Pontet-Canet Vertical 1982-2008

Mark the date – Wednesday Sept 28th.  We are starting our 2022 / 2023 season with a terrific Red Bordeaux tasting –
a Pontet-Canet vertical 1982 – 2008  (vintages 1982, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008)
Sign up here, or read 0n …

As befits the opening event of the 2022/2023 season, we will begin with a short reception to give you a chance to catch up and get reacquainted with fellow members after the summer.   We will pour Black Hills Sparkling Brut (Black Sage Bench, Okanagan).   This is a new sparkling wine, made in the traditional method, from a stellar producer – more detail on it later on.

Then comes the tasting proper.  Pontet-Canet has a long history, founded in the late 18th century, but has achieved considerable acclaim starting in the mid-90s.  Pontet-Canet’s history falls into five phases:

  • original estate founded by Jean-François de Pontet late 18th century
  • purchase by Cruse the year after 1855 classification as 5th growth
  • purchase by Tesseron Cognac family in 1975, replanting commenced
  • 1994 Alfred Tesseron takes over running of the estate from Guy; the ‘modern era’
  • 1999 Michel Rolland brought in as a consultant

Pre 1994 the wines were respected, if unexciting – a good everyday claret – and good value (for example it could be had in the 70s in a London bottling by Justerini & Brooks and affordable on a student budget!).  In 1994 Alfred Tesseron launched a reinvigoration of the estate leading eventually to its current near-cult status.  He has a very strong farmer’s focus on the vineyard and Pontet-Canet was an early adopter of Organic practices, including using horses in the vineyard!  They began converting to Biodynamic in 2005, achieving certification in 2010.

The reason for the history lesson is that our tasting spans the last three of those five phases.  We have the 1982, made under Guy Tesseron’s stewardship; then 1994 & 1996 under Alfred Tesseron, and then four vintages (2000, 2001, 2007, 2008) with Michel Rolland also consulting.  Which will you prefer?

For an interesting review of the changes at Pontet-Canet, take a look at this article:
Pontet Canet reassessed
by James Lawther MW which was published on the award-winning JancisRobinson.com on 8 October 2021.
(You need to be a member of Purple Pages; but we are making available at the bottom of this page, with permission, a pdf of the article to our members).

Pontet-Canet traditionally was not for early drinking (15 or 20 + years to reach maturity), but like much of the rest of Bordeaux, more recent vintages mature rather quicker.   These wines are all ready to drink or indeed fully mature.

A couple of tasting notes will give an idea of what’s in store:

Pontet-Canet 1996 – “… it has aged beautifully.  Cedar scorched earth and mint blossomed on a nose that is firmly into its secondary phase, yet laden with more fruit than expected considering both its age and the austere style of Left Bank 1996s. The palate might be nearing the end of its drinking plateau, so don’t hold back if you own a few bottles. But I admired its balance and density, its structure and classicism, and the typical Pauillac traits of cedar and a touch of mint toward the finish. I savored it down to the last drop.” 93 pts, 2020-2032.
Neal Martin, Vinous 2020.

Pontet-Canet 2008 – “A meeting by chance with the 2008 Pontet-Canet prior to a small tasting of South African wines reminded me what a lovely wine this is. There is plenty of black fruit on the nose laced with graphite. The cedar component is less prominent than the previous bottled tasting. The palate is medium-bodied, a little drier and more austere than recent vintages, yet clearly well balanced with a surfeit of freshness on the slightly herbaceous finish. Drinking perfectly now, this will give another two decades of drinking pleasure. Tasted at a merchant in London.”  92 pts, 2019 – 2039.  Neal Martin, Vinous, 2019.

The Line-up:
Ponte-Canet 1982, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2008
Les Hauts de Pontet 2005

And of course we should not forget the reception sparkling wine.  Here are the producer notes on it:

Black Hills Sparking Brut NV – based on 2018 vintage… 59% Chardonnay, 41% Pinot Noir,   with traditional fermentation in bottle on its lees for 40 months…  small dosage… Citrus appears again on the palate, with the lemon zest flavours very much in sync with the crisp acidity of the wine. The finish is dry and fresh. The laborious classical method delivers a fine and persistent mousse. Drink now, or cellar for 5-7 years. “
This sounds so delicious we will be giving a 3 oz pour!

Details, details, details ….

First though a reminder about subscription renewal.  Yes, its that time of the year!
If you haven’t joined or renewed yet, please click here for the membership renewals information page.
or click here to go direct to the membership form.

Pro tip:  If you aren’t a member yet, you can join now and be able to sign up for this event at the member rate.

The Location

The tasting will take place in the Burgundy Room, North York Memorial Hall (under the Library):
5110 Yonge St, at Shepherd
North York Centre Subway

The subway accesses the building directly.  Please do not drink and drive.

This is a large and well-ventilated room.  We will be reviewing the table layout and seating to ensure suitable spacing.  As usual we ask that if you are unwell with symptoms you consider not attending.  Full refunds are of course given in such cases.

Calendar, Pricing & Sign up Details

Date:   Wed Sept 28
Time:   6:45 pm
Cost:    $120 members;   $170 non-members
Max attendance: 88

Sign-up: here


PS: With permission from Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages site we have attached a recent PDF article by James Lawther MW, “Pontet-Canet reassessed