Wines by region / Burgundy / Côte Chalonnaise / Rully / Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot
Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot - Rully
I met Jean-Baptiste Ponsot (no relation to the famous Ponsot family in Morey-Saint-Denis) in 2010 during an investigative trip to the Côte-Chalonnaise. Rully (just 5 kilometers south of Chassagne-Montrachet) is particularly known for its Chardonnay, while both appellations further south, Mercurey and Givry, are known more for their Pinot Noir. Rully also happens to be the most respected village for the production of Crémant de Bourgogne.
Jean-Baptiste Ponsot’s grandfather began growing grapes in 1954, and his son Bernard expanded his vineyard holdings, while selling the entirety of his production to Olivier Leflaive. After attending wine school in Beaune (where his roommate was Nicolas Ragot of Givry), the energetic Jean-Baptiste took the reins from his father and began bottling part of the production under his own name. As he was born in 1980 and at that time 20 years old, it was quite a bold move.
Today the domaine covers 8½ hectares including 3 premier cru sites--Molesme, Montpalais and La Fosse—which Jean-Baptiste works almost 100% organically (though he has not sought certification). He plows his vines frequently, and will only spray a part of his vines with a synthetic spray if absolutely necessary and if he has decided that the synthetic spray is less intrusive than the organic one. He does not use insecticides, herbicides or anti-fungals. Because of this commitment to the health of his vines, in spite of the severe disease pressure of Burgundy, he is able to use half the amount of copper of his neighbors.
Grapes are harvested by hand (always at a level of ripeness where the wines will have below 13.5% alcohol), sorted twice and crushed at his winery in the middle of town. Ponsot’s goal is always to produce wines with elegance, finesse and freshness and all his vinification practices are in this vein. The red grapes undergo a cold maceration and vinified for 21 days. The wines then go into oak barrels where they also undergo malolactic fermentation. White wines go through a similar process: after pressing, the white must is decanted for 24 hours, then put directly into barrel to undergo malolactic fermentation, usually with batonnage. They are then aged in barrel for 12 months.
It is Jean-Baptiste’s deep respect for his land, and the commitment to keep it healthy so it will produce the highest quality grapes, that sets him apart from the rest. He himself says he’s not interested in growing any bigger, just in continuing to make elegant, fresh wines that show the potential of this unheralded AOP of which he is so proud.
Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot Premier Cru Molesme Rouge
Grapes are harvested by hand and crushed with complete de-stemming. After a cold settling, they go into oak barrels, of which 20-33% are new, depending on the vintage. Blended in August and bottled in November after a very light fining and filtration. Cherry and bramble fruit, with notes of vanilla and spice on the nose. Medium to full-body on the palate, with lush texture and long, fine finish.
Domaine Jean-Baptiste Ponsot Premier Cru Montpalais Blanc
Grapes are harvested with a machine and crushed. After a brief cold-settling, they go into a variety of oak barrels (20-25% new depending upon the harvest) where they ferment. Lees are stirred—the frequency also depends upon the vintage. 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine is lush and with good acid structure, with a creamy core, tangy citrus and pineapple flavors and well-balanced oak that rides along bright acids on the finish.