The story of the celebrated wine producer Domaine Ponsot begins in 1872, when William Ponsot returned home from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and purchased himself a house in the village of Morey-St-Denis, in the Côte d’Or region of northeastern France, along with several nearby vineyards.
Cultivating these parcels of land at Clos des Monts Luisants and Clos de la Roche, William began to produce a small quantity of wine for his own enjoyment, as well as a few bottles to sell at the restaurants the family owned across northern Italy.
Fast-forward 150 years, and Domaine Ponsot is still making fine wines under the stewardship of William’s descendants.
Today, the estate’s managing director, Rose-Marie Ponsot, who is a fifth-generation heir to William’s business, oversees the production of no fewer than six grand crus and the only premier cru Burgundy made entirely from Aligoté grapes.
On 8 November 2022, to celebrate Domaine Ponsot’s 150th anniversary, Christie’s in Geneva is partnering with the winemaker to offer 200 lots, comprising more than 400 rare bottles, fresh to market and direct from the estate’s cellar.
Domaine Ponsot has built its reputation on producing wines in harmony with nature. Its grapes are largely left to their own devices, free from fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides, while the processes of farming and bottling are governed by the lunar calendar.
In the short film above, Rose-Marie explains in her own words what makes her family’s wines so special: ‘We communicate with nature; we are part of the same ecosystem, and nature, of course, is the ground of our work.’
‘We just want to get the pure expression of the soil — of the terroir — and the fruit that grows on the soil,’ adds Alexandre Abel, the estate’s head winemaker. ‘That’s the philosophy of the family, and the philosophy of the Domaine.’
By adhering to these principles, Domaine Ponsot’s wines have become celebrated for their power, concentration and rich, spicy nuances.
A highlight of the sale will be the chance to acquire an entire barrel of Domaine Ponsot’s Clos de la Roche ‘La Cuvée Hippolyte’ from 2022, above. Named after Rose-Marie’s grandfather and made especially for this anniversary, the unique cuvée comes from grapes hand-picked from 70-year-old vines planted on the slopes of the land purchased by Hippolyte in 1922.
The barrel is offered with a guide price of CHF 80,000-100,000, and the proceeds are being donated to the charity A Chacun son Everest, which helps women and children suffering from cancer to regain their self-confidence through activities on the slopes of Mont Blanc.
Eight of Domaine Ponsot’s 10 vineyards will be represented in the sale, and all of the bottles on offer have been gently aged in the family’s private wine library. Most are very rare and large-format, including a selection of jeroboams and methuselahs.
Among the other top lots offered in November are a methuselah of Domaine Ponsot Chambertin from 2005, with an estimate of CHF 4,000-6,000; two jeroboams of 2009 Chambertin Clos de Bèze (CHF 3,500-4,500); and the estate’s 1959 signature Clos de la Roche, below.
In the film, assistant manager William Ponsot speaks with pride of the foundations laid by his namesake great-great-grandfather, and of the wine his family still produces. ‘It’s a special sale,’ he says of the upcoming auction, ‘and a good moment to share it.’