William Ponsot was born in St.Romain in the southern Côte d’Or. Following the end of the Franco-Prussian war in 1870 (Battle of Reischoffen in northern Alsace, August 6, 1870) William bought a house and vines (the former Liébault domaine) in Morey-St-Denis, including vines in Monts-Luisants and Clos de la Roche. The domaine was created in 1872.
Amongst others, William was also a grower of Gevrey Combottes, as due to wars there were so many absentee owners at this time – Laurent Ponsot likes to call this Combottes-Chambertin and indeed some producers did bottle under such a label until the authorites made them to stop. Because William had no children, on his death in 1926 – one year after buying half a hectare of Clos de la Roche – the domaine passed to his cousin, Hippolyte Ponsot; serially an army captain, lawyer and diplomat. Hippolyte bought more vines in Clos de la Roche, and bottled the entire production of the 1934 vintage at the domaine – a very rare practice in those days. Using his training as a lawyer, he was also one of the founders of the A.O.C. classification in 1935-36. In 1942, Hyppolite’s son Jean-Marie Ponsot joined, collaborating on all aspects of of viti/viniculture until Hyppolite retired in 1957. During the 1950′s a metayage agreement with Domaine Rémy family brought in Chambolle Musigny, Chambertin, Latricières-Chambertin and Clos de la Roche.
Jean-Marie, a former mayor of Morey-Saint-Denis, former president of the Cadets de Bourgogne and Grand Echanson of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin was one of the pioneers of the ‘clonal selection’ of pinot noir in Burgundy during the 1960′s. Many of the most respected clones of pinot noir (113,114,115,667…) were selected for the estate’s Clos de la Roche, and you can still see those vines now. In 1972, the size of the domaine increased following the inheritance of vines in Gevrey from Jean-Marie’s wife, Jacqueline Ponsot Livera. In 1981, Laurent Ponsot joined his father at the domaine. and in 1982 the vines under the control of the domaine increased again as they took a metayage agreement to farm the vines of the Mercier family (Domaine des Chézeaux). From 1983 Laurent Ponsot was responsible for the vinifications. Laurent is the Grand Ecuyer of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin.
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