Château Pontet-Canet 2010
• Domaine: Château Pontet-Canet
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Fifth Growth, 5ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Many estates in Bordeaux have no qualms embracing the most cutting-edge viticultural technology to improve their chances at producing quality wines. From cryogenic extraction to hail cannons, countless Classified Growths use these sophisticated instruments and constantly look toward the future. At Château Pontet-Canet, they often look to practices of the past both in the vineyards and the vat room. The results speak for themselves. Without a doubt, Château Pontet-Canet has experienced a meteoric rise in demand, producing knockout wines of astounding quality vintage after vintage.
Château Pontet-Canet is a Pauillac estate with origins dating back to the 18th Century. It derives its namesake from the owner, Jean Francois de Pontet, who expanded the vineyard holdings by purchasing new property around the estate. Several years after his death, his descendants acquired newer plots of land including some in the Canet area and thus, it was aptly named Château Pontet-Canet. Once the vineyard was fully established, it was one of the largest estates in the Médoc. Château Pontet-Canet was classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855 and acquired by the Cruse family who owned the estate for 110 years. By 1975, the vineyards had fallen into a state of disrepair. The Cruse family sold it to the Tesseron family, a well-known name in the Bordeaux Wine Trade. They were faced with the momentous task of bringing the vines of Pontet-Canet to its former glory. It was a task perfectly fit for the legendary figure Alfred Tesseron.
Since the Tesseron family took over the estate, they implemented radical changes. Alfred Tesseron does not view himself as a winemaker, he views himself as a farmer. Because of this, the majority of the work at Château Pontet-Canet is about cultivating the best fruit possible and creating wines people want to drink, not taste. Tesseron partnered with Jean Michel Comme, who introduced him to biodynamic viticulture. With commitment and determination, the entire estate was certified biodynamic. Today, everything is done by hand at Château Pontet Canet, and no electricity is used during picking or sorting whatsoever. There is a very firm ethos here based on the idea that less is more - and it definitely shows. Donkeys and Cows are on the property to cultivate organic fertilizer and the fields are ploughed by horses (who occasionally eat the grapes.)
In the Vat Room, there are no computers surveying the fermentation process or electronic devices pumping the wines. Instead, it is a gravity flow operation with members of the Pontet-Canet team surveying the fermentations that occur, 24 hours a day. The wines are aged in a mixture of French Oak barrels and special amphorae that are created from the same limestone in the soil of the vineyards, reintegrating the wine with the terroir it came from. The results are powerful, friendly, and charming wines that are meant to be enjoyed, appreciated, and laid down to age.
"An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that’s assuming it doesn’t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet’s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!" - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate (2/27/2013, Issue 205), Ratings: 100, Drink: 2021-2061
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