Château Pontet-Canet 2022
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.
"The 2022 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot, aging 50% in new oak barrels, 35% in amphoras, and 15% in used barrels. Deep garnet-purple in color, it needs considerable swirling and coaxing to reveal aromas of damp earth, fragrant soil, crushed rocks, and underbrush, giving way to a profound core of blackcurrant cordial, juicy black plums, and fresh blackberries. The full-bodied palate is laden with nuanced black fruits, slowly releasing earthy and mineral-laced flavors, framed by firm, ripe, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing on a lingering fragrant earth note. Talk about tasting the place! This is Pauillac in all its powerful, energetic glory. " - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent (6/2023), Ratings: 99-100
"The 2022 Château Pontet-Canet is brilliant and should easily be up with the crème de la crème from the Médoc. Based on 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, it was vinified mostly in concrete (there's a small part in wood), and the aging is in 50% new French oak, 35% in amphora, and the rest in once-used barrels. It has an incredibly pure bouquet of cassis, graphite, lead pencil, and scorched earth. This carries to a full-bodied Pauillac with a deep, layered mid-palate, building tannins, and a great finish. It has the purity, richness, and structure that makes this vintage so compelling and is going to be drinkable with just 4-6 years of bottle age but have an incredibly long life." - Jeb Dunnuck (6/2023), Ratings: 97-99+
"Vibrant, vivid purple colour in the glass, rich and deep. Smells bright, super fresh and expressive on the nose with freshly-picked blackcurrants and perfumed purple flowers - the Petit Verdot, really standing out. Clean and clear, creamy, powdery and softly chewy on the palate. The texture is lovely, you can tell they haven't over extracted but there’s still clear concentration with a gentle succulence provided by the acidity, cool freshness and appealing mineral touches alongside liquorice, clove, dried herbs and bitter chocolate. Enjoyable and well defined if still a little compact. 3.85pH. 4% Cabernet Franc completes the blend. 15% press wine used. Harvest 8 - 28 September, the earliest and longest ever. 20% lower yields than in 2021. The technical team used a clay sunscreen on the grapes to avoid burning. Tasted twice." - Georgina Hindle, Decanter (6/2023), Ratings: 95
"The 2022 Pontet-Canet is a surprising wine. Usually much more opulent, especially in warm, dry years, the 2022 comes across as restrained and understated. It is a wine of linear intensity rather than size, marked by notable freshness and a feeling of tension and precision I don’t recall seeing in the past. Clean mineral notes extend the finish effortlessly. I very much admire the precision and vibrancy here. Unforgettable. Drinking window : 2028-2042 - Antonio Galloni, Vinous (6/2023) Rating: 95-97