We have just received details of the release of 2016 Chateau Pontet-Canet. This Fifth Growth Château grew in profile from the 2005 vintage, hitting a new level of popularity following back-to-back 100 point scores from Robert Parker in 2009 and 2010. Simon's offer, below.
To be frank, I have not always been as impressed by the wines of Château Pontet-Canet as certain critics have been. I often found the wines to be a little unyielding and lacking a touch of verve that would warrant such endorsements. However, I have noted a slight shift in style towards greater refinement and finer balance in recent vintages. Owner Alfred Tesseron attributes this to the Château’s conversion to biodynamic viticulture. It might well be, but that remains to be seen over the coming vintages. Whether or not it is simply a consequence of the unique 2016 conditions that favoured more streamlined, classical wines or not, the 2016 Pontet-Canet is, for me, one of the most impressive – perhaps the most impressive vintage – that I have tasted to date. It retains that opulent touch that is so typical of Pontet, but the vibrancy on show sets it apart from previous vintages. The 2016 will more than likely impress followers of the Château and draw a few more into the fold.
2016 Château Pontet-Canet, 5ème Cru Classé, Pauillac
£650 per 6 bottle case in bond
(95-97) points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot and 39% Merlot, less Cabernet this year because of the size of the berries. I tasted the wine on two visits to the property around two weeks apart, plus additional tastings at négoçiants. It has an intense bouquet with layers of blackberry, sloes and fresh mint, just a hint of black truffle in the background. It is certainly a little more opulent compared to its peers. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, a little spicier than I expected (in a positive sense) with gentle grip in the mouth. It fans out with confidence, a voluminous Pontet-Canet with an extremely persistent aftertaste, and a saline and balsamic finish. This is an extravagant Pauillac for the vintage that will age over many years.
(96-99) points, Antonio Galloni, vinous.com
The 2016 Pontet-Canet has been absolutely brilliant on the three occasions I’ve tasted it so far. Exotically ripe, powerful and voluptuous, it brings together the richness of the 2009 with the structure of the 2010. There aren't too many other 2016s where that is the case, but it is undoubtedly true here. The 2016 is a spectacular wine by any measure, while Pontet-Canet confirms its rarefied place as a true original in Bordeaux. Technical director Jean-Michel Comme added that Cabernet Sauvignon plays a slightly lesser role in the blend because the berries had less juice than normal at harvest. Comme also bumped up the new oak slightly, to 55 percent. The rest of the wine was aged in neutral oak (10 percent) and amphora (35 percent). In a word: Superb. Tasted three times.
(98-99) points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
Vivid and full of energy with blackberry, currant and salt. Full body, intense and long. Harmony. Purpose. Classicism. The mineral and currant character is all year. A seamless tannin texture. Great wine. You want to drink it now!
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