This morning Pontet Canet 2018 has released at £1,038 per case of 12, or £519 per case of six. It is widely reported that in 2018 Pontet Canet was hit heavily by frost. Their 100% biodynamic wine-making techniques and fastidious focus lead Pontet Canet to be First Growth quality in great vintages. However, it leaves them with little defence against heavy frost and they ‘in good conscience’ did not employ chemical assistance. This resulted in what has been reported as a loss of 2/3 of their normal production. However, they have increased the amount distributed en primeur, so allocations are down 30%.
These traditional methods have led to a truly remarkable wine in 2018, awarded 97-99 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate who bombastically says, ‘it comes rolling sensuously out of the glass with all the opulence and seduction of Cleopatra on a carpet….wonderfully velvety frame and finishing with epic length, a scintillating wave of freshness and a beguiling perfume. This is one for true hedonists.’ Antonio Galloni awards it 96-99, who proclaims ‘Quite simply, I have never tasted anything like it.’ Jeb Dunnuck has awarded it 96-98 points, ‘it’s reminiscent of the magical 2009 with its rare mix of both hedonistic and intellectual pleasure’. Finally, James Suckling has awarded it 97-98 points.
Taken together this makes it one of the most uniformly loved wines of the vintage, a wine that flirts with perfection in a way that both the 2009 and 2010 did and certainly set to surpass both the 2015 and 2016, the latter trades at £1,200. The 2009 and 2010 trade at £1,550 and £1,500 respectively, so there is plenty of potential upside, with the 2018 offered at a 35% discount. With so little available from barrel and meagre reserves held back, Ponet Canet 2018 is a wine to buy on release, before market forces drive the price upwards.
Chateau Pontet Canet was put together by Jean-François Pontet, a powerful political figure in the 1720s and 1730s. The property passed to Pierre-Bernard de Pontet and the reputation of the wines flourished until his death in 1836. This moment marked a decline in the standard and price of the wine, which in turn, led to Pontet Canet being rated a Fifth Growth rather than a higher classification.
The property was purchased in 1865 by Herman Cruse and promptly installed the 23 year old Charles Skawinski, son of the owner of Chateau Giscours, to manage the property. Cruse invested heavily in the property including building a new chai, a new cuvier and constructing one of the few large underground cellars in the Médoc. The standard of the wines increased dramatically, often fetching as much as Third Growths wines or even occasionally Second Growths.
After the death of Cruse’s widow, the Cruse firm in Bordeaux ran the Chateau until a crisis forced its sale in 1975. Guy Tesseron purchased the Estate and it is now owned by his two sons, Alfred and Gérard, meaning that only three families have owned the property during its illustrious history.
Pontet Canet under the influence of Alfred has embraced organic winemaking techniques and was the first Château to earn the official Agence Bio (AB) organic certificate. These techniques coupled with the challenging gravel soil perfect for growing the grapes has made this into a wine that exceeds its Fifth Growth status and is unquestionably one of the leading Super Seconds.