Domaine Ponsot Clos de la Roche Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2005
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Wine AdvocateThe estate's flagship 2005 Clos de la Roche Cuvee Vieilles Vignes surges from the glass in an aromatic tidal wave of liqueur-like black raspberry essence, cinnamon spice, praline, chocolate and heady floral sweetness. Incontrovertibly fat and full, not about clarity or discretion but rather about thick, sumptuous layers of flavor that blanket the palate, this will not be every taster's idea of a great Burgundy - or perhaps even a good time. Still, there is lift, bright juiciness and a sense of emerging elegance in a finish where sheer intensity and unabashed richness rule but neither the fruit nor tannins are the least bit coarse, and stony, chalky underpinnings break the surface with their own sort of austere beauty. (Thankfully, there is roughly ten times the amount of this wine as of Clos St.-Denis.) 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." (96-98)