The Philosophy of Domaine Ponsot: Less is More
Domaine Ponsot has long been recognised for its coveted wines in Burgundy, including the reputed Clos de la Roche, Clos de Vougeot and Corton. It was established in 1872, when William Ponsot purchased a wine estate in Morey-St-Denis and thus began the family business. The domaine made a great contribution to the fight against counterfeit wines around the world when the domaine’s fourth generation heir Laurent Ponsot discovered sets of counterfeit wine being sold at Acker Merrall & Condit auction house in New York in 2008. Today Domaine Ponsot is managed by Rose-Marie Ponsot with the assistance of Alexandra Abel. The philosophy of the domaine is simple: they prefer the lightest touch when it comes to winemaking in order to produce the highest quality natural wine.
Follow the most traditional way of winemaking
In this hi-tech world, Domaine Ponsot insists on the most natural ways of managing their vineyards. The domaine studies the moon schedule to analyse the effect on plant life. The domaine does not use insecticide or pesticide in their 50 year-old vineyards, and all grapes are handpicked during the harvest. Sorting is unnecessary as any defective bunches are removed before picking. This special time-consuming practice is uncommon for other domaines, but Domaine Ponsot believes it ensures the freshness of the grapes after picking.
Domaine Ponsot uses no special techniques for winemaking. Performing natural vinification and less work in the cellar, their wines go through uncontrolled ferments, and are not filtered or fined. The use of sulphur dioxide was also eliminated in 1988, with exceptions made only if strictly necessary. For example, the volatile acidity of the 2003 vintages was very high, so the wines were sulphured at a minimal amount, and Laurent Ponsot decided to bottle the entire vintage that year only in magnum. In addition, the domaine never uses new oak as the oak taste would add additional extracts to the wine which would render the wines no longer original. The youngest French oaks used are 5 years old, and the wines are aged in oak barrels for two years.
With minimal intervention in the winemaking process, some vintages may not perform as expected under different climate conditions. However, Domaine Ponsot believes that each wine produced has its individual character which should be respected. Wine expresses happiness and pleasure during good years, and conversely displays bad temper and moods during a difficult year. As Rose-Marie perfectly expressed, “We love wine because it’s alive”.
Cutting-edge Bottling Technology
Although Domaine Ponsot uses the most traditional winemaking methods, it applies the most advanced bottling technology to achieve perfection in the final product. The labels on their wine bottles are unique: the white spot turns grey when the ambient temperature exceeds 28°C. Additionally, the innovative plastic cork made in Guala, Italy prevents corking and oxidation as well as loss of fragrance after bottles have been stored for a long time. These cutting-edge technologies ensure the best quality of bottles when the wine is delivered to consumers.
We simply help nature to create the best artwork.
Rose-Marie believes that nature is the artist, and the role of Domaine Ponsot is simply to assist nature to create the best artwork. Nature has its own ideas about how the final artworks shall appear for different vintages. Putting their efforts into cultivating and taking care of grapes whilst they are still in their vineyards, Domaine Ponsot insists on not interfering too much in the natural winemaking process. Rose-Marie told us that art shares emotions, as wine does: “When you open a bottle of wine, you are sharing emotions and creating experiences with others. This traditional centuries-old practice is the best description of art.”