Robert Parker Wine Advocate
The 2016 Clos de la Roche Grand Cru Cuvée Vieilles Vignes is superb, bursting from the glass with aromas of juicy cherries, peonies, blood orange, licorice, raw cocoa and espresso roast. On the palate, it's full-bodied, deep and succulent, with a concentrated, layered mid-palate, satiny structuring tannins and vibrant underlying acidity, concluding with a long finish. Harvested on October 7 at a comparatively high yield by Ponsot's standards of 38 hectoliters per hectare, this year seems to have been perfectly adapted to Ponsot's style. Vibrant, elegant and expressive, the 2016 is quite different from the richer, more powerful 2015, but in the fullness of time, I wouldn't be surprised to see it surpassing its brawnier elder sibling. Reviewed by William Kelley. Issue date: October 31, 2018. Drinking window: 2026-2055.
Rated (94-97) (14% alcohol, vs. 14.5% for the 2015 bottling; the estate owns 3.35 hectares in this grand cru, mostly in the climat Clos de la Roche): Dark red with ruby tones. Fully ripe but reticent nose combines cherry and musky soil tones, lifted by a floral topnote. Compellingly sappy, thick and deep; an utterly seamless grand cru with outstanding depth of texture and an impression of energy and power to its red and black fruit and earth flavors. Boasts uncommon thickness of fruit and purity. The wonderfully long, slowly rising, edge-free finish shows terrific energy. (The estate's Chapelle-Chambertin still had some unconverted malic acidity--indeed, winemaker Alexandre Abel may need to rack the wine and warm the tank to get it to finish--and was very difficult to assess with confidence. But it's savory, rich and deep, with complex soil tones and considerable sweetness.) Reviewed by Stephen Tanzer. Tasting date: January 2018.