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Bordeaux Diaries: Visit to Pontet-Canet

24 Apr, 2013

En Primeur 2012 was marked by more than just one memorable moment. Our visit to Bordeaux this year was filled with great encounters and the visit to Pontet-Canet was most certainly a highlight. 

2013 marks our third time visiting this beautiful Chateau which makes superb bio-dynamic wines. Even though Pontet-Canet is only a Fifth Growth, the wine maker here produces wines at the level of the best Second Growth and First Growths in the region. Even before it was granted its 100 Point perfect score, many consumers and wine investors called this wine the most popular and in-demand Bordeaux of the appellation.  Having been fortunate enough to taste both vintages, we can say with conviction that they display complexity, balanced tannins and beautiful, richness of fruit, all balanced perfectly in a wine which we cannot wait to taste over time.

Pontet-Canet has gone through a wonderful transformation since 1994, the year Alfred Tesseron took over the chateau. Mr Tesseron is helped by the director, Jean-Michel Comme and the dynamic and attractive Melanie Tesseron. We spoke with Mr Tesseron and he mentioned that amongst many of the secrets of this beautiful wine is the care given to grape selection and the idea of going back to organic principles. To illustrate this, Chateau Pontet-Canet became the first major Bordeaux wine producer to earn the official Agence Bio (AB) organic certification. This is one of many reasons why the estate continues to produce such exceptional wine. Moreover, the winemakers here know and have the patience to find the perfect moment to pick the grapes. Mr Tesseron mentioned that on his healthy vines he is always looking for rich colour in the grape skin, no rot and beautiful, healthy brown stems. In some vintages Tesseron looks at different parcels on a daily basis.

In Bordeaux many Chateaux will look for modern technology. In the meantime Pontet-Canet moves in the opposite direction. From manual grape selection, the lack of computers in making harvesting and fermentation decisions to individuals working in the cellars daily, heart and mind invested in watching the fermentation process 24 hours a day – winemaking at Pontet-Canet is an art. In the vineyards you are always bound to see the horses working the soil. When asked whether they have a taste of the wine, Mr Tesseron mentions that they do eat at the grapes every so often when unwatched!

Our perfect visit at Pontet-Canet was made extra special by an invitation to lunch. The Chateau lunch room becomes a fantastic location, with high chairs and tables and large windows overlooking the courtyard. With beautiful tables, the masterpiece of this room and experience is most certainly the famous cheese table. This is possibly the finest cheese table you will ever see and will put many fromageries to shame. This year the Terrine de Volaiile, Fois Gras au Naturel – melting in your mouth and complemented by spring vegetables and the main consisting of a Fondant de Joue de Boeuf were both served with the 2004 Pontet-Canet which poured in abundance. The Buffet de Fromages was followed by Café Gourmand, a delicious coffee served with delciate petits fours.

As we were leaving the room to say goodbye to Alfred and Melanie Tesseron, we were offered some Tesseron Cognac, a perfect ending to a perfect day. We glanced over at the beautiful courtyard and the horses working the field. We cannot wait to go back to visit this beautiful property, taste the wines and most importantly meet the wonderful people who give winemaking a different meaning at this unique Chateau. 

Written by: Diana Isac, Winerist Co-founder

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