Wine of The Week - Chateau Pontet Canet 2011

Chateau Pontet Canet 2011

Situated at Pauillac, Pontet Canet is a Cinquièmes Crus (Fifth Growth) according to the Bordeaux 1855 classification.

The name of the winery comes from the first owner, Jean-Francois de Pontet, who was once the Governor of Medoc. In 1705, he purchased a few acres at Pauillac and turned the land into a vineyard. The winery kept expanding, even after the death of Mr. Pontet, including the purchase of several famous parcels in the Canet area. Chateau Pontet Canet was born.

It changed hand for the first time in 1865. The new owner Herman Cruse and his family ran the estate for 110 years until 1975. It was a wine fraud scandal in 1973 which forced the Cruse family to sell the estate to Guy Tesseron. Tesseron family was more of a Cognac merchant instead, though he was also the owner of Chateau Lafon Rochet in St Estephe.

When Guy took over the estate, the vineyard was in poor condition. A lot of replanting was needed but Guy was occupied by the crisis in Cognac. Alfred Tesseron, son of Guy, took over the estate in 1994. The property shows improvement ever since. Alfred has no doubt to have brought the estate back in shape and everything was started in the vineyard.

The estate started to try biodynamic farming, bit by bit, and finally obtained the organic certification from Ecocert and biodynamic certification from Biodyvin in 2010 & 2014 respectively. Alfred believes in “everything is done by hand”. There are no computers to make harvesting or fermentation decisions. Horses are used to bring a gentler touch to the soils and adds additional oxygen to the soil.

There are total 81 hectares of vineyard where is planted with Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot with an average age of vines close to 45 years old. For vintage 2011, the estate has already obtained the organic certificate. Though 2011 was not an excellent vintage in Bordeaux, the quality of Pontet is definitely one of the best wines on the left bank (Neal Martin, 2016). It was a classic Pauillac, which has a complex nose and palate of mineral, floral, dark fruits and oak, with soft but notable tannin and full body.

Even though the estate is just a Fifth Growth, the quality is always recognised by the market despite the valuable price!