Robert Parker 93
The 2019 Pontet-Canet offers up an expressive bouquet of plummy fruit, kirsch, dried herbs and peonies. On the palate, it’s full-bodied, ample and seamless, with melting tannins, succulent acids, and a long, liqueured finish. Tasted twice, it’s a wine I find somewhat perplexing: in a blind tasting, I might be more inclined to place it in Gigondas than Pauillac. I’m far from dogmatic when it comes to what the French call “typicite,” and stylistic diversity surely enriches every appellation; but by the same token, I’m not convinced that this is the most compelling aesthetic that a Cabernet-based blend from this part of Bordeaux can realize. Checking in at 13.7% alcohol, some 35% of the production was matured in amphorae, which no doubt contributes to the wine’s idiosyncratic identity.
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2045
The 2019 Pontet-Canet is plush, dense and explosive, with tremendous richness and pure, soaring intensity that strengthens in all directions with time in the glass. A wine of gravitas, the 2019 is statuesque in build. As always, Pontet-Canet offers a very personal, idiosyncratic expression of Pauillac. A range of lifted floral and savory notes ring out on the finish. The 2019 is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, harvested between September 23 and October 10, which is a typical time frame for the estate. Yields came in a 33 hectoliters per hectare, more or less the historical average these days. For the first time, all sorting and destemming were done by hand and the wine was vinified only with manual punchdowns (i.e. no pumpovers), without any motorized equipment. Cuvaison was around 21 days, after which the wine was taken off the skins for the malolactic fermentation (which was done in the fermentation vats), and then racked into barrels and concrete for aging – 50% new oak, 35% amphora and 15% once-used barrels. Sadly, 2019 is the last vintage at Pontet-Canet for long-time Technical Director Jean-Michel Comme, who left after 31 years to focus on his own projects. He is succeeded by Mathieu Bessonnet, formerly at Chapoutier.