Chateau Pontet Canet 1990
Chateau Pontet Canet 1990, absolutely breathtaking. Powerful, ample and racy in the glass, the 2016 is one of the most exquisitely well-balanced young. 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. 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.
Château Pontet-Canet is a wine estate located in the Pauillac region and ranked as a fifth growth in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification. It has been owned by the Tesseron family of Cognac fame since 1975, and under the family’s control quality has risen greatly, along with auction prices and popularity. Pontet-Canet is Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant, and is full bodied with a classic tannic structure, providing the potential for long-term cellaring.
The 81-hectare (200-acre) vineyard is located at the heart of the Pauillac appellation, just south of châteaux Mouton Rothschild and d’Armailhac. The soil is made up of Garonne gravel on limestone bedrock and is warm and well drained, providing perfect conditions for Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for 62 percent of plantings. Merlot makes up 32 percent of the rest, and there are small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot as well. Viticulture is certified organic and biodynamic and, in recent years, a team of working horses have been introduced.
Precision is important at Pontet-Canet, and grapes are picked into small crates that are transferred directly to the sorting table, keeping damage to the fruit to a bare minimum and allowing winemakers to keep plot, variety and quality separate. Since 2005, the juice has been fermented in modern, temperature-controlled concrete vats located directly under the sorting tables on the floor above. Grapes from each plot are vinified separately, and aged in barrel (never more than two-thirds new oak) for 16-20 months depending on the vintage.