possesses an extract level rarely seen today in Burgundy. It is awesome, compelling, profound, and da da da da da…. Words simply do not do this wine justice. Take the 1990, build on the concentration level, and what you have is the 1993. Perhaps it is not economically viable to make wines from such low yields, but this is what great wine-making is all about. It is a shame so few people will ever have the opportunity to taste it. While I am a great believer that low yielding, highly concentrated Pinot Noir deserves plenty of toasty new oak, there is not one new oak barrel to be found in Ponsot’s cellar. The average age of the barrels is between 30-60 years, thus proving that there is at least one exception to the rule that the greatest red Burgundies are kept in new oak casks!

Note: Ponsot also makes and bottles wines for the Domaine des Chezeaux. The good news is that Ponsot’s 1993s are spectacular wines, as stunning as his prodigious 1990s. The bad news is that his yields were minuscule, with the average for all his vineyards approximately 20 hectoliters per hectare, or just over one ton per acre. For some of the grand crus, yields were so tiny that the number of cases that will make it to America is preposterously low. For example, yields for the Clos St.-Denis vineyard were 8 hectoliters per hectare, for Clos de la Roche, 18 hectoliters per hectare, and for Griotte-Chambertin, 23 hectoliters per hectare. Laurent Ponsot stated that only 48 bottles of Chambertin were allocated to America, 24 bottles of Clos St.-Denis (only 400 bottles were produced), and less than 30 cases of Clos de la Roche Vieilles Vignes. It is not that the United States is getting screwed in the allocation system, but just that so little wine was produced. My reviews are, therefore, largely of academic interest. 99 points, Robert Parker

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