Château Grand-Pontet has an enviable position at the side of the road which heads north-west, away from the top of the town of St Emilion. This is, for many wine-focused visitors to Bordeaux, a well-trodden route, as it is the obvious route to take when travelling between the appellations of St Emilion and Pomerol. Indeed, I recall one trip to the region, to taste the freshly bottled wines (I confess I forget which vintage it was) when my timetable took me up and down this particular stretch of tarmac at least eight times in one day, as my appointments bounced me from one appellation to the other, and then back again.
Even though I have driven past Château Grand-Pontet so many times I confess that until recently I had seldom encountered its wines, despite the property’s long-standing ranking as grand cru classé within the St Emilion classification. It was easy to drive past the property and not even notice it, my attention perhaps more focused on the fact I was late for an appointment, perhaps at Vieux Château Certan or maybe Château Pavie-Macquin (depending on which direction I was travelling in). In 2019 the property became somewhat more difficult to miss, however, as the owners built a prominent octagonal tower overlooking the cellars. Seeing that it seemed to me that there was ongoing investment and effort here, something that did shine through in the wines, on the rare occasions that I encountered them.
Some in the region, however, were more astute, and to these keener eyes Château Grand-Pontet did not go unnoticed. This became apparent in late 2021 when it was revealed that Domaine Clarence Dillon, owners of Château Haut-Brion, Château La Mission Haut-Brion and more relevantly Château Quintus had purchased the property for an undisclosed sum. The sale effectively signalled the end for Château Grand-Pontet, as it was clear that its vineyards would be absorbed into Château Quintus. This profile therefore stands as an account of an estate which, from 2021, will no longer have an independent existence in Bordeaux. The detail on the vineyards and winemaking are hopefully of historical interest to those in possession of older vintages.