|Classification||5ème Cru Classé|
Shows a mid-depth colour for recent Pontet Canet vintages, a clear bright dark ruby. The palate is also quite clear-cut and harder-edged than some this year, as though not massaged into the creaminess we have found almost everywhere else. At the same time the attack is silky before the tannins start to build. The whole remains limpid and fresh if a little simple, but I think this will be delicious because it tastes so real rather than over-made. They are winding back the oak here - this will be given 50% new wood, 15% one year old, and 35% will be aged in their clay amphorae. Reminds me of the shape of the 2004, which, by the way, is a cracker. Rating: 92-93 L&S (Apr 2016)
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Vibrant plum colour, followed by spiced plum on the nose, more exotic in its range of flavours and silky texture than many vintages, still powerful and in its primary fruit phase. This is a gorgeous wine, hard to argue with, showing estate character over appellation or vintage. The tannins are softer at this stage that you will find with the 2016, even the 2014, but there is so much pleasure in the glass, and it will power ahead for decades. Harvest September 18 to October 3. This was the vintage where Tesseron decided to make no more Les Hauts de Pontet, with everything going either into the first wine, or declassified, as he felt both that the vineyard had reached the level he wanted, and also that philosophically that he wanted the wine to be a true reflection of the whole vineyard. Drinking range: 2021 - 2045 Rating: 95 Jane Anson, www.janeanson.com (Oct 2021)
So much floral and dark-fruit character with almonds and walnut shell. Full body and ultra-fine tannins. Powerful. Classic style with a harmony and energy. Goes on for minutes. A superb wine with great fruit. Real Bordeaux. Drinking range: 2025 - Rating: 98 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
The thick skins of the 2015 grapes made it easier to be organic and biodynamic when the rains came in late August, according to winemaker, Jean-Michel Comme. This is certainly a very serious, concentrated Pontet-Canet with compact, almost Italianate tannins, plenty of oak and layers of dark, plummy fruit. The finish is just a tad dry perhaps. Drinking range: 2022 - 2035 Rating: 94 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (May 2016)
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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