Neil Martin on Pontet Canet

Neil Martins article on Pontet Canet is interesting and excellent.
Just another example of how vision, passion and hardwork can create an outstanding product.

IMO, Pontet is a fifth growth, priced at a third growth, and now tastes like a first growth…" onclick=";return false;

Neil and Antonio are the reasons why I keep my RP subscription.


Only subscribers can read the article, btw.

I’m a fan of Pontet Canet - or, I guess I was more so before. I do enjoy the ‘off vintage’ 2004 quite a bit, as it is a fantastic bargain. Earlier bottles of the '05 were just spectacular, but one I had recently seemed in an odd space for me, just inky, black, dark fruits, and oak - too ‘new world’ in character.

Recalling what I can about the previous bottles I tried, I believe it is just in a developmental stage right now, however, there has been some talk about the '05’s being a vintage that required early consumption - even with their huge, over-the-top tannic and fruit structure, as they are not seeming to age as expected. Pontet Canet in '05 was a star among stars to many, so it is indicative to the potentiality of such a problem if it is showing some awkwardness.

We had the 2004 Pontet-Canet at my Union Square Cafe Halloween dinner. The wine was massively black, with lush yet balanced fruit, delivered with tons of spice-, tannin-, and texture-driven complexity.


Time will tell how this all turns out, but I disagree with your assumptions here. This is just about the time the 05’s should enter a bad time - only to hopefully emerge about 10 years later. I think any awkwardness of any 05 BDX would be expected about now. The biggest issue is what happens when they are supposed to be singing - many years down the road. I think they will be outstanding, but that’s just my opinion.


I had the '99 recently and it was stellar in a not so stellar vintage. Similar was also the '04, I also tried the '96 a couple of years ago. However I think the 96 will rear its head again this Saturday!

Actually, my opinion is the same as yours, if you review my post - I think it is in a strange stage, but mentioned that there is ‘talk’ of it being a vintage that perhaps was best consumed while young. I hope that is the case, because while I didn’t go ‘big’ in any vintage, I do have nearly 2 cases of 2005 Bordeaux, and if I missed the drinking window on them all (already), I’m gonna be ticked!

If we all missed the drinking windows on 05 BDX, that would be a historic event!! (not to mention potentially financially ruinous to me!)

It would certainly be the death of any credibility to a lot of wine critics. Not naming names or anything…



I would assume said unnamed critic would just claim another vintage/region as superior, so all is well

anyone checked in on an 03 lately? thinking about cracking my first of nine bottles.

Nice article on a house I really like. [welldone.gif]

How can it taste like a first growth when it barely even tastes like Bordeaux? Modern styling has made the wine bigger and sweeter, and if people like that kind of thing that’s fine, but let’s not throw the alternative down the memory hole and pretend that just because some guy is giving it first-growth-level points that it’s remotely like a first growth in any other way.

Keith - How does a first growth taste? In my mind, I think it should taste good and they frequently do. I think PC tastes really good. I don’t give style points for terroir or typicality. I don’t care if a wine is modern or traditional (except as it relates to my palate). Those are merely interesting items for intellectual masturbation. At the end of the day for me, wine is a pleasure drink and within a broad range of styles, I just want something that tastes good. The question for me is whether PC will taste good years down the road. I think it will, but only time will tell.

If your wines have to have typicality in order to be considered good, then fine, but I don’t think it’s everyone’s criteria.


You have every right to think it tastes good - that’s your opinion - but to say that it is a first-growth equivalent because it “tastes good” is silly. I think Muscadet tastes good. If my tasting note on a Muscadet read, “This tastes like a first-growth Bordeaux!” wouldn’t you surmise that I hadn’t the foggiest idea what a first-growth Bordeaux tastes like?

Keith - I’m not trying to be argumentative here, but comparing a Muscadet to BDX is obviously silly and far beyond the example that was initially thrown out by Neal. We are comparing wines of mostly the same grapes from the same region.


I am simply suggesting that there is more to being a first growth than (1) tasting good, (2) being made from Bordeaux grapes, and (3) being from Bordeaux. (N.B. I don’t actually think Pontet-Canet tastes especially good, but that’s besides the point.)

Last I heard, First Growth only referred to the cost of the wines back in the 1855 classification, and had very little if anything to do with taste, quality, etc. If PC tastes like it should cost more, then why get your panties in a wad?

do you believe that the first growths over the past 8 years are “modern styling”, “bigger and sweeter”? if so, then your whole premise is flawed…
i am not comparing pontet to a first growth from 1961, 82, etc…

Well, with that, we will have to agree to disagree. I understand your point, but I don’t subscribe to that view. I’m probably in the minority, but while I love wine, I don’t take it as seriously as others.

I can accept your view that PC doesn’t taste good even if I have a differing opinion. It always pains me to read internet arguments among people involving items of personal taste, so I won’t try and dissuade you. To each his own. I’ll enjoy my PC (hopefully) and you’ll enjoy your HB and Burgs.


I just had the '01 through '05 last Friday and they were all great wines. The '01 was soft and earthy and the most approachable. The '02 had more fruit concentration than the '01 and was a great success for the vintage. The '04 showed more oak with its chocolate mocha nose but it really pulled it off well. The '03 is still my fav! Pure bright concentrated raspberries…killer juice. The '05 took awhile to come around (decanted for 6 hours prior to serving), but showed its potential with its powerful black fruit…it will probably outlive the '03, but I still prefer the beauty of the '03.

My understanding was that the price of the wine was the driving factor in determining status us a First Growth under the 1855 classification, but that vineyard site and soil composition were also critical factors in ranking the chateaux (presumably an analysis of soil type/drainage/exposition/proximity to the Gironde and discussion of which soil conditions were “better and why” type of criteria).FN So it wasn’t just pricing that resulted in the differentiation.

FN - if vineyard site/soil composition were criteria, how is it that Sociando-Mallet was ranked as a mere “Cru Bourgeois”? Was that property not planted to vines back in 1855?