2018 Château Pontet-Canet, Cru Classé Pauillac

Critic score
97.25/100

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WINE DETAILS

  • Region & country
    Pauillac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
  • Maturity
    Young 2025 - 2045
  • Colour
    Red
  • Sweetness
    Dry
  • Style
    Still
  • Unit Volume
    Bottle (75cl.)
2018 Château Pontet-Canet, Cru Classé Pauillac

TASTING NOTES

The 2018 Pontet-Canet is made up of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Picking began on September 24 and finished on October 5; aging is in 55% oak barriques and 45% amphorae. Very deep purple-black in color, it comes rolling sensuously out of the glass with all the opulence and seduction of Cleopatra on a carpet. It emerges with flamboyant scents of crème de cassis, preserved plums and blueberry compote, and after a few moments, it bursts with nuances of molten licorice, sandalwood, Chinese five spice, candied violets, dark chocolate and dried roses, followed by underlying earthy suggestions of fallen leaves, black truffles, underbrush and wild sage. Full-bodied, wonderfully dense, rich, impossibly layered and very, very decadent, the palate delivers all it promises on the nose, with a firm, wonderfully velvety frame and finishing with epic length, a scintillating wave of freshness and a beguiling perfume. This is one for true hedonists.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019)
(97—99)/100

The concentration that comes from having yields of 12hl/ha is extremely clear - it makes it feel very Pauillac, again resembling as at Latour, a 2010 style in terms of its backbone and sense of hunkering down. The fruit quality is dark and knitted, with a creamy texture if you give it a minute to settle, an obvious tannic structure and a menthol finish that lets in some juice, bramble and hedgerow pleasures. It’s clearly impressive, although I get just the slightest touch of over-concentration with hints of prune on the finish. The small yields meant the entire process, from destemming to sorting, was done by hand (last year around 30% of the crop was treated in this way), then fermented in small 40L cement vats that had seen their first service for just part of the crop in 2017. There was huge amounts of hard work and stress to ensure that no dried grapes made it through, with no pumping over and only soft manual punch down to control extraction. This is 100% 1st wine, same as it has been here for the past three years. 55% will be aged in new oak barrel, 45% in amphoras.

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2019)
(96)/100

A bright and open young wine with polished and soft tannins that spread out and fold into the wine, becoming barely discernible, yet the feel and beauty of them frames the wine in a beautiful way. Love the fruit and purity.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (April 2019)
(97—98)/100

The 2018 Pontet-Canet is a freak of nature. Dark, rich and explosive, the 2018 possesses off the charts richness and concentration, much of it coming from tiny yields of just ten hectoliters per hectare, or one third of a normal crop. The 2018 soars out of the glass with stunning aromatic intensity and depth. Black cherry, gravel, grilled herbs, leather, lavender and menthol stain the palate. Dense and hedonistically ripe, the 2018 is a stunningly beautiful wine. The grapes were crushed 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. The 2018 is aging in a combination of 55% new oak and 45% terra cotta amphora. Quite simply, I have never tasted anything like it.

Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (April 2019)
(96—99)/100

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