Although cropped incredibly low at just 28hl/ha – so there will very little of this superb wine to offer this year – this was a wholly natural result of twenty years’ vineyard work along biodynamic lines, encouraging the plants to self-regulate their yields; no green harvests were done, and no leaf-thinning or other invasive practices were carried out. Sadly the preponderance of mildew last year did mean that Alfred Tesseron’s team were forced to use chemical treatments (for the first time since 2004), but this remains the most naturally farmed Cru Classé property in the Médoc. They have even begun to work the vineyard with horses in an experiment which, if successful, could see tractors replaced completely on this important estate. Intense on the nose, fully ripe and lush berry fruit; dry on the palate with an intense fruit core and layers of sensual complexity; the fruit is lush and almost crispy in texture, very balanced and classy, with great length. Wonderful wine, a keeper. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.
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.