|Classification||5ème Cru Classé|
A deep purple-edged black. First scent is incredibly appetising, like blackberry and apple pie. Full and sweet, and also an intense, pointed cassis fruit. Thick dry attack - an amazing combination of freshness of concentrated fruit and simply thickness of tannic weight. All this tannin is just stuffed with fruit. Completely 'real', natural to taste, with perfect fruit balance, cut and clarity of flavour, all combined with massive and impressive weight and minutes of length. One of my top wines of the year. Rating: 97 L&S (Apr 2010)
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At 11 years old this remains young, textured, layered, powerful, even a touch of gunsmoke reduction on the first nose. As it opens, this is fruit-forward, packed with sweet black cherry, juicy and fleshy laced with cinammon, aniseed and graphite, ready to drink but will go another few decades. Brilliant stuff, full of Pauillac character but served up with a smile. The estate was in organic conversion at this point, not yet certified, but had been working organically allmost entirely since 2004 (with the 2007 hiccup that meant resetting the conversion process). Served from a jeroboam, so inevitably a little younger than you would find this vintage from a bottle. Drinking range: 2021 - 2042 Rating: 97 Jane Anson, www.janeanson.com (Oct 2021)
Tasted blind as a vintage comparison at the Valandraud vertical, the 2009 Pontet-Canet is a wine that I have tasted several times throughout the year. Here, it is clearly bestowed a very powerful and intense bouquet with raspberry jam, boysenberry, graphite and cold, wet limestone aromas - very well defined and focused, the oak seamlessly integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, in a funny way more like a 2010 towards the finish thanks to its structure. It still feels quite backward and with much more to give, a sense of coiled up energy conveyed upon the extremely persistent finish. It remains a deeply impressive Pauillac with decades ahead of it. Tasted December 2016. Drinking range: 2020 - 2060 Rating: 97 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Feb 2017)
Bright, full ruby. Pure, vibrant aromas of cassis, blackberry, blueberry, licorice, graphite and leather. Like liquid velvet on entry, then energetic and sharply delineated in the mid-palate, with penetrating minerality intensifying the pristine dark berry flavors. Most impressive today on the extremely long, perfumed finish, which shows suave, noble tannins and a magically light touch for such an intense wine. This wine is remarkably tastable today but it's also built for 30+ years of aging. Rating: 96 Stephen Tanzer, www.vinousmedia.com (Jul 2012)
Château Pontet Canet
Pauillac Cinquième cru 1855 Such is the speed with which Pontet-Canet's star has risen of recent that it could almost feel as if it's a new estate bursting on to the scene. But it has a long history, in keeping with its noble neighbours, but a long history of under-achievement, a moniker it has only just shaken off. During the 18th Century, Jean-François de Pontet, and his descendants, built up a very healthy portfolio of vineyard in the Médoc. Those that they owned in St Julien were, eventually, disposed of but the large estate that they assembled in Pauillac was retained and has resisted the fragmentation that afflicted so many Médoc estates over the years. Consequently, at 80ha of vines in a 120ha estate, Pontet-Canet is one of the largest Cru Classé estates. By the time of the 1855 classification, despite being the neighbour of Mouton-Rothschild and Lafite, Pontet-Canet could "only" scrape 5th Growth status. Herman Cruse bought the run down estate in 1865 and, initially, put in the neccessary investment to realise the vineyard's potential. But, by the mid-20th Century, Pontet-Canet's production was mediocre at best. Salvation came when the Cruse family, beset with scandal, were forced to sell Pontet-Canet to a Cognac shipper Guy Tesseron in 1975. He, with his son Alfred, have, at last, allowed Pontet-Canet to blossom. It has taken a lot of work, a lot of investment, and a lot of time to perform the miracle but, since the mid-1990's, Pontet-Canet has produced wines of immense quality and longevity, much loved by Robert Parker and far exceeding 5th Growth status. Lying on a wide plateau of poor gravel soils, with Mouton Rothschild and d'Armailhac immediately to the north and the Carruades de Lafite vineyard to the west, Pontet-Canet is planted to 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The vineyards are farmed biodynamically, the first classed growth vineyard in the Médoc to do so. In keeping with that, they have eschewed tractors in favour of horses, who's hooves are kinder to the soil than tractor tyres. The Grand Vin spends 16 to 20 months in wood, of which 60% typically is new. There is a second wine - Les Hauts de Pontet Canet.
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