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2021 Pontet Canet

2021 Pontet Canet

95-96 JS

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Sokolin Notes:
"Pontet Canet Remains One of the Single Greatest Values in Top Flight Bordeaux." - Dave Sokolin

Featured Review
Plenty of blackberry and blueberry with wet earth and crushed stone. Some spice,tobacco and lead pencil, too. It’s full-bodied with layered tannins and brightness. Fine and chewy at the end. James Suckling

James Suckling | 95-96 JS

Critic Reviews

The dense color and the perfumed aromas set the scene for a rich wine full of fruit. The balance is already there, complex with structure and dense juicy fruits. The wine is impressive.

Wine Enthusiast | 98 WE
Plenty of blackberry and blueberry with wet earth and crushed stone. Some spice,tobacco and lead pencil, too. It’s full-bodied with layered tannins and brightness. Fine and chewy at the end.

James Suckling | 95-96 JS
The 2021 Château Pontet-Canet is rock solid in the vintage and certainly shows the vibrant, vivid style of the estate today with its bright, exotic blue fruits, violets, and graphite-like aromatics. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, I love its mid-palate density, it has notable freshness and purity, some chalky tannins, and outstanding length. The 2021 checks in as 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, and the aging consists of 50% in new barrels, 35% in concrete amphora, and the rest in second-fill barrels.

Jeb Dunnuck | 93-95 JD
Gorgeous fragrance on the nose, so perfumed and floral - really vibrant - you can smell the Cabernet and the Petit Verdot on the nose. Juiciness straight away from a burst of high acidity focussed on blackcurrant and black cherry with both a fragrance, spice and minerality following. This really hits you square on - it’s not opulent but it’s so fully flavoured, forward and upfront. Tannins are fine-grained but plentiful, they hold the structure and give the frame while the creaminess and freshness gives an expansive aspect to the palate. There’s refinement and an aerial quality here despite the clear Pauillac power. The Cabernet fruit is in full shine mode, giving a eucalyptus, perfumed berry and black pepper touch. Structured and supple with grape and terroir characteristics. If you love Pontet, and classic Pauillac claret, this is an impressive reference point. Skilled winemaking from technical director Mathieu Bessonet. 4% Cabernet Franc completes the blend.

Decanter | 95 DEC
The 2021 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot. Deep purple-black in color, it pops from the glass with vibrant blueberries, Morello cherries, and cassis scents, plus suggestions of violets, cinnamon stick, wet rocks, and forest floor with an exotic touch of cardamom. Medium-bodied, the palate has very finely grained tannins and well-poised freshness supporting the perfumed black fruits, leading to loads of minerally sparks on the finish of this very bright and shimmery wine. Harvest started on 24 September with Merlot, followed by the Cabernets and Petit Verdot on 4 October, and finished on 12 October. The wine is to be aged in 50% new oak barrels, 35% amphorae, and 15% 1-year barrels.

The Wine Independent | 93-95 TWI
Offering up wild, exotic aromas of blackberries, cloves and Indian spices mingled with notions of rose petal, bruised orchard fruit and cherry pit that evolve rapidly in the glass, the 2021 Pontet-Canet is medium to full-bodied, ample and fleshy, with a layered mid-palate and refined tannins that assert themselves on the firm, saline finish. Always one of the Médoc’s most singular, idiosyncratic wines, it will be interesting to see how it performs in bottle.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 91-93 RP
The 2021 Pontet-Canet is a soft, open-knit, attractive wine, but its light structure is impossible to look past. Graphite, dried herbs, menthol and licorice fill out the layers. The 2021 is a fairly accessible Pontet Canet that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Harvest took place from September 24 through October 12. Yields were 34 hectoliters per hectare.

Vinous Media | 92 VM
A nice, dark, winey offering, with steeped black cherry and black currant fruit melding nicely with warm earth, alder and cast iron accents through the focused finish. Shows grip and range, with barely any indication of the vintage’s skinny side. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2026 through 2038.

Wine Spectator | 92 WS

Wine Details for 2021 Pontet Canet

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Left Bank
Appellation Pauillac
Cru Fifth Growth

Overview

Producer Chateau Pontet Canet : Situated just beneath Chateau Mouton Rothschild, in perhaps the most prestigious appellation of Bordeaux, and home to three of the five First Growths, resides Chateau Pontet Canet. With the Gironde Estuary to the East and the Atlantic to the west, famous neighbors all around and resting upon the famous Pauillac terroir, Pontet Canet is in possession of some of the most prized and coveted vineyards in the Medoc. The estate’s fame; however, is not attributed solely by its prime location, but for its long history of producing high quality wines that have consistently outperformed their Fifth Growth status.

For three centuries, Pontet Canet has witness only three ownerships, which has greatly contributed to the success and stability of the estate’s winemaking and growing. The name Pontet Canet was birthed in 1781 when Jean-Francois de Pontet merged his existing property with newly acquired vineyards in the Canet area. Following the custom of the day, he joined his surname to that of the estate, officially creating the estate we know today. A century later, Chateau Pontet-Canet was enjoying an extraordinary period of prosperity. The famous classification of 1855, ordered by Emperor Napoleon III, brought the estate recognition. Chateau Pontet Canet now figured on the list of Medoc Grands Crus Classes.

This rise to fame was quickly recognized by one of the most influential Bordeaux negociants of the time, Henri Herman Cruse, who went on to acquire the estate in 1865. Cruse’s incredible vision and understanding of the Bordeaux wine trade, implemented swift modernizations of the property’s infrastructures and hired Charles Skawinski, a highly respected estate manager, in the Medoc. Revolutionary (for the times) cellars were built which enhanced the winemaking process, and the vineyards were given greater attention. Thanks to Cruse’s tireless efforts, the wines of Pontet Canet acquired a reputation of high quality and integrity throughout the world, which would in turn, garner the attention of another Bordeaux Negociant, Guy Tesseron.

Since 1975, the Tesserons have been stewards of the land; respecting the environment, extracting only what is needed for a successful harvest with minimal intervention and an in-depth understanding of the estate’s terroir. Today, Alfred Tesseron (Guy’s son) operates under a unique philosophy, “I am not a winemaker. My team members are not winemakers either. As most of the work is done in the vineyards, we are growers. Our success and achievements at Pontet Canet are due to our efforts in the vineyards, not the winemaking. At the end of the day, our goal is to produce unique vintages of Pontet Canet that are for drinking, not just for wine tasting”. The vineyards of Pontet Canet are treasured and cared for using only organic and biodynamic farming methods. Practices respectful of the natural balances in the vineyard are implemented, such as the use of plow-horses, hand picking, the use of natural fertilizers and natural decoctions used to dust the vines. Fields of horsetail, yarrow, chamomile, dandelion, wicker and rosemary, which all possess extraordinary properties, also help to boost the vine’s defenses against harsh weather and infestation.

The 81-hectare Left Bank estate is planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. It is made up of around one hundred plots and 800,000 vines looking out over the Gironde Estuary. At the heart of Pontet Canet, the terroir is known as the “plateau”, a gentle broad outcrop of Garonne gravel soil dating back to the Gunz era that sits on a bedrock of limestone. This poor, well-drained soil is renowned for being particularly suited to the character of great Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 60% of the Grand Vin. Some of the plots in this location were planted at the end of the 1940s and very deep-rooted, producing the finest quality grapes. There are still a great many of these old vines, and the average age of the vineyard is 50 years.

Another plot of the vineyard, located near the river, is composed of chalkier soils. In some areas the limestone can be seen on the surface and in others clay shows through. These cooler, richer soils are better suited to Merlot and produce wines that are more structured and fleshy in texture. To establish a link with the viticultural past, four plots located on the edge of the outcrop have been planted with the Petit Verdot variety, which brings spicy aromas to the Pontet-Canet “grand vin”. Cabernet Franc is also planted in small quantities, bringing forth earthy qualities, reminiscent of the land that is so cherished. “Revealing the wine’s essence rather than its make-up is our goal.” – Alfred Tesseron.

Though Pontet Canet is classified a Fifth Growth, the wines produced are consistently of Second Growth quality and in some vintages as good as the Firsts. Based on current prices for the wine, the market agrees. For nearly 250 years, Pontet Canet has been a force in Pauillac, the Medoc and all of Bordeaux, producing wines of uncompromised quality. Three centuries, three families, one goal.


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