This bottle is a pretty big deal as far as wines are concerned, and I am very excited personally to finally be digging into a bottle and analyzing it.
In fact, 2009, 2010, and this very bottle, 2016, have all received perfect 100-point ratings from some of the most highly regarded reviewers in the wine industry.
These are not the only highly regarded vintages but rather a snapshot of some of the most exceptional, most recent bottlings. The lead winemaking consultant is Michel Rolland, who works for such top estates as Chateau Petrus.
To understand a bit of what makes this particular bottle so special, I need to explain a bit of history. In Bordeaux, France, there was established what is known as the Grand Cru Classé in 1855.
In short, it was a ranking system designed to assign a “tier-level” to different estates, from fifth growth (the lowest classification) to first growth (the highest classification).
There are only five first-growth estates. There is, however, an unofficial term used by those in the industry to refer to wines on par with first-growth estates which are not first-growths.
That term is “super seconds,” and they are generally second-growth estates.
Chateau Pontet-Canet is the only “lowly” fifth growth considered to be a super second and stands shoulder to shoulder with giants in the world of Bordeaux.
2016 Chateau Pontet-canet Review
All of the grapes for this bottle are grown on a small 81-hectare parcel of land located in Pauillac, the same Bordeaux subregion which legends such as Chateau Mouton and Chateau Lafite call home.
The estate is certified organic and biodynamic, and the average age of the vines is over fifty years old.
Great care is put into every step of the winemaking process, as each berry is manually sorted and destemmed prior to being allowed to ferment with indigenous yeast strains.
The wine is then aged, 50% in new oak barrels, 35% in concrete amphoras, 15% in one wine oak barrels, for 16 to 18 months, depending on the vintage.
2016 Chateau Pontet-canet
- Brand: Chateau Pontet-Canet
- Country: France
- Region: Bordeaux, Left Bank
- Wine Type: Red Wine
- Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot
- ABV: 13.5%
This wine is stunning in the glass, sporting a garnet color complimented by a dull ruby meniscus at the edges. The legs are heavy and firm and fall down the glass in their own due time.
In short, amazing. The aromas hit you in waves, starting with dark chocolate, aged pipe tobacco, and cherry liqueur.
There are also notes of wild blackberries, coffee, and fresh violets, complimented by just a bit of a warm earthy tone I can’t quite put my finger on.
There is a lot going on here. First, the structure here is amazing. It is powerful, tightly knit, and has ample tannin and acidity. This bottle is 100% built to age for the long haul.
Flavors of blackberries and blueberries are laced with mocha and freshly ground coffee.
Then there are some accenting notes of rich baking spice, toasted oak, and a bit of minerality, which I feel is partially the result of being aged in the amphoras.
The wine has a sense of freshness to it despite all of the power in there, and it is a pretty approachable bottle now. That said, if you have the patience, it will certainly develop over the coming years and be even more delicious.
What Does the 2016 Chateau Pontet-canetpair With?
The intensity of this bottle pretty much limits pairing options to red meat. Wild boar, venison, and rare or medium rare cuts of beef would be my preference when serving this bottle.
One of my personal favorite pairings is sautéed flank steak with oyster mushrooms, served with a side of truffle fries.
What Wines Are Similar to the 2016 Chateau Pontet-canet?
Obviously, the big guys like Chateau Lafite and Chateau Mouton. For a more budget-friendly find, try Baron Philippe de Rothschild Chateau d’Armailhac.
It is an exceptional value for a fraction of the price of a lot of the big guys. Finally, I would recommend trying Roy Estates Red Blend.
It is produced in California by one of my personal favorite winemakers, who spent much of his time learning winemaking techniques over in Bordeaux.
I do not think I could ever bring myself to call a wine “perfect,” but if you forced me to do so, I could definitely see this bottle being in the running.
It offers amazing value and easily competes with some of the best bottles in the world.