Château Pontet-Canet 2013
• 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.
"This wine is rich, with generous black plum and berry fruits. It has a structure that is full, ripe and that will sustain the fruitiness of the wine over many years. The sensation is of velvet, with some force behind it. This remarkable wine will develop well over the medium term and then age for many years. Drink from 2022." - Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast (3/2016), Ratings: 95
"A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this biodynamically farmed vineyard (a rarity, but increasing in the Bordeaux viticulture), had tiny yields of 15 hectoliters per hectare. This doesn’t translate into super concentration, but this is certainly an outstanding effort in an extremely difficult vintage. The wine has a dense purple color, and classic creme de cassis, licorice and mocha and espresso roast notes that Pontet-Canet has displayed recently. The wine is medium-bodied, possesses excellent purity, equilibrium and sweet, but noticeable tannin. This is by no means at the level of the great vintages that have been so common of late from this incredible property on the Plateau of Pauillac across from Mouton Rothschild, but it’s certainly one of the vintage’s more noteworthy efforts. Give it 2-3 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 15 or so years." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (8/27/2014, Issue 214), Ratings: 90-92, Drink: 2016-2031
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