1994 Domaine Ponsot Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Monts Luisants Blanc 1er Cru 


It is a pity that Aligoté must reside in the shadow of Chardonnay. Too often it is dismissed, not only by consumers, but winemakers themselves since many “forget” to show me their Bourgogne Aligoté during cellar visits. Thankfully in recent years there has been a reappraisal of Aligoté spearheaded by Marsannay-based Sylvain Pataille and the grape is finally receiving due respect. Probably the most famous Aligoté is Domaine Ponsot’s Clos des Monts Luisants, a Premier Cru in Morey-Saint-Denis, although it has not always been dedicated to this variety. Monts Luisants was originally planted with Aligoté in 1911. Laurent Ponsot’s grandfather expanded the holding with cuttings from a mutant strain of white Pinot Noir courtesy of Henri Gouges, then Jean-Marie Ponsot added some rows of Chardonnay to create a three-way blend. Laurent Ponsot was dissatisfied with the Chardonnay and white Pinot Noir that he deemed ill matched to the soil, so pulled them out in 2004 and reverted the entire 0.90-hectare Premier Cru to Aligoté. Laurent Ponsot always maintained that this cru should be drunk young or left to age. A bottle poured blind at Noble Rot restaurant proved him correct. It certainly left former sommelier turned winemaker/writer, Raj Parr and yours truly scratching our heads wondering where it could be from!

The 1994 Morey-Saint-Denis Clos des Monts Luisants Blanc 1er Cru sports a light burnished straw colour. The bouquet is quite intoxicating with heady scents of Mirabelle, honeysuckle, jasmine, lanolin and crème brûlée scents that allude to a wine from the Rhône rather than the Côte de Nuits. I noticed subtle peanut oil notes develop with time. The palate shows plenty of freshness, impressive for a 25-year old white, with ample weight and a slightly viscous texture. There are notes of peach skin and nectarine and then with aeration the crème brûlée element becomes more prominent. It gently fans out towards the finish with touches of stem ginger and rhubarb lingering on the aftertaste, seeming to expand in the glass over the course of 30 minutes. This is a delightful aged Monts Luisants that could give another decade of drinking pleasure. 92/Drink 2019-2029.