Monday, June 14, 2010

Pontet-Canet, my husband's pet wine

I thought my husband would start to cry. I didn't get any primeurs 2009 from Pontet-Canet, he said. The internet connexion broke off when I was about to pay and when it came back, they were already all sold out. I didn't know what to say. Pontet-Canet is his favorite wine. It felt like being in front of someone who just got their dog run over by a car. What do you say?

Primeur, for those of you who are not that much into wine, is when you buy a wine just after the harvest. You then wait for a year or two before getting your bottles, but you get a good price. Well, good and good, everything is relative. My husband insists to say it is an investment to buy a bottle of Pontet-Canet. I agree, but only if we don't drink them ourselves first - which I doubt strongly.

Pontet-Canet was classified as a fifth grand cru of Médoc in the 1855 classification. It puts it right at the top, but many people - like my husband - thinks it should be placed even better. Knowing that wines like Latour, Lafite and Mouton Rothschild belong to the same area, makes it easy to understand the level of quality I am talking of.  They belong to the great wines of a great wine area.

When we went to visit the Pontet-Canet domain in 2008 it was among my first visits to a wine castle. It was everything I had imagined, a fine castle, century old trees in a vast setting, a passionate and knowledgeable guide, taking us through the vines, the wine making facilities and ending with a tasting. I had imagined it would be a nice visit, but actually it was so interesting and it really made me passionate about seeing other places. Since then we have done many visits, which I still enjoy, but unfortunately I have also discovered that all places are not as good at receiving visits as Pontet-Canet, nor as rigorous with their vines.

At that time, they were sad, because they had been obliged to end the three-year biological farming needed to get a bio certification on the third and last year. Due to a very rainy season they added pesticides to save at least a small part of the harvest. But they were determined to continue. They also told us about their experimentation with using horses instead of machines. Sounds very medieval, but the only reason is to avoid compressing the soil with the heavy machines. Admittedly the horses required more work than the machines...

According to a recent article in Le Monde, Pontet-Canet is the only biological wine farmer in the Médoc area. Wine specialists' agree to say that the Pontet-Canet, already a very fine wine from the beginning, has acquired an even higher level of quality since they introduced the biological farming. Other castles are curious, but so far, they have not had the courage to start. I hope it is only a question of time.

Official site Pontet-Canet where I found the horse photo.


  1. HUMMMM !!!!

    My Pontet-Canet 2005 ... I miss you so much, so far from you.
    Fantastic Picture!!!

  2. J'en connais un qui va sauter de joie quand je vais lui présenter la caisse de ce prestigieux vin. C'est un beau cadeau pour ses 40 ans...Merci ++++ à Pascal et Eva. Je ne sais pas si je vais autant lui faire plaisir avec mon cadeau. Vous avez tapé dans le mille....Encore merci....

  3. Oj, ja det här med vin är en hel vetenskap. Jag har bara besökt tyska vingårdar men jag har förstått att det är ett väldigt hårt slit och att det kan vara svårt att få den yngre generationen intresserad av att ta över. Systembolaget är jättebra men det slår inte ett glas på en vingård där man vet att druvorna odlats just här. Det känns liksom lite mer på riktigt men å andra sidan har vi kanske inte riktigt någon vinkultur här i Sverige.
    Kramar från Lotta


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