‘wagger’ is not a word that one often associates with the somewhat stuffy image of the wines of Bordeaux, but I remember vividly the wine that Victoria Moore was referring to when she first used it. Reporting in the Telegraph, Moore was remarking on Robert Parker’s warning to the Bordelais to ‘be modest’ with their release prices, bearing in mind the global financial turmoil and inevitable backlash if they did not heed the warning.
The swagger Moore was referring to, of course, belonged to Pontet-Canet. A ‘jaw dropping’ price increase of 39% ensured that the 2010’s release did not go unnoticed, but more importantly, reminded us that its predecessor, the 2009, scored a whopping hundred points from Parker, and was described as ‘an amazing wine in every sense.’ Not bad for a fifth growth, although to be fair, Pontet-Canet is well known for punching above its humble classification. And while Moore was talking about the price increase, the wine has a swagger all of its own.
From the Pauillac appellation, Pontet-Canet’s 2009 wine was universally praised by critics for its extraordinary depth and concentration of flavour. James Suckling, tasting in 2011, described it as ‘very sexy on the nose with black truffles, blackberries, blackcurrants and dark chocolate.’ On tasting again the following year, he noted ‘stunning aromas of fresh flowers, with blueberries, blackberries and currants that follow through to a full body, with super balance and finesse. The tannins are super polished. Such class here. Best ever from here.’
Prices soared in early 2012 following Parker’s score. But there followed a slump, as if Pontet Canet’s swagger was not as sustainable as it seemed. Then towards the end of last year, prices started to climb again – the last year to date saw gains of 20.8%. These are early days, the 2009 is not expected to reach its peak until 2020 – 2035.
On a personal level, Pontet Canet is a wine that makes me excited. Few wines in Bordeaux seem to evoke so much passion and emotion from critics and collectors alike as Pontet-Canet, and as such it has achieved a cult-like status. The estate’s charismatic owner Alfred Tesseron has a lot to do with this, I suspect, but the sheer quality year on year speaks for itself.
Incidentally, in spite of the murmurings about the 39% price increase, the 2010 was snapped up regardless. Why?
Swagger, I expect.
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