Pontet Canet 2010

Pauillac, Fifth Growth

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Tasting Notes

An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that’s assuming it doesn’t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet’s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!

Score: 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com 01 March 2013

Pontet-Canet’s 2010 harvest took place between September 29 and October 17 (this vineyard is one of the few in Bordeaux that is fully certified as biodynamic) and the final blend was 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that achieved nearly 15% natural alcohol. A remarkable, full-bodied effort (as was the estate’s 2009 and 2008), like so many recent vintages from proprietor Alfred Tesseron, it is of first-growth quality (some may even argue that it eclipses several first-growths). Dense purple to the rim, it offers classic notes of creme de cassis, graphite, subtle smoke and spring flowers. Multidimensional with massive concentration as well as vivid purity, precision and freshness, this is another astonishing effort from an obsessive/compulsive proprietor who is doing everything right. On the downside, this 2010 will require a decade of cellaring and should evolve for 50+ years. It will be fascinating to drink it side by side with the 2009 and 2008.

Score: 96 - 100

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com 04 May 2011

The aromas to this are incredible with blueberry, minerals, dried flowers, and stones. It goes to dried meat and spices. Full body and incredibly integrated with blackberry, licorice, and minerals. There's a wonderful purity to this. It goes on for minutes. The quality of tannins is amazing. Seamless. There's an amazing transparency that shows you all the elements of the wine's unique terrior. Try after 2018.

Score: 100

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com Maturity: 2018+ 04 February 2013

Very heavy bottle. Sweet juicy fruit both black and red. Very ripe but not overripe. Then a darker more mineral restraint on the palate. Powder fine but dense tannins. Long fresh aftertaste. Lithe fruit and lovely balance.

Score: 17 - 18

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2018-2030 10 April 2012

Bright ruby. Knockout nose of cassis, black pepper, minerals and cedar just screams Pauillac. Enters the mouth sweet, creamy and pure, displaying very rich, dense flavors of black fruit, minerals and dried herbs, with lively, integrated acidity keeping the wine from coming across as top-heavy. Finishes extremely long, with silky tannins and an intriguing floral note. Twenty-four hectares are now farmed by horse (up from seven last year) at what has become the first officially certified biodynamic grand cru classe property of Bordeaux. This wine has one of the most impressive and memorable noses of all in 2010 and is much better than the very good but generally overrated 2009. Though it's a little more accessible now than some other great wines of 2010 such as Latour and Calon-Segur, this still needs another 10 to 12 years in the cellar to start showing its best and will keep another 40 years after that without problem.

Score: 94 - 97

Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 01 May 2011

Arguably the most improved estate of all Bordeaux. Pontet Canet has made one of the wines of the vintages for the past few years and is Bordeaux's first major Chateau to be awarded full organic certification. Their approach is to make as pure and natural wine as possible, including using horses in the vineyard in place of tractors - a more gentle way of working the soil. The 2009 was gorgeous and widely acclaimed, but if anything the 2010 has more class. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Merlot, 4 % Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot, aged in 60% new oak. Beautiful pure but very rich fruit, some sweetness of balsamic notes. Powerful with a caressing cashmere mouthfeel and lots of grip. Opulent but very well-defined and refreshing. The brilliant bone structure and vibrancy characteristic of 2010. Harmonious and complete. Tasted again in early May, showing even better with remarkable vivacity. Clearly another brilliant success.

Score: 96 - 98

Albany Vintners, - 28 April 2011

Dense, rich and minty on the nose with real density. Lots of luscious chew. This is clearly from a great vintage with huge vivacity. Heavy undertow. Long. Minerals and firm. Racy. (17.5+ Points)

Score: 17 - 18

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2020-2034 20 April 2011

The Pontet Canet has a very pure bouquet that you could almost compare to a Burgundy. Blackberry, dark cherries, a touch of mint and graphite, exceptionally well defined, flowering with 3-4 minutes in the glass. The palate is full-bodied with very fine but firm, tensile tannins, perhaps even more purity than the 2009, not a million miles away (both geographically and stylistically) from Mouton-Rothschild. The finish is very smooth with a sorbet-like freshness, firm grip, long in the mouth towards the finish with some crème de cassis and blueberry towards the finish. The Merlot content lends this a little more opulence than some of the other Pauillac 2010s. There is a lot of volume to this wine, really fills the mouth with a sweet, sensual finish, but keep find myself yearning for more Cabernet Sauvignon . Drink 2020-2050. Tasted March 2011.

Score: 93 - 95

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2020-2050 15 April 2011

Masses of concentrated cassis fruit, but already has wild violet fragrance of the greatest Pauillacs, superb middle sweetness, perfect structure and length, perhaps more elegant than Pontet-Canet's great 2009.

Score: 18 - 19

Decanter, Decanter.com Maturity: 2016-2035 01 April 2011

Seriously dense, with thickly layered fig paste, macerated black currant fruit, Kenya AA coffee and roasted tobacco. But really fresh and invigorating throughout, with mouthwatering iron and apple wood notes. Despite the power, this cuts like a knife from the start. When the Bordelais say precise, this is what they mean.

Score: 96 - 99

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 31 March 2011