Château Pontet-Canet

Château Pontet-Canet

Château Pontet-Canet was founded in 1725 by Jean-François de Pontet who was a governor general of the Médoc and a secretary to King Louis XV. The property exchanged hands several timesduring the course of its history, coming into the hands of the Barton family, followed by a powerfulnégociant Hermann Cruse and was most recently bought by Guy Tesseron, a Cognac merchant in

1975. Today, the estate is under the care of one of his sons, Alfred Tesseron.The Oxford Wine Circle hosted Melanie Tesseron, Alfred’s daughter, and marketing director ofthe estate a few months ago. A bubbly and chatty character, she guided us thoroughly throughseven vintages which we tasted from oldest to the youngest. The vintages tasted were 2000, 2002,2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008. Sadly, we did not get to try the 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages.Nonetheless, it was a very good vertical as vintage differences between the wines were clearly illustrated.

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Assessing the ripeness of fruit is a reliable measure of how hot a particular vintage is. A hotter vintage will yield grapes that are riper giving rise to jammier and raisin fruity notes. Less hot vintageswill thus yield grapes that are less ripe and one will often find cedar and leafy notes on such winesfrom Bordeaux.The 2000 vintage was a wine this wine is drinking very well right now. The wine opened up and evolved very quickly so it is not one to decant for too long. It is probably a good idea to decant and drink the wine immediately after the wine has settled. That way it is still possible to appreciate the fruit in the wine before the other tertiary aromas and flavours take dominance.The next wine tasted was from the 2002 vintage. Even though it has been widely recognised that this is a poor vintage, there is room to derive plenty of positive elements from this wine. The slight greenness and austerity are positive features exhibited in this wine. Food pairing this wine with something rustic and salty, e.g. a duck confit will definitely improve the wine and make it go further.

The 2003 wine which followed felt a bit a one-dimensional wine as the aromatics were dominated by a raisined fruit and there was little evolution in the glass. It is a very well made wine but a bit too ripe and linear for me.

Wines from the 2004 vintage are brilliant wines to get at the moment as most of them are just about to or are already entering their drinking window. 2004 Pontet-Canet is a good example of a wine entering its drinking window. Plenty of good-quality fruit, often described as cassis, and nice austerity. In contrast to the 2004 vintage, the 2006 vintage is an example of a wine entering its closed phase. It will probably take a while for it to open up if you intend to decant this wine. Nonetheless, it is a wine with quite some potential due as there is plenty of good fruit character in this wine.

Unsurprisingly, the 2007 wine is drinking very well right now which sums up the ageing potential of this wine. A good value wine to get if you are keen on drinking a young claret that can be drunk now. The final wine tasted was from the 2008 vintage. It is still a young wine and you can just about feel the potential of this wine. Very similar to the ’04 in some ways perhaps due to similar weather conditions. Even if those two wines shared similar weather conditions, this is still a better wine one simple reason as the fruit tasted more pristine which can be due to better viticulture practised by the estate in recent years.

The final wine tasted was from the 2008 vintage. It is still a young wine and you can just about feel the potential of this wine. Very similar to the ’04 in some ways perhaps due to similar weather conditions. Even if those two wines shared similar weather conditions, this is still a better wine one simple reason as the fruit tasted more pristine which can be due to better viticulture practised by the estate in recent years.