Designated a Fifth Growth in the 1855 Classification, Pontet-Canet has exceeded that classification for many years now and is considered one of the top wines of Bordeaux. Of the 120 hectares (300 acres) With 200 acres under vine, the estate of Pontet-Canet is located in the northern end of the Pauillac commune, across the road from first growth Château Mouton Rothschild. The soil composition is mainly gravel over a subsoil of clay and limestone. The grape variety distribution is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Vines average 35 years of age. Harvesting is done by hand, and after sorting the grapes are moved into the estate's gravity-feed cellars for crushing. Fermentation takes place in a mixture of concrete and stainless steel vats. Wines are aged for 16-20 months in up to 60% new oak barrels before fining with egg whites and bottling. This wine from the outstanding 2010 vintage has the distinction of earning two perfect scores. Both James Suckling and Robert Parker scored it 100 points. Parker said "An absolutely amazing wine, from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy, to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that's assuming it doesn't close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet's 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!"
This was my first "Pauillac" and it didn't disappoint. Obviously there are high expectations for a wine of this price point. Big but balanced with exceptional flavors of licorice, fig, jam and spice with impressive refinement. Simply not something you taste very often but worth it. I have one more that I am going to try in another five years and I'll bet it will be even better.