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Pontet Canet 2020

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Alfred Tesseron has been making constant improvements here since the early 1990s and Pontet Canet is now one of the leading names of the Médoc. 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. Spring 2020 saw the departure of long-standing technical director Jean-Michel Comme, who oversaw the conversion to biodynamics and other technical innovations.

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Château Pontet-Canet


Tasting Notes

Aromas of blackcurrants and black cherries with hints of crushed walnuts, grilled thyme, cocoa powder and graphite. It’s full-bodied with layers of ultra-fine, silky tannins that elegantly coat your palate, allowing the juicy and vibrant fruit to shine. Delicate and pristine, yet compact with lots of energy and power to uncover in the coming years. It lasts for minutes and is delicious now. The purity of fruit is really impressive. 60% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. 50% new oak 15% old oak and 35% concrete amphorae. Try after 2027.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2023

Composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2020 Pontet-Canet is deep garnet-purple colored. It needs a lot of swirling and aeration to coax out notes of crushed blackcurrants, blueberry compote, and candied violets, leading to suggestions of allspice, fertile loam, kirsch, and dark chocolate with a touch of Indian spices. The medium-bodied palate delivers a firm backbone of grainy tannins with loads of bright, perfumed red and black fruits and seamless acidity, finishing long and fragrant. This is stunning.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, March 2023

A powerful character to this wine, touch of oyster shell, soy, salinity, but also creamy with energy, lift and precision, and a violet character that you find increasingly in Pontet Canet. Plenty of Pauillac signature in its tannic grip and heft, with cocoa bean and slate. Deft and exceptionally successful. Harvest September 14 to September 30. No second wine, as has been true for the past half-decade at Pontet Canet. First full vintage for Mathieu Bessonnet who replaced the previous long-term director Jean-Michel Comme in 2020. 45% new oak barrels, 15% one year, 40% in amphoras.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, February 2023

While Justine Tesseron declined my request to taste at the property, I was able to acquire a bottle of the 2020 Pontet-Canet for review. The wine starts strong, wafting from the glass with attractive aromas of cherries, sweet berries and plum preserve mingled with lilac and licorice, but that's followed by a medium to full-bodied, firm and extracted palate that lacks the amplitude and flesh to conceal the rather drying tannins which dominate the earthy finish. It's an open secret among Bordeaux insiders that this estate—which has benefited from such significant and laudable investments and which was on such an upward trajectory through 2011—has been a perplexingly erratic performer since 2012, intermingling successful vintages with relative failures, and the 2020 only confirms that. While the 2020 isn't by any means a flawed wine, and time may well be kind to it, it doesn't transcend this estate's fifth growth status, even if this château's terroir clearly has the potential to.

William Kelley, Wine Advocate, April 2023

The 2020 Pontet Canet, which was picked from 14 September, has quite a plush bouquet with blackberry, raspberry coulis , cedar and light touches of espresso that hover in the background. Fine delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins. There remains a noticeable and indeed pleasurable sprinkling of black pepper complementing that black fruit. Quite structured on the finish (more so than previous vintages) with a gentle but insistent grip. Unquestionably this is more classically styled than the recently blind-tasted 2019 and should mature well in bottle. Excellent.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, February 2023

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.
Dark, dense and very ripe on the nose. Riper than most Pauillacs tasted. Suave attack then a firm charge of grainy tannin. Fresh and persistent but some chew on the finish. (JL)
Drink 2027 – 2040

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2021

(60% CS, 32% M, 4% CF, 4% PV; 13–13.5% ABV; 50% new, one third in cement “amphorae”)
Dense, crisply ripe black fruit and mineral infusion; rich and ample, fresh and very fine in firm tannin, an impression of a particularly complete PC; deep, plush yet contained, generous and fleshy yet fresh, with a lovely defining and enriching tannin texture and presence; dark black-fruit ripe and red-fruit fresh Cabernet flavor, long and close-grained, very mineral, complex, compact, complete. A most successful Pontet-Canet, maybe the best yet? 2030–50+.

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine, May 2021
Read more tasting notes...

The 2020 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, aging in 50% new French oak barriques, 35% concrete amphorae and 15% in one-year-old barrels. Harvest began on the 14th September for the Merlot, and the final lot of Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested on 30th September.

Opaque purple-black in color, it needs significant aeration and swirling to coax out evocative notes of black cherry preserves, raspberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles and damp soil, before launching into gorgeous floral and spice notions of red roses, cinnamon stick, star anise and cardamom, with a waft of crushed rocks. The medium to full-bodied palate reveals a lot of depth and polish, delivering mouth-coating red and black fruits with loads of fragrant earth and floral sparks, framed by velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and mineral tinged. This is a singular, fascinating expression of the vintage and highly recommended! Drink 2026 - 2056.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, May 2021

The 2020 Pontet Canet, picked from 14 to 30 September, has a well-defined bouquet with scents of black cherries, raspberry, crushed iris and violet. This is demonstrating more delineation than the 2018 that was tasted just a couple of days previously. The palate is medium-bodied with quite a spicy entry, a liberal sprinkling of black pepper and a hint of cedar. Fine structure and focus here. It is fresh with a touch of pencil lead towards the finish, and a touch of pepper lingering on the aftertaste. Here, I can taste Pauillac DNA, which has been my pet peeve in recent vintages. I look forward to revisiting this in bottle. Tasted at the estate with Alfred and Justine Tesseron. 2027 - 2053

Neal Martin, vinous.com, June 2021

This is integrated, with superb density and beauty, offering blackcurrant, mineral and some bark. Full-bodied, yet so polished and refined. Crushed stone. Lots of expression and texture to this wine. Creamy. Pure and precise. Elegant, yet layered. Slightly plusher than the 2019. Dense, yet agile. Fresh as always. 60% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. 50% new oak 15% old oak and 35% concrete amphorae.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, May 2021

The 2020 Pontet-Canet, a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot, was tasted as a barrel sample. Deep garnet-purple colored, it gallops out with energetic scents of warm cassis, blueberry pie, and Morello cherries, plus suggestions of pencil lead, damp soil, and crushed rocks with an alluring waft of jasmine tea. Full-bodied, rich, concentrated, and oh so decadent, it is built like a brick house with firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and spicy.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, June 2022

Highly successful Pontet, one of the few Pauillacs that, for me, overperforms on its 2019. Inky purple with ruby reflections in colour. Lots of firm but upright tannins, a good dollop of graphite, pencil lead and cassis bud, there is depth through the mid palate shot through with wild blackberry, hawthorn, sage, rosemary and wild mint. It has personality, and is a little old school in the best possible way. Recommended. They have avoided the over-concentrated feel of some Pauillacs in the vintage, while remaining true to the appellation. 4% Petit Verdot completes the blend, 50% new oak 35% amphoras, 15% one-year barrels. First full vintage for Mathieu Bessonnet who replaced the previous long-term director Jean-Michel Comme in 2020. 100% first wine, as it has been for the past four years. 45% will be aged in new oak barrels, 15% one year, 40% in amphoras. The mildew pressure was stressful in the early part of the year, but they had learnt from 2018, and brought in the manpower to get around the whole vineyard in a (very long) day, so their yields ended up being close to normal.

Drinking Window 2028 - 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, May 2021
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.