Robert Parker 98
The 2018 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. It was aged in 55% oak barriques and 45% amphorae. Deep garnet-purple colored, it explodes from the glass with an atomic perfume of raspberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles, rose oil and Chinese five spice, giving way to suggestions of cinnamon stick, dusty soil, pencil lead and underbrush. The rich, seductive, full-bodied palate is a hedonist’s dream, delivering layer-upon-layer of black and red berry preserves with loads of fragrant accents, a beautifully firm yet plush texture and tons of freshness, finishing long with a whole firework display of exotic spices. This is pretty much out-of-the-gate delicious, but it has the backbone to evolve over three decades or more.
Anticipated maturity: 2023-2053
Tasted blind. Savoury, almost oily, note on the nose. Then very broad, sweet and opulent on the palate with a note of dill. Not quite harmonious – yet? – but with a dramatic set of ingredients ready to gel. Leathery finish.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2050
When I tasted the 2018 Pontet-Canet in barrel I described it as a "freak of nature." The 2018 is more than that, it is a freak of nature. Made from yields of just ten hectoliters per hectare, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness, phenomenal balance and head-spinning intensity. Crushed red berries, flowers, mint, cedar and rose petal saturate the palate in a Pauillac of breath-taking richness. The silkiest of tannins frame the phenomenally pure, long finish. This is a towering achievement from the Tesseron family and former Technical Director Jean-Michel Comme, who together spearheaded biodynamic farming in Bordeaux and built the present-day estate around a philosophy of non-interventionalist winemaking. In 2018, grapes were crushed solely by hand. Because of the tiny yields, the entire production was vinified in Pontet-Canet’s new smaller concrete vats. All winemaking was done manually, without the aid of external temperature control or electricity. Put in another way, if Lalou Bize-Leroy made Bordeaux, it would taste like this.
Anticipated maturity: 2028-2058