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Pontet-Canet has always been a legendary Médoc. It is deep ruby-red, crimson, and sometimes almost black colour and has a characteristic bouquet of black fruit (especially blackcurrant), liquorice, and prune as well as fig, cedar, and sometimes cocoa overtones. Pontet-Canet combines power and elegance, as well as concentration and fullness on the palate. Rather sinewy in style, Pontet-Canet is clearly a classical wine with a tannic structure that provides excellent ageing potential. The château team is conscious of the fact that they are following in the footsteps of more than three centuries of tradition, with each period contributing its technical innovations in the interest of quality and in order faithfully to reflect the terroir. Château Pontet-Canet and the estate's second wine, Hauts de Pontet-Canet, are sold exclusively via the Bordeaux wine trade.
Of the 120 hectares (300 acres) estate of Pontet-Canet located in the northern end of the Pauillac commune, across the road from first growth Château Mouton Rothschild, 80 ha (200 acres) are under vine. The soil composition is mainly gravel over a subsoil of clay and limestone. The grape variety distribution is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Vines average 35 years of age.
Pontet-Canet has one of the largest productions of any classified growth in the Medoc with a production of nearly 20,000 cases of its grand-vin, and another 20,000 cases of its second wine, Les Hauts de Pontet. Harvesting is done by hand, and after sorting the grapes are moved into the estate's gravity-feed cellars for crushing. Fermentation takes place in a mixture of concrete and stainless steel vats. Wines are aged for 16-20 months in up to 60% new oak barrels before fining with egg whites and bottling.
The whole world has acclaimed the success of the vintage. Pontet-Canet is at the summit and some already hail it as a legendary wine. It is the first 100% organic and biodynamic certified vintage. The wine seems almost black, a deep and intense purple. The ripe and generous nose combines very pure notes of blackcurrant, violet, rose and liquorice. Wonderful internal harmony creates a symphonic red which associates shimmering substance, exquisite freshness, noble tannins and radiant fruit. The wine is gracious and fine, leaving a lasting memory of fulfilled pleasure.
Each year in Bordeaux is unique, truly not resembling any other. Like any child, a wine has two parents: a father-terroir and a mother-vintage. It will have something of both, but above all it must be itself.
The vine cycle got off to a slightly late start. Then unstable weather during flowering caused shatter, which reduced the number of berries, especially in our older Merlot parcels.
However, sun and drought predominated until harvest time, heralding a fine vintage.
We made considerable progress in our use of draft horses, increasing the surface area on which tractors are not used at all from 7 to 24 hectares (17 to 59 acres).
The vinifications, reduced to the essential at Pontet-Canet, were a reminder that a great wine is made first and foremost in the vineyard.
The result of our choice of organic and biodynamic viticulture, the 2010 vintage is the only one among the Médoc Classified Growths to have both certifications.
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell.
Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.