Pontet Canet tasting event.
Tucked away inside the Royal Opera Arcade off Piccadilly is a small, authentic bar à vin, the Pall Mall. This was the venue for the first ever Wine Owners event in association with our friends at Asset Wines, who are headquartered upstairs above the bar.
We are very proud to have co-hosted a vertical of Pontet Canet, among the very largest medocaine cru classé estates and the largest of Pauillac, yet arguably the most progressive - having risen far above their classified status whilst demonstrating leadership and foresight in investing heavily in uncompromising viticultural practises in the pursuit of excellence. Many of us have bought regularly upon release over the last 20 years, so it was an exciting prospect to be tasting across 4 decades of wine making evolution.
Thanks to Loric Gouban, Wine Owners’ popular new intern, we also had the pleasure of welcoming Justine Tesseron the daughter of co-owner Alfred, who introduced the Chateau and shared its history with the 30 wine enthusiasts assembled. Everyone was delighted she was able to join us and thoroughly enjoyed her company.
The first wine to be poured was 1985. At first blush it showed a fine cedar and bramble nose, and was a satisfactorily savoury wine. Frankly, it was served in the correct order of interest.
1996 had an immediately deeper nose, beautifully long to taste with fine powdery tannins, elegant but still taut and with the promise of more to come in another few years. The wine split the attendees, some of whom deeply admired its sinuous complexity, latent power and impressive length; whilst others were left wanted more fat. For a significant minority this was the most admired wine, although this may need some time to find its finest voice.
2004 was a very different expression. Ripe, intensely juicy and with sweet, tangible tannins delivering an impressive package of power, energy and seduction.
2006 proved to be an unexpected delight. Parker had advised his readers to ‘fill their boots’ and how right he was! Such poise and elegant fruit, this was really svelte with a pure finish. It perfectly intersected the youthful classicism of the 1996, and the juicy attention-grabbing fruit, sweetly tannic, crowd-pleasing 2004. At this point in the tasting this was for many the wine of the night. It has to be said, today this vintage sells for a great price (£600-£640) considering the very fine quality.
Then came the 1955, riskily presented as the last of the flight in the hope - rather than the expectation - of a bouquet finale. Never mind, we all said, it’ll be interesting at the very least and a privilege to taste. The bottles opened had both been re-corked at the property in 1989, and their labels were of the modern design in place of the original ‘Cruse’ versions. The understanding was that this ancient wine had spend its first 34 years in the cellars at Pontet Canet, before being reconditioned and sold. The wine turned out to be a monument. A soft, alluring nose was followed by the most mouthwatering palate, showing the complexity of age yet the freshness of something altogether younger, cupped in perfect balance with the most persistent of lifted fruit. In the glass the wine evolved over a 30 minute period, taking on more roundness with air and continuing to develop attractively to the last sip. Burgundian in texture and weight, what a way this was to finish such a convivial evening!
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Tags: Asset Wines, fine wine, Medoc, Pontet Canet, Wine Owners, wine tasting,