Alfred Tesseron has been making constant improvements since the early 1990's. Grapes are manually sorted by a team of 30 people on specially made sorting tables. The vineyard has been organic and bio-dynamic for 10 years and is worked by horses. A part of the maturation is now done in egg-shaped concrete amphoras. The vineyard is planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.
Composed of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Pontet-Canet gives up beautifully fragrant notes of rosehip tea, lilacs, cinnamon stick, cloves, dried leaves and underbrush with a core of kirsch, raspberry coulis, warm plums and red and black currants plus a waft of pencil shavings. Medium-bodied, the palate is refreshing, minerally and wonderfully elegant with a well-played texture of approachable, plush tannins and a long, fragrant finish. Beautiful. Aging took place in 50% new and 15% in second fill barrels and the remaining 35% in amphorae for 16 months, much of the material for which came from the soil at Pontet-Canet!
2021 - 2048
This has ethereal transparency to it with a fresh, red-berry and cherry nose. Terra-cotta and dried-flower notes. Plums, too. Quite complex. The palate has a very detailed tannin texture with attractive cassis and blueberries that hold very long, fresh and pure. Fruity and fresh. Try from 2023.
Mid crimson. Weak rim. Suggestion of pencil shavings on the nose. Rather austere around the edges with oak in evidence. Chewy end and rather a lack of flesh in the middle.
Sweet and spicy on the nose and sweet and quite thick on the palate. Rounded and soft but not a huge amount of fruit flavour. Very nice spice, giving a slightly exotic character. Firm, compact, fresh. Spice is the thing here and a very natural chewy texture. With air more fragrant, a floral fragrance. Chewy, 'spicy' texture, well-balanced fruit and deeply textured. Distinctive.
This is a very charming Pauillac with texture, rippling energy and undoubted finesse. It's deceptive, because the dark, luscious blackberry, bilberry, and damson notes are fairly fresh, with a luscious lipsmacking quality, but the tannins build over the palate. It almost tastes like a St-Julien rather than a Pauillac as they're so fine and elegant, but the Pauillac character becomes more apparent by the close of play - there's no hiding those swirling cassis, smoke and menthol notes. This has a really gorgeous tension and freshness without sacrificing concentration. They used brand-new concrete vats this year, designed by technical director Jean-Michel Comme's, for one-third of the crop. The concrete was made from sands and gravels extracted from the exact spot that the building containing them now stands, utilising geothermal heating and cooling, with as few metallic parts as possible and insulated with hemp. The wine will be aged in 50% new oak, 35% concrete vats and t15% in one-year-old barrels. They have made nearly no second wine again. Just 1% frost loss in 2017. The Merlot was harvested from 18 September, block by block over 10 days, then deleafed. The Cabernets were picked from 28 September through until 4 October.
Drinking Window 2025 - 2038
Fresh fruits on the nose fragrant the nose has lots of charm. Black cherry and blackcurrant on the palate are ripe the mid palate has rich fruit velvety, smooth and supple tannins fine. There is underlying freshness more restrained bright at the back with hints of sweetness on the finish. Drink 2026-2043.
The yields here were ever so slightly higher than last year and there was no frost damage at all. This is the first vintage in which they used the large concrete fermenters which look like amphorae from the outside but on the inside they are more akin to upright ‘fat rugby balls’, according to Alfred Tesseron. They are completely smooth inside with no corners at all and so he does not need to rack and the pigeage is so easy, ‘it can be done by a child, but is it not done by a child’, says Alfred with a smile. The nose shows some coffee and plum notes and some ripeness and richness, but this is not transferred to the palate which is more strictly controlled and focussed. There is no doubt that the nose is the star performer at the moment and it is very luscious and layered. The palate is not wanting to be disturbed but it shows deft tannins and a very crunchy finish. This is a wine which is slimmer and fitter than in previous vintages and yet it doesn’t show any muscle at all, just perfectly clean lines. Alfred says that he likes to make every wine individual and this is a prime example.
Blended of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Pontet-Canet opens with vibrant wild blueberries, black raspberries and crushed plums with notions of cinnamon stick, violets, unsmoked cigars and pencil lead plus wafts of roses, lavender and tilled black soil. Medium-bodied with very fine, incredibly plush tannins, it is deliciously savory in the mouth, with wonderful freshness and spectacular energy delivering many layers, resulting in a very long, mineral-laced finish.
This is incredibly transparent and refined with blackcurrant, blueberry and mineral character. Full-bodied, layered and ethereal. Tannins have a crushed-stone character. Long and persistent.