The 200-acre fifth-growth Pontet-Canet has excelled since 2000. Owner Alfred Tesseron said that the key to the 2003 vintage was keeping everything—alcohol, acidity and tannins—in balance; he succeeded, producing a refined wine with a long finish. The grapes—65 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, plus Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot—were picked early, in mid-September, then aged in two-thirds new oak for 15 to 20 months. 22,500 cases made.
|Score: 94||, WineSpectator.com (Top 100), December 2006|
The spectacular 2003 Pontet Canet is still incredibly young and vigorous. This full-bodied classic boasts a dense purple color as well as a superb nose of graphite, creme de cassis, forest floor, licorice and a hint of truffles, low acidity, and extravagant richness. Most of the tannins have been resolved in this superstar of the vintage. It should continue to drink well for 10-15+ years. Drink 2014-2029
|Score: 95||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014|
|Score: 96||Robert Parker, Hedonists Gazette, May 2007|
One cannot say enough about the labors of proprietor Alfred Tesseron, who has personally overseen the dramatic increase in quality of the wines at Pontet-Canet which started in a significant manner with 1994. This is a classic Pauillac-styled wine (meaning oodles of cassis flavors), as one might expect from a vineyard on the plateau of Pauillac, across the street from Mouton-Rothschild.
One of the great successes of the vintage and certainly one of the most profound Pontet-Canets made over the last decade is the 2003. Deep purple to the rim with a glorious nose of scorched earth, black currant jam, smoke, licorice, and roasted meats, it is full-bodied, incredibly powerful, dense, with low acidity but high tannin, broad-shouldered, and savory. This is a stunning, pure, classic Pontet-Canet that should be at its best between 2010 and 2035.
|Score: 95||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (164), April 2006|
In this vintage the final blend, which tips the scales at 12.9% alcohol, includes 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is impressively endowed but still backward and not at all one of the more showy and flamboyant 2003s. It is dense purple-colored to the rim, with a pure creme de cassis nose intermixed with some high-class toasty new oak, full-bodied with ripe tannin and low acidity in a rather formidable, concentrated style that still seems backward in spite of what I am sure is more glycerin and a lower acid style than usual. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030.+
As most well-informed insiders in Bordeaux know, proprietor Alfred Tesseron has been doing everything right since 1994 in order to fully develop the enormous potential of this vineyard adjacent to Mouton-Rothschild. Some serious work is done in the vineyard including de-budding, de-leafing, and crop-thinning. The harvest usually takes place in several attempts trying to maximize ripeness and there are two separate sorting tables. Yields have dropped dramatically, and of course there is a severe selection.
|Score: 91/93||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (158), April 2005|
An outstanding success for this well-known chateau that still sells its wine at a reasonable price, Pontet-Canet’s 2003 possesses all of the vintage’s power and richness, but is classic in its proportions. While medium to full-bodied, with a boatload of tannin, low acidity gives it more up-front appeal than usual. The color is dense purple to the rim, and classic creme de cassis aromas and flavors are well-displayed. With considerable purity, depth, texture, and personality, it is a wine to buy by readers looking to maximize their purchasing power in 2003 Bordeaux. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025.
|Score: 92/94+||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (152), April 2004|
A deep clear garnet core. There is an engaging sense of controlled opulence on the nose, something almost Burgundian in its purity; notes of dark cherry, black plum, something a little estuarine but certainly showing no traits of summer heat. Very good definition, some glycerine coming through. The palate is medium-bodied with quite chewy tannins, texturally quite similar to the 2004, very good acidity with a nice citric edge cutting through that raspberry, cedar and graphite flavours. Tannic towards the finish, although a little more blunt and less refined than the 2004 or 2005, very linear at the moment. Superb. Tasted October 2009.
|Score: 92||Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, October 2009|
Full-bodied, very rich and powerful with massive tannins but it finishes sweet and ripe. This is muscular, but then it turns to crushed fruit. Super-seductive. The best Pontet I have ever tasted.
|Score: 95/100||James Suckling, Wine Spectator (April 04), April 2004|
Very deep crimson. Foxgloves and sweetness and wildness - overripeness. Very firm chewy tannins. Bilberries. Hot end. (Average group score: 16.6)
|Score: 16||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, October 2010|
Very dark crimson. Sweet and concentrated nose. Tannins very cleverly managed on the front palate – they make their impact only on the finish. Good fruit impact. Lively – some real effort here. Quite beefy.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2008|
|Score: 16.5||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 04), April 2004|
2003 Pontet-Canet placed thirteenth overall, out of 100 wines tasted blind, at the 2003 Farr Vintners Blind Tasting held in October 2010. For more information, please visit www.farrvintners.com/blog.php
|Score: 16.5+||Farr Vintners, Farr Vintners 2003 Blind Tasting, October 2010|
|Score: 16.5||Farr Vintners, Southwold Bordeaux Tasting, January 2007|
Rich, fairly full-bodied, firmly tannic; fleshy-ripe Cabernet fruit within a chewy frame; fair complexity, good length. Long-term muscularity!
|Score: 15.5||Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (1), April 2004|