Château Pontet-Canet Retrospective, 2010

It says something about today’s wine market, and something about Pontet-Canet itself, that this estate should be featured in a masterclass tasting by Decanter at their annual Bordeaux Fine Wine Encounter. Such an accolade was once the reserve of first growth estates such as Mouton-Rothschild or La Mission Haut-Brion, or their European counterparts such as Sassicaia or Vega Sicilia. It must be the case, however, that with the dramatic price rises seen over the last decade these wines are now beyond the reach not only of the majority of wine drinkers, but are even beyond the financial scope of a masterclass tasting – certainly so if the ticket price is to remain reasonable.

And so as these wines disappear over the fiscal horizon our attention must turn instead to those that have recently rode into view, estates all abuzz with refurbishment, fresh investment and enhanced quality, providing us all with a new generation of wines to covet. Enter, if you will, Pontet-Canet.

Château Pontet-Canet

Such a choice will surprise some, I am sure. After all, they will opine, wasn’t Pontet-Canet that estate the Cruse family had to sell off in the midst of a wine labelling scandal in the early 1970s? And wasn’t it the source, during the 1970s, of a non-vintage branded cuvée – akin to a dumbed-down Mouton-Cadet – to be poured in the dining cars of the French railways? And yet now, they will continue, now it is suddenly a ‘contender’, proffered for masterclass tastings? Tastings at which I would be much rather supping the wines of Cos d’Estournel, Léoville Las Cases or Ducru-Beaucaillou or indeed from any number of other similarly exalted properties, all of which would certainly draw a bigger crowd at any tasting. Pontet-Canet indeed!

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