2019 Château Pontet-Canet En Primeur: £730 IB per dozen / £365 IB per sixThursday, May 28
25.06.2020 Update: We have now sold out of our first tranche of Pontet-Canet, but have a small amount of stock available at a second trance price of £760 IB per dozen bottles.
Château Pontet-Canet released their 2019 at an astonishing first tranche price of just £730 per dozen bottles. This compares with £1035 per dozen for the 2018 and £1370 in 2016.
In 2018, owner Alfred Tesseron demonstrated both his integrity and a flair for responding to his market by releasing at a low price. In that vintage he lost two thirds of his crop to hail damage at the beginning of the growing season. The price of this new release - 31% below the 2018 and just over half the price of the 2016 - makes it less expensive than the 2013 release.
We have not yet tasted cask samples, but our negociant contacts tell us they tasted samples on Monday and found it a 'huge' wine, with impressive aromatic complexity and fine tannins.
The 2019 was matured 50% in new oak barrels, 15% in old oak and 35% in 'dolia' (concrete eggs made especially for Pontet-Canet, with soil and rocks from the estate's terroirs incorporated into them). The blend this year is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
M. Tesseron's reasons for releasing at this superb price will no doubt become clearer in time. Perhaps his commitment to biodynamics makes him responsive to the larger environment in which his wines are released. Whatever the reason, this is a release not to be missed and we recommend you place your order as soon as possible to secure this exceptionally good value wine for your cellar.
Offered En Primeur, landing Spring 2022.
2019 Château Pontet-Canet En Primeur: £760 IB per dozen / £380 IB per six (second tranche price)
Clear Pauillac character in terms of its tannic structure, overlaid with the Pontet signature of recent vintages that translates into spirals of peony and iris alongside brambled hedgerow. As it settles, coffee bean and tobacco adds a charred character alongside blackberry and cassis puree. It opens extremely slowly, with so many subtle nuances that gather in confidence. The tannins have unmistakeable Pauillac strength, but the structure and the subtlety of this wine is Pontet-Canet, with the amphoras having an influence in terms of the tannins feeling less silky than they do in many of the appellation's biggest wines, but still with swagger.
Back to a normal yield after the difficulties in 2018 with mildew that saw production drop to 12hl/ha. This is the last vintage under Jean-Michel Comme, technical director and estate manager for past 32 years. He has been replaced by Mathieu Bessonnet who has spent the last 15 years with Michel Chapoutier on his (also biodynamically farmed) estates in Australia and Alsace and who was, they tell me, selected by Comme who chose him and worked with him.
100% 1st wine, as it has been for the past four years. 55% will be aged in new oak barrel, 45% in amphoras.This is a two-point score under the 2016, because it doesn't have the concentration of that exceptional vintage, but it's an excellent Pontet, full of vigour. Manual punching down across the entire production. Drinking window 2028-2044. 96 points." Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine, 21st March 2020
"A very tight, compact red that shows wonderful precision and definition with lots of blackberries, blueberries, stones and black tea. The sorting and de-stemming was all done by hand. Love the sensibility to this. Superb length and finesse. Subtle and sophisticated. No pumping over and gentle pushing down. Handmade. Very exciting and thought-provoking. Very long. 35% in amphora and the rest in 50% new oak and 15% one-year oak. 65% cabernet sauvignon and 30% merlot, the rest cabernet franc and petit verdot. Biodynamic grapes. 98-99 points" James Suckling, 28th May 2020"