Pontet Canet’s 80ha of vines neighbour Mouton’s, and you should by now be aware of its emergence as one of the most exciting properties in the Médoc, and one of the best quality wines, regardless of price. The attention that has been lavished on the vineyards by Alfred Tesseron since he took over full control of the property just a few years ago is now being turned to the cuvier, where a rank of brand new cement tanks, shaped like truncated cones and resembling the landing capsules of the Apollo space mission, will further increase the quality of the wines by aiding pigeage. (Unlined cement, as opposed to the resin or glass-lined tanks widely used pre-stainless steel, has now been superseded by unlined cement in numerous châteaux.) At 35hl/ha, the 2005 could be the lowest-cropped cru classé in Pauillac. It contains 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, with some Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, and is an exercise in “precision winemaking”: very dark ruby with an ample and profound nose of cassis, mint, cedar and minerals, all laid over big, big fruit. It has a delicious attack on the palate, blackcurrant rich, very balanced (despite high alcohol and high acidity) with a spicy hint on the finish, incredibly rich but still very fresh, and just goes on and on. Understandably, an unusually low 30% of this wine will be relegated to the second label, Les Hauts de Pontet.
Pontet-Canet is a 5ème Cru Classé, located in the appellation of Pauillac. Alfred Tesseron owns and runs this sizeable estate, which covers 80ha adjoining Mouton Rothschild. The terroir is elevated gravel and the vines are a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, yielding pure wines with a distinctively smoky edge. Quality has steadily climbed here since the mid-1990's and Pontet-Canet is now one of the most exciting and in vogue properties in the Médoc. With stringent fruit selection at harvest time and brand new, innovative cement fermentation tanks, Alfred is set to keep these wines at the forefront of modern Bordeaux.
The Cabernet Sauvignon domanates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.