October 21st 2009
In Country Life a couple of weeks ago, Amelia Pinsent put Alfred Tesseron’s Chateau Pontet Canet on her list of “100 wines to try before you die”. I am fortunate enough to have enjoyed that experience several times – both in Bordeaux at the chateau and in London at the dinner we hosted with Alfred a few years ago when we tasted through ten impressive vintages of Pontet Canet.
Alfred is a charmer with a definite twinkle in his eye. He is also a deeply serious wine-maker, committed to taking his chateau to well above its fifth growth status. There is no doubt that the investment and work that he has put into the chateau are paying off. He has embraced biodynamic principles and brought in horses to work in the vineyards. Each year his wines get rave reviews from our tasters and the critics alike.
Sadly the 2004 which Amelia mentions in her article is already sold out, but we do still have a parcel of the Ch Pontet Canet 2007 at £525 IB. Robert Parker awarded it 91-94 points on first tasting. We thought it an excellent wine:
“Alfred had the lowest yields in the Médoc – most likely the lowest in all of Bordeaux – a mere 28 hl/ha (normally 40-45). He told us that he wanted to be sure that his selection was just right despite having a slight pained look on his face. Such is the sacrifice for excellence in such challenging circumstances. Needless to say, this forfeit in quantity was worth the gamble. The 2007 is an utter charm with a core of ultra sweet red cherry, blueberry and blackcurrant. On the finish, it turns seductive with brown sugar undertones yet remains sturdy with a bit of structure. It is a true pin-up in a vintage like 2007. Like Rita Hayworth on a 1940’s wall.”
These are increasingly wines at a level for investment, but it is hard to get away from the sheer pleasure of drinking them…