Pauillac’s Château Pontet-Canet is considered by some to be the most popular, charming and in-demand of the Bordeaux. The estate has responded with one of the largest productions in Médoc, often reaching 20,000 or more cases of its balanced, tannic and appealing Grand Vin, with another 20,000 of its second wine, Les Hauts de Pontet. While its origins date back to the mid-19th century, when it was classified as one of eighteen Fifth Growths in the 1855 Classification, its true status has been achieved under the directorship of Guy Tesseron, a renowned Cognac merchant who purchased the estate in 1974. Under his guidance, the Fifth Growth estate has been producing wine comparable to First and Second Growths. The reception of the wine community as well as the consistently high market prices assigned to Pontet-Canet certainly supports the claim.
The 300-acre estate, situated close to the Château Mouton Rothschild, features a terroir of gravel over clay and limestone. Catering to Cabernet Sauvignon at 60%, the property also grows Merlot (33%), Petit Verdot (5%) and Cabernet Franc (2%), with vines aged at 35 years. Tesseron is also responsible for much of the château’s replanting, ensuring upon his purchase that the château had a promising future.
Pontet-Canet has enjoyed its share of accolades from Robert Parker. Its 2009 and 2010 vintages both earned scores of 100 points, catapulting the château’s reputation to a broader audience. The estate is also known as a pioneer when it comes to organic and sustainable farming techniques. Still, for all its modernity, it remains true to its practices of hand harvesting as well as horse-driven soil aeration. Using horses to till, the land is kept relatively undisturbed while the activity brings much needed oxygen to the soil. This perfect blend of past and present, with a fixed eye on the future for good measure, creates an ethereal, energetic wine experience.