Four from Château Pontet Labrie, 2021
Since his purchase of Château Teyssier back in 1994 Jonathan Maltus (pictured below) has gone from being a St Emilion outsider to one of the key figures in this most famous of Bordeaux appellations. Working with his right-hand man, winemaker Neal Whyte, he developed a strong portfolio of wines which run from entry-level Bordeaux blends under the Pezat label, through the value and volume of Château Teyssier, to the exalted single-vineyard wines led by Le Dôme (and I have not even mentioned his vineyards in Australia and California). Today Le Dôme is surely the appellation’s most famed and yet inevitably unclassified cuvée; the only conceivable competition for this title (that I can think of, anyway) is Château Tertre-Roteboeuf.
An appointment with Jonathan to taste his single-vineyard wines, in particular Le Carré and Les Astéries, and in more recent vintages Pontet Labrie, has long been an essential component of any trip to Bordeaux. So it came as a surprise to see the first two of this trio had disappeared when I recently got to grips with the vintage in my 2020 Bordeaux primeurs report. This was purportedly a consequence of the vintage’s rampant botrytis, but I can’t help feeling it heralds a reorganisation of the range of wines in anticipation of (fingers crossed) the promotion of Le Dôme in the forthcoming revision of the St Emilion classification, due in 2022. We shall see.