Wednesday, October 31, 2007

'04: Ch. Pontet-Canet, Les Hautes Pontet-Canet

In Brief:

2004 Les Hautes de Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) (Sherry-Lehmann $27)

Possessed a subdued bouquet with fruit and hints of earth, wood, and spices. On the palate it was watery in texture, but with a good concentration of flavor, low acidity, a little fruit on the midpalate, and big tannins. The bouquet could be interesting, but is subdued and difficult to dissect.

2004 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) (Sherry-Lehmann $47)

A beautiful, more forward bouquet with clear, delicious fruit, many shades of cherry, earth, wood, and spice. The concentration and extract fill the mouth, though the texture is watery. The acidity is noticably higher than Les Hautes Pontet-Canet, there is noticeable fruit on the midpalate, but the wine is really dominated by incredible, full, round, gripping tannins. The tannins will probably age this wine well, though it is too acidic and thin-textured for my tastes. The bouquet is very interesting, and I do not at all feel I completely understood its nuances. (RP 90)

Tasting Notes:

Tasted in-store at Sherry-Lehmann. It was difficult to clearly capture the aromas in the clear plastic cups they used, but one could get a general sense of the wine. The staff ranges from clueless, to slightly patronizing, to helpful and friendly.

2004 Les Hautes de Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) (Sherry-Lehmann $27)

The bouquet of this second wine displayed greatly subdued fruit with possible hints of wood, earth, and spices. It was hard to be sure of the particulars given the plastic cup and the ambient aromas, but I'm fairly certain the bouquet has deeper nuances. That said, the subdued nature of the aromas would probably make it very difficult, even in ideal conditions, to decipher this bouquet. The palate displayed low acidity with a hint of fruit on the midpalate, and powerful, gripping tannins. The mouthfeel was watery.

2004 Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac) (Sherry-Lehmann $47)

A clear, delicious note of fruit gave way to an aromatically complex bouquet, suggesting dark cherries, mellow cherries, and mereschino cherry tones, along with earth/wood/spice notions. Again this is a rough description, possibly confounded by ambient aromas, but this bouquet would probably be interesting to observe in-vitro-vinum. The bouquet seemed to me beautiful - not sickeningly sweet like the beaujolais' single scent. In the mouth this wine somewhat failed to satisfy. It was not viscous, though there was great concentration of flavour, and I suppose in one sense, the wine's flavor was "mouthfilling." It was noticeably more acidic than Le Hautes Pontet-Canet, but with absolutely incredible, full, round, gripping tannins. There is fruit on the mid-palate, possibly a lot of fruit, though it was hard to tell as I was (excitedly!) distracted by the tannins. The finish was long, and dominated by tannins. I can see how this might be an excellent wine when the tannins mellow and uncover more fruit, though to my taste it is a bit too acidic and not full-bodied enough.

Robert Parker:

Wine Advocate # 171
Jun 2007
Robert Parker 90 Drink 2014 - 2025 $45-$90 (39)
Backward and powerful for the vintage, this blue/purple-colored 2004 exhibits classic creme de cassis, smoke, incense, and spring flower characteristics. Medium to full-bodied, dense, and excruciatingly tannic, this impressively endowed Pauillac is built for the long haul. However, patience will be required. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2025+.
Wine Advocate # 165
Jun 2006
Robert Parker (90-93) Drink 2013 - 2036 $45-$90 (39)
The 2004 Pontet-Canet has an inky/purple color and a classic nose of sweet creme de cassis, cedar, and spice box. It is medium to full-bodied, structured, quite tannic, but also impressively deep and full. This wine will need 7-10 years of cellaring and last for 20-30 years.
Wine Advocate # 158
Apr 2005
Robert Parker (92-94) Drink 2005 - 2035 $45-$90
A brilliant effort from proprietor Alfred Tesseron, Pontet-Canet’s 2004 may ultimately prove to be a better wine than its more famous neighbor, Mouton Rothschild. Medium to full-bodied with a classic creme de cassis-scented perfume, sweet fruit, ripe tannin, tremendous purity, and a personality that suggests no manipulation, no nonsense, and hard work in both the vineyard and winery, this beautiful Pauillac should age for 2-3 decades. It is one of the most concentrated and potentially long-lived wines of the vintage. Is it as good as the 2000, 1996, and 1995? Probably not, but it is a noteworthy effort for the vintage.

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