View from a glass
PUBLISHED: 09:50 08 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:49 10 April 2013
Kent Life's Biddenden-based wine expert Stuart McClosky on a memorable 18 hours in Bordeaux sampling some of this century's greatest vintages
View from a glass
Kent Lifes Biddenden-based wine expert Stuart McClosky on a memorable 18 hours in Bordeaux sampling some of the greatest vintages of this century
Back in December, I was invited to Christmas lunch at Chteau Pontet Canet with the proprietor Alfred Tesseron.
The impressive Pauillac Chteau has a total of 81 hectares under vine and is fully biodynamic. Four horses of Brittany heritage gently cultivate an impressive 24 hectares and, despite their size and power, avoid compacting the soil in order for the roots of the vines to work better.
I started buying Chteau Pontet Canets wines during the 2005 Bordeaux En-Primeur campaign as it offered incredible value and quality compared to its classification.
Six vintages have now passed (the seventh is due out this spring) and an examination of the leading critics reviews and world demand for this fifth-growth shows that the dynamic Pontet Canet fully deserves to be ranked right up there with the very best.
I caught the red-eye from Gatwick to Bordeaux and arrived at the Chteau mid-morning, armed with a gargantuan bouquet of lilies which I presented to Alfred. Well, I could hardly bring a bottle of wine for lunch, could I?
Lunch was served in the main house together with a vertical spanning from the 2000 vintage to their most successful vintages to date, the magnificent 2009.
While the food was stupendous, it was the wine that took centre stage for me. Each vintage had been decanted prior to my arrival and nine decanters lined the table. Space limits detailed praise of each vintage, so I shall focus on the true greats:
The 2000 Bordeaux vintage will go down in the annals of time as being something truly special. I enjoyed the sophistication and poise shown by Pontet Canets 00 offering, however I was a tad disappointed, given the vintage reputation. I think another five years in the bottle will be of real benefit.
Put simply, I adore this. Yes, the 01 vintage is not the best in Bordeaux, yet Pontet Canets offering is sparklingly brilliant. Medium-bodied and graceful rather than a big, brooding Pauillac. I loved the wines tension along with classic notes of cedar and graphite.
2002, 2003 and 2004
Both the 02 and 04 are charming and a real joy to taste. The 03 Bordeaux vintage was very hot and some wines suffered as a consequence, however the 03 Pontet Canet was fantastic; I loved the mouth-feel, rich with glycerine, and the fruit was in abundance.
The 05 is not immediately enjoyable, instead, one has to look a little deeper to appreciate the wines quality. A full day in the decanter would certainly benefit, however, this wine requires at least another 10 years before all its beauty will come to fruition.
2006 and 2007
Delicious, both of them. The 06 is the better of the two, yet the 07 is impressive given the quality of the vintage. The 06 was a little introverted with traditional blackberry, pencil-box aromas and lovely definition. The 07 opened nicely in the glass and offered a generous amount of fruit. Nice finish, too.
One of the best wines of the entire vintage. The 08 is a firm, structured wine with noticeable but nicely integrated tannins. A myriad of black fruits come leaping from the glass with a fine line of lead pencil, which I love. Another one for my come back in 10 years list.
To the finale and what a finale it was too. The 09 Pontet Canet will simply go down in vinous history as one of the greatest wines. It is truly spectacular, in every sense. Every facet of my palate was singing and alive to this perfect wine. Sadly, my words simply do not do this wine any justice, therefore, I invite you (not all at once please) to sample this legend in our new wine store, The Vinorium.
I arrived home, 18 hours later its a tough job, but someone has to do it