I first met Laurent Ponsot on a rainy day of December in New York. He was in the Big Apple to testify against Rudy Kurniawan, who had counterfeited many of his wines. Laurent Ponsot, owner of the Domaine Ponsot, actually gathered the evidence with the FBI against him. Long story short, the winemaker became famous for having discover the fraud (Vanity Fair published the story here).
The second time I met with him was at his domain in Morey-Saint-Denis. The wine has been very prestigious for a century and Laurent Ponsot has helped the business to grow faster and further. You can’t buy his wine at the cellar directly but, on their website, they give you all the information you need if you would like to purchase a bottle.
As I was working as a journalist, I had the chance to be invited to visit the cellar of the house. What a magnificent place! The family left one wall unfinished exposing the complex root system of the vines above. Magical! Laurent Ponsot taught me the role of the ground and how a type of terroir and stones would affect the vine.
I had the crazy chance to taste the wine from the barrels. Clos de la Roche, Clos Saint Denis, Charmes Chambertin was among this amazing tasting. But the most important thing I learned from him was about the cepage of Aligoté. See, in Burgundy, Aligoté is above all used to make Kir (white wine and cream of cassis, a specialty of Dijon) and don’t have much respect for this cepage. However, Laurent Ponsot uses Aligoté for their Morey-Saint-Denis Blanc 1er cru Clos des Monts Luisants, the only premier cru Burgundy made entirely from Aligoté. He explained that maybe at first, “Chardonnay is usually giving a better white wine and can be more promising, but let the Aligoté grow and you will see how good it can become”. I have never tasted a better Aligoté than his.
A little bit about the history
William Ponsot purchased the vineyards in Morey-Saint-Denis in 1872. Sixty years later, Domaine Ponsot starts to export its wines in USA. With his sister Rose-Mary, Laurent came back to the domain in 1981 to manage the family business.
A little bit about the geography
Morey-Saint-Denis is a village located on the Côte-de-Nuits area, in Burgundy (France) between Vougeot and Gevrey-Chambertin.