About Chateau Pontet-Canet 2016 Grand Cru Classe, Pauillac
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. 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 Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The soil composition is mainly gravel over a subsoil of clay and limestone.
Owner Alfred Tesseron and his team, led by Jean-Michel Comme, Pontet-Canet’s estate manager since 1989, have completely transformed both the vineyard and the identity of Chateau Pontet-Canet. Leaving behind conventional vinegrowing techniques in order to embrace organic and biodynamic methods, they have allowed the terroir to reclaim its origins. The wines of Chateau Pontet-Canet obtained organic certification from Ecocert and biodynamic certification from Biodyvin in 2010 and from Demeter in 2014.
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. For this wine from the momentous 2016 vintage the blend is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.
Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded this an Editors' Choice and a perfect 100 point score. They said "A voluptuous wine, this is rich and fruity yet properly balanced by a magnificent structure. Pure, crisp and packed with a black currant flavor, this will be a remarkable wine as it develops. Still young, it needs many years to develop. Don’t think about drinking before 2025."
Vinous scored this 99 points saying "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."
Jeb Dunnuck scored this 98+ saying "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."
The Wine Advocate scored this 98 points saying "Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Pontet-Canet hits the ground running with a hedonic nose of Black Forest cake, crème de cassis and blueberry pie plus suggestions of candied violets, hoisin, chocolate mint, charcuteries and forest floor with a waft of star anise. Full-bodied, rich, profoundly layered and powerfully fruited, the palate is built like a brick house, with very firm, super ripe, grainy tannins and harmonious freshness, finishing with incredible length and depth. Still incredibly primary and yet already strutting so many layers, I wouldn't be at all surprised if this warrants the three-digit score in a few years' time."
Decanter Magazine scored this 98 points saying "The 2016 is a vintage that shows off the best of Pontet, and is similar in feel to their 2010. Gorgeously rich right from the first nose, it opens stunningly in the glass, showing waves of tight black fruits, touches of redcurrant, liquorice and aniseed, fine tannins and mouthwatering salinity. It manages to remain balanced without losing the punch and concentration of Pauillac, rising up through the palate. It's hard not to fall in love with this wine, and it will clearly age with grace and ease. Bottled in July 2018. Drinking Window 2026 - 2042"