The Château Pontet-Canet winery, located in the French wine-growing region of Bordeaux, is one of the 18 wineries in the Bordeaux wine-growing region that have been awarded the "Cinquièmes Crus" award and is located within the Pauillac appellation on the Médoc peninsula. The magnificent château has been owned by Guy Tesseron since 1975. Under his leadership and with the help of the conversion to biodynamic cultivation, the winery managed to rise to the top of the world class.
Viticulture on the Médoc peninsula
The Bordeaux growing region, known as Bordeaux in France, is considered the world's largest contiguous wine-growing region for red wine of the highest quality. It is home to around 3,000 wineries, which are referred to as châteaux in Bordeaux. Through a traditional system of classifications and urban appellations, a hierarchy of châteaux that is typical of Bordeaux has been established over the centuries. The reputation of a wine is therefore less based on the individual vineyard than on the name of the winery from which it comes. Top quality can be expected from municipal appellations, which, at 16 percent, only make up a small part of the total wine production in Bordeaux.
The three grape varieties used for Bordeaux are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. They are usually grown individually on the vineyards intended for the respective grape variety and are coordinated differently during vinification depending on the winery and winemaker. The compilation of the individual varieties in the wine, known as an assemblage, gives wine connoisseurs information about its origin.
The Bordeaux wine-growing region is part of the Gironde department and is located in the estuary of the Dordogne and Garonne. The Médoc runs along the left bank of the Gironde for about 70 kilometers. The entire region rests on a limestone pedestal and the soils have deposits of gravel and sand. This gravel-sand mixture in particular contributes to the pronounced rooting of the vines and ensures excellent drainage.
The city of Pauillac is home to three of the five Premiers Crus of the Médoc region. In addition, there are a large number of wineries that produce wines of outstanding quality.
Château Pontet-Canet - highest quality with an eventful history
The Pontet-Canet winery farms an area of 81 hectares, spread over several plots in different villages of Pauillac. The core of the entire vineyard is "Le Plateau", which is particularly suitable for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon due to the gravel soil above the limestone base.
The vineyards of Château Pontet-Canet can look back on a long and varied history. As early as 1705, the aristocrat Jean-François de Pontet founded a small winery north of Pauillac, which he expanded in 1757 by purchasing the Canet estate. A century later, the winery experienced its first heyday when it was included in the list of Médoc Grands Crus Classés by Emperor Napoleon III in 1855. In 1865, Henri Herman Cruse acquired the legendary Château Pontet-Canet and, together with Charles Skawinski, expanded the wine cellar. In 1975, winemaker and cognac dealer Guy Tesseron became the new owner of Pontet-Canet.
From 1995, Alfred Tesseron converted the company to a biodynamic farm. The change took place gradually, so that conventional cultivation and organic viticulture ran parallel for several years. After initial successes on a 14-hectare cultivation area near Pouyalet, the exclusive focus on biodynamics in 2005 did not initially go as hoped due to mildew infestation. However, with great effort, in 2010, Pontet-Canet achieved organic farm status by Ecocert and biodynamic recognition by Biodyvin. In 2014, Pontet-Canet made the final breakthrough with official Demeter certification.
The 2003 vintage, which was great for Pontet-Canet, proved that this radically new approach to winemaking tradition would one day pay off. With 30 percent Merlot in the cuvée, this noble wine is now considered a true classic among the Pauillacs. Since 2005, the quality of the company has regularly exceeded all expectations. The reward for the intensive work in cultivation and production followed in 2009, when Pontet-Canet was able to achieve an impressive 100 Parker points for the first time.
Among the older vintages, the wines from 1945 and 1961 are particularly outstanding. Due to the long conversion phase in viticulture, however, the company only came back to full bloom in this century. The vintages since 2014 in particular are considered to be of the highest quality and impress wine connoisseurs with their unmistakable taste.