Alfred Tesseron has been making constant improvements here 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. The yield in 2018 is miniscule (below 10 hl/ha, but they're not letting on) as a result of mildew in the vineyard that could not be treated by bio-dynamic methods. The tiny amount of wine that has been produced is the "greatest Pontet Canet ever" according to Alfred and is being aged in 55% new oak and 45% in concrete eggs.
The 2018 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. It was aged in 55% oak barriques and 45% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes from the glass with an atomic perfume of raspberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles, rose oil and Chinese five spice, giving way to suggestions of cinnamon stick, dusty soil, pencil lead and underbrush. The rich, seductive, full-bodied palate is a hedonist's dream, delivering layer-upon-layer of black and red berry preserves with loads of fragrant accents, a beautifully firm yet plush texture and tons of freshness, finishing long with a whole firework display of exotic spices. This is pretty much out-of-the-gate delicious, but it has the backbone to evolve over three decades or more. Drink: 2023 - 2053
A complex nose of blueberries, elderberries, dried fruit, spice and dark chocolate. It’s full-bodied with a harmonious, balanced texture. The tannins are still firm and powerful, but there’s balance and finesse to the whole thing. Tight and reserved, yet long and energetic. The tannins open slowly. Dusty texture. From biodynamically grown grapes. Try after 2024.
When I tasted the 2018 Pontet-Canet in barrel I described it as a "freak of nature." The 2018 is more than that, it is a freak of nature. Made from yields of just ten hectoliters per hectare, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness, phenomenal balance and head-spinning intensity. Crushed red berries, flowers, mint, cedar and rose petal saturate the palate in a Pauillac of breath-taking richness. The silkiest of tannins frame the phenomenally pure, long finish. This is a towering achievement from the Tesseron family and former Technical Director Jean-Michel Comme, who together spearheaded biodynamic farming in Bordeaux and built the present-day estate around a philosophy of non-interventionalist winemaking. In 2018, grapes were crushed solely by hand. Because of the tiny yields, the entire production was vinified in Pontet-Canet's new smaller concrete vats. All winemaking was done manually, without the aid of external temperature control or electricity. Put in another way, if Lalou Bize-Leroy made Bordeaux, it would taste like this. 2028 - 2058
An unevolved, almost primordial 2018, the 2018 Château Pontet Canet sports a dense purple hue as well as loads of blue and black fruits, damp earth, tobacco, candied violets, and graphite-laced aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, serious mid-palate depth, and building tannins, it's mostly potential at this point, but it's a beautiful wine in the making. A decade of bottle age is going to be required, though, so it's not for those seeking instant gratification.
Very deep purple-black in color, the 2018 Pontet-Canet rocks up with fantastically expressive plum preserves, baked blueberries and crème de cassis notes with touches of Chinese five spice, potpourri, licorice and chocolate mint plus a hint of smoked meats. Full-bodied, rich, super-concentrated and decadent, it has a firm frame of wonderfully velvety tannins with bold freshness to back up the fruit, finishing very long and very spicy.
The 2018 Pontet-Canet is made up of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Picking began on September 24 and finished on October 5; aging is in 55% oak barriques and 45% amphorae. Very deep purple-black in color, it comes rolling sensuously out of the glass with all the opulence and seduction of Cleopatra on a carpet. It emerges with flamboyant scents of crème de cassis, preserved plums and blueberry compote, and after a few moments, it bursts with nuances of molten licorice, sandalwood, Chinese five spice, candied violets, dark chocolate and dried roses, followed by underlying earthy suggestions of fallen leaves, black truffles, underbrush and wild sage. Full-bodied, wonderfully dense, rich, impossibly layered and very, very decadent, the palate delivers all it promises on the nose, with a firm, wonderfully velvety frame and finishing with epic length, a scintillating wave of freshness and a beguiling perfume. This is one for true hedonists.
A bright and open young wine with polished and soft tannins that spread out and fold into the wine, becoming barely discernible, yet the feel and beauty of them frames the wine in a beautiful way. Love the fruit and purity.
The 2018 Pontet-Canet is a freak of nature. Dark, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness and concentration, much of it coming from tiny yields of just ten hectoliters per hectare, or one third of a normal crop. The 2018 soars out of the glass with stunning aromatic intensity and depth. Black cherry, gravel, grilled herbs, leather, lavender and menthol stain the palate. Dense and hedonistically ripe, the 2018 is a stunningly beautiful wine. The grapes were crushed by hand. Because of the tiny yields, the entire production was vinified in Pontet-Canet's new smaller concrete vats. All winemaking was done manually, without the aid of external temperature control or electricity. The 2018 is aging in a combination of 55% new oak and 45% terra cotta amphora. Quite simply, I have never tasted anything like it.
Barrel sample. Very, very dark. Intensely fruity aroma –even a touch of wild strawberries, blueberry, fragrant and sweetly and wildly fruited. That aroma is on the palate too, a little darker, but all tied up in the tannins, which are smooth but dense. Firm, dry but not chewy. The freshness accentuates the tannins at the moment, hardening them a little. Utterly embryonic but everything in place even if not yet showing. Concentrated and sweet-fruited. Needs a lot of time. Juicy under all that structure and long. More Pontet-Canet than Pauillac, or than my stereotype of Pauillac. (JH)
Deep ruby in the glass. The nose is exotic and complex, with strawberries, raspberries and dried cranberries all on show as well as a hint of liquorice and darker fruit. The palate is plush and oily, with a heady richness and sweet brambly fruit. The tannins are refined but still chalky, giving a plush, rich texture. The fruit gains in ripeness through the mid palate to leave a hedonistic, warming finish with the spicy oak subtle and well-integrated in the background. Impressive in both power and ripeness.
Deeply colored, the 2018 Pontet-Canet checks in as a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot that was destemmed by hand, fermented all in concrete tanks (punch downs only) and is still aging 55% in new French oak and the balance in concrete amphoras. It's an incredibly rich, opulent, and plush Pontet-Canet that offers loads of black and blue fruits, licorice, crushed violets, and graphite aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, powerful, beautifully textured and layered, it's reminiscent of the magical 2009 with its rare mix of both hedonistic and intellectual pleasure. Unfortunately, the estate was decimated by mildew in the spring and lost a full two-thirds of their total production.
The concentration that comes from having yields of 12hl/ha is extremely clear - it makes it feel very Pauillac, again resembling as at Latour, a 2010 style in terms of its backbone and sense of hunkering down.
The fruit quality is dark and knitted, with a creamy texture if you give it a minute to settle, an obvious tannic structure and a menthol finish that lets in some juice, bramble and hedgerow pleasures. It’s clearly impressive, although I get just the slightest touch of over-concentration with hints of prune on the finish.
The small yields meant the entire process, from destemming to sorting, was done by hand (last year around 30% of the crop was treated in this way), then fermented in small 40L cement vats that had seen their first service for just part of the crop in 2017. There was huge amounts of hard work and stress to ensure that no dried grapes made it through, with no pumping over and only soft manual punch down to control extraction.
This is 100% 1st wine, same as it has been here for the past three years. 55% will be aged in new oak barrel, 45% in amphoras.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040
(70 Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 Merlot, 5 Cabernet Franc, 3 Petit Verdot) | 55% new oak, 45% goes in concrete tanks (the equivalent size of four casks) The perfume on this wine is like nothing I have ever encountered in Bordeaux. It is the quintessence of juiciness and concentration, but the palate quickly nips this explosion in the bud and then the flavour is seriously controlled and elegant. The main thrust of fruit is purple and decadent with more than a glimpse of heather and liquorice. They were badly affected by mildew at Pontet-Canet and because of their biodynamic rules they couldn’t not simply run out and spray what they wanted in order to prevent catastrophic damage. In addition, they had to hand sort every berry and destem everything by hand. Winemaker Jean-Michel Comme said that they had, ‘11 people for one table’! In the end they made only one third of a normal production here and yet it shows that the biodynamic path still manages to make headline-grabbing wines. With so much exuberance and theatricality, this is a mesmerising wine with a shockingly vibrant flavour. Only a light pigeage (punching-down) was used with no remontage (pumping over) at all. Jean-Michel stated that the levels of quality and concentration achieved in this wine has ‘never been seen here before’. In his opinion it is higher than 2016 and even 2010. While I appreciate that this is an extraordinary wine, I am not as excited about it as I am the aforementioned vintages, so I have given it a cautious score because I have no idea how far or for how long this elixir will develop.