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The 2016 Pontet-Canet is absolutely breathtaking. Powerful, ample and racy in the glass, the 2016 is one of the most exquisitely well-balanced young Pontet-Canets I can remember tasting. Savory, high-toned aromatics and brisk mineral notes lend energy and delineation as this vivid wonderfully alive wine opens up in the glass. The flavors are dark and incisive, but it is the wine's total sense of harmony that is most compelling. All of the elements are simply in the right place. The 2016 is tremendous. It's as simple as that. As is often the case, Pontet-Canet is one of the most singular wines in Bordeaux. Alfred Tesseron could have chosen to play things safe when he took over the management of the estate in the mid-1990s. Instead, he chose a very different path. No proprietor in Bordeaux has taken more risks over the last two decades than Alfred Tesseron. A commitment to biodynamic farming, sustainability across the entire estate more broadly, and the adoption of new concepts for Bordeaux, such as aging a portion of the wine in terra cotta, set Pontet-Canet apart from other properties in Pauillac and the Left Bank. Not surprisingly, the wine is also starkly different from the wines of neighboring estates. ~99VM
Reminding me of the 2010 and, I suspect, a wine that will merit a triple-digit rating in a decade or so (I tasted this on multiple occasions and thought it was perfect on one of them), the 2016 Château Pontet-Canet comes from 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and the balance Petit Verdot that spent 16 months in 50% new French oak, 35% in concrete amphora, and the rest in second fill oak. Thrilling notes of pure crème de cassis, lead pencil shavings, crushed mint, graphite, and crushed rock notes all emerge from this deep, powerful, yet elegant Pauillac. The style of this wine has become more and more finesse-driven and pure, yet it hasn’t lost a beat on concentration or length. This singular, beautiful Pontet-Canet needs 7-8 years of cellaring (it has some accessibility today given its purity and balance) and will keep for 4-5 decades. ~98+JD
The blend of the 2016 Pontet-Canet is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Around 55% of the wine was aged in new French oak barrels, 15% in two-year-old barrels and 35% in cement amphorae for 16 months. Deep garnet-purple colored, it opens with opulent scents of plum preserves, spice cake, hoisin and crème de cassis with fragrant wafts of potpourri, wood smoke and rose hip tea. Medium to full-bodied, rich and decadent, with loads of spicy layers, it has a firm, velvety texture with great freshness and incredible depth, finishing very long and on a compelling mineral note.
2016 marks the 40th vintage at Pontet-Canet for Alfred Tesseron. Winemaker Jean-Michel Comme mentioned it was wet at the beginning of the year, but thankfully the weather changed in late June. Thus, 2016 was a more normal/typical mildew year, so the disease pressure wasn’t too much of an issue. Then it was very dry until fall. He believes the vintage could be compared to 1961 or 2010. The result is an uninhibited, truly singular showing of Pontet-Canet this year—perhaps the richest, most sumptuous and hedonic expression of the vintage of all the great Left Bank wines. ~ 98, WA
The aromas of ripe blackcurrants, iodine, sweet tobacco and fresh flowers are spellbinding. Full-bodied with mouth-expanding, massive and natural tannins. Impressive fruit with hints of prunes. The finish is long and powerful. Needs six to seven years to soften and come together. Try from 2025. ~ 97Js
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