CHÂTEAU PONTET CANET
2012 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac
|Classification||5ème Cru Classé|
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot - exactly the same blend as the previous three vintages. Deep but not excessively dark colour, round, 'toffeed', gentle. The new cast concrete amphorae represent 40% of the elevage, with the rest in barriques - of which 60% new. Smoothly voluminous and widely mouthfilling, a very spherical feel. Tannins build. Pretty seriously rich and dense and long, but missing, compared with the really great vintages here in recent years, that line of focus and definition, the light to sharpen the shadows. Rating: 93-93 L&S (Apr 2013)
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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.
Black fruits dominate both nose and palate lots of cassis and black cherry. The mid palate is rich with sweet ripe fruit lots of concentration the fruits underpinned by coffee beans and liquorice. The tannins although firm feel ripe and there is bilberry freshness at the back brightening the finish. 2020-35 Rating: 89-94 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Dec 2013)
What is a primeur report without one of Pauillac’s most dynamic estate? I made the trip through the rain to taste their 2012. A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 30% Merlot, the latter was cropped from 4th October and the Cabernet Sauvignon from 11th October, finishing six days later. The 50% of the crop once aged in new oak and one-year old barrels are now matured in concrete vats whilst 35% of the crop is aged in clay amphora quarried from their own vineyard. There is certainly great purity and terroir expression on the nose: blackberry, briary and background scents of fresh raspberry and cold stone. The definition is very impressive. The palate is interesting – quite different from the previous vintages. I love the tannins here – very fine but lending the Pontet-Canet great backbone It is utterly harmonious but I feel more understated, perhaps more controlled than recent vintages. The finish is much more introspective – a Pauillac politely informing you to go away and wait before bottling before making any judgement! This is a divine Pontet Canet - very succinct. Rating: 94-96 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com (May 2013)
A softer, less powerful and less prodigiously endowed Pontet Canet, the 2012 exhibits notes of creme de cassis and new barrique vanillin followed by a medium-bodied, elegant wine with sweeter tannin (and less of it) than is found in the great vintages that immediately precede it. The 2012 is certainly outstanding and, in fact, many readers may prefer it to the blockbuster, out-of-this-world, over-sized 2010, 2009 and 2008. Medium-bodied, pure and expressive, this classic Pauillac should only require 5-6 years of cellaring. It should drink well for two decades thereafter. No one will confuse the 2012 Pontet Canet with the 2008, 2009 or 2010, but proprietor Alfred Tesseron has turned in another high level performance in this more challenging vintage (especially true in the Medoc). 2018 - 2038 Rating: 91-94 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Apr 2013)
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Picked 4-17 October. Blackish purple. Much gentler than most. Easy and round and sating smooth and gouleyant with sufficient freshness – just. Very plush and round and easy. Lots of freshness. Highly distinctive. Rather dry and sudden on the end but really lovely on the way there. Gorgeous start and middle. I'm worried only by the finish. All texture and first two thirds of the experience. 2018 - 2030. Rating: 17.5 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2013)
Winemaker Jean-Michel Cosme concedes that the vicissitudes of the vintage made it harder to use organic and biodynamic practices, but seems happy with the result. This is a step down from recent stellar vintages, but it’s still a dense, if oaky red, with a mixture of leafy, minty and slightly over-ripe flavours. The oak needs to integrate here, but the firm tannins should soften in barrel and bottle. Drink: 2022-30. Rating: 93 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (Apr 2013)
Dense colour, superb nose of blackberry and black cherry fruit, really lovely silky texture, with all the power and elegance of a great Pauillac. Drink: 2017 - 2035 Rating: 18 Steven Spurrier (Apr 2013)
Total and utter harmony, with exceptionally well-knit fruit, layers of flavour and an incredible finish. Rating: 19 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Apr 2013)
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