WOTY # 4 - Robert: Chezeaux

Posted by CrushWine

00 Chezeaux (Ponsot) Griotte-Chambertin
"Produced, Aged and Bottled by Dom. Ponsot"
The Secrets, the Seduction, of Grand Cru Burgundy

My homage to Burgundy's most talked about winemaker.

My "Wine of the Year" is not what it appears to be.

It's better.

While the label declares "Domaine des Chezeaux" with a staid calm, "the truth in the bottle" is none other than Ponsot's 2000 Griotte-Chambertin.

The only difference between this bottling and Ponsot's is the label.

Oh... that and the fact that the Chezeaux bottling trades at about a 20% discount.

The 2000 vintage in Burgundy is a secret amongst collectors. With a 9-year beauty rest, this Ponsot Grand Cru is coming into form now. Though the wine does not arrive until early 2010, I just couldn't resist the ultimate temptation: a Ponsot "Wine of the Year!" This is my sincere homage to a domaine that has been remarkably consistent at an elite level for the last decade.

Sentences like this don't come around that often: Drinking Grand Cru Burgundy from one of the region's superstars at just over $100. This is the most inexpensive way to taste Ponsot's genius winemaking at the Grand Cru level.

This is a wine that smashes all stereotypes. If Gevrey is so often muscular and brooding, Griotte, especially Ponsot's, is as sexy as Gevrey gets - satiny, super-fine cherry fruit woven with minerals and earth. And if the vintage is often thought of as parading big fruit without discipline, then this bottle offers a stern, slap-you-on-the-back-of-your-hand lesson in how finessed and classic the top expressions of 2000 can be.

If anything, the wine is still tense, still nervous...only beginning to unfurl. This is, after all, a wine shaped by the trusted hand of Laurent Ponsot. (The back label says it all, pictured below.)

So how does this wine exist? This bottling is a product of the French practice of "metayeur" - an arrangement where a wine is made in exchange for a percentage of the final product. Ponsot makes the wine from Chezeaux's land, and in return he gets 2/3 of the production, which he bottles under his own label. (See below for more.)

Details like this add even more intrigue to Burgundy and, more importantly for this email, hold serious value.

Griotte-Chambertin is one of the most elusive Grand Crus in Burgundy; it's the smallest Grand Cru in Gevrey at only 3 hectares in size. Only a handful of producers make wine in Griotte, but the roster is a testament to the quality of the terroir, the fascination it holds: Ponsot, Drouhin, Dugat, Fourrier, Roty, Jadot and Leclerc.

In 2000, Ponsot reported a smoother growing season and harvest than most; yields were somewhere between 37 and 38 hectoliters per hectare. Laurent Ponsot described his acidities as "perfect." Indeed this explains the grace of the wine, its inherent delicacy and laciness.

While this is a healthy-sized parcel, after yesterday's unprecedented Joly sell-out (nearly 700 bottles gone in less than four hours), I'll admit to wishing we had more wine - especially as those looking to stock up on the 2006 should expect to pay $150+. The 2007 is already clocking in at $175!

Due to the limited quantities available and expected demand, please give us the maximum number of bottles you are interested in and we will do our best to fulfill your order. That said, for this Grand Cru "Wine of the Year" offer, all orders subject to confirmation. Please email us offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463 to order.

Robert Schagrin
Managing Partner
Crush Wine & Spirits

2000 Chezeaux (Ponsot) Griotte-Chambertin

Burghound: By contrast, this resembles almost exactly the same Ponsot wine reviewed in Issue 9 with its discreetly perfumed nose of ripe cherries, raspberries and musky, relatively forward flavors of pinot extract and a touch of earth. There is very good intensity here and a long, lingering finish. Not especially big or structured but this has elegance to burn. This too is approachable though it should benefit from a few years of cellar time.

NET | No further discount
Wine is pre-arrival


It's a simple enough, and common enough, relationship. While the Domaine des Chezeaux owns a very large chunk of the Griotte-Chambertin vineyard, the estate does not want the hassle of running a winery. So they have, in effect, hired Ponsot to make the wine for them. Yes, that's a lot of work for Ponsot - so what does he get out of it? Ponsot gets a large chunk of the production from Chezeaux's land (2/3 of the Griotte in fact), which he then bottles under his own label.

To make things a bit more complicated (this is Burgundy after all), Ponsot is not the only person who makes wines for Chezeaux. They also have a relationship with Rene Leclerc, and indeed it's possible to find a Chezeaux Griotte that says on the back label, "produced, aged and bottled" by Rene Leclerc.

Note however that every bottle offered today has been made by Domaine Ponsot.