A Bordeax Scouting Find: 2006 Pontet Canet

Yes, it’s that time of year again, Happy Daylight Savings Time! That also means that we are only a couple of weeks away from the unveiling of the 2010 vintage for the Red, White and Gold wines of Bordeaux! I will be proudly representing TWH at the Primeurs tastings in France, and based on dinner conversation last evening, will be representing all of you as well.

Yes, last night’s dinner was a hoot, filled with great conversation, much hilarity, some great wine, and the banter between the young sons of a very good friend of mine. He had ordered a case of Red Bordeaux that I had recommended to him, and as I was to deliver it, was invited to stay for dinner. It is a common occurrence that whenever we get together, we have some pretty interesting, deep conversation. Let’s just say that the wine that I delivered turned out to be a huge value. Its complexity and suitability to the grilled, bone-in rib eye was impeccable. This spun directly into his expressing his gratitude for my Bordeaux scouting services. Funny that I hadn’t thought about this concept before. But it’s true. I’m a Bordeaux scout. I’m not a critic nor am I an appraiser. I don’t score the wines, I taste them. I represent all of you who choose for me to be your scout. I listen, I observe. I certainly know my buddy’s palate well, and the more experience I have with customers, I get to know what your individual likes and dislikes may be as well.

 

So yes, the inevitable arose; we discussed the high prices of the more famous names of the appellation. There are times when an occasion is special enough for a splurge on a fancy Bordeaux, but what if you just love the wines so much that you can’t wait for a special occasion? That’s when you need a Bordeaux scout! Someone who tastes the wines, AND knows a bit about your own palate to boot. Neither Robert Parker nor James Suckling called my buddy with a heads up on the wine we had last night. Neal Martin didn’t either, in spite of their mutual distaste for the Chelsea Football Club. So leave it to a Blue to drop off a case of Bordeaux that a Gunner will enjoy over the next several years! It’s what I do. It doesn’t stop with him either; it is with great pleasure that I recommend Bordeaux to all y’all.

In this day and age where demand from Asia has elevated the First Growths (including their second labels) to commodity status, just know that prices are not coming down. And it’s not just the First Growths anymore. It seems that foresight is sometimes lost when it comes to Bordeaux and prices. It’s NOT inexpensive, but the other day, I uncovered a pretty dang good deal on one of Pauillac’s high flyers.

 

You would be doing yourself a tremendous service building a vertical of Alfred Tesseron’s Pontet Canet. This Pauillac property (which sits across the street from Mouton Rothschild) has been churning out wines that I can only refer to as “trophies” for over 15 years now. I first visited the property in March 2008, one day before they hosted the St. Julien/Pauillac/St. Estephe UGC tasting. Things were electric and exciting, but that didn’t stop Monsieur Tesseron and his niece Melanie from welcoming us to the chateau. While looking over the vineyards from our elevated perch, Melanie pointed out that they were moving in the direction of full Agence Bio organic certification, as evidenced by the horses working the vineyard. I made some wisecrack about not seeing horses unless they had numbers on them, but I understood what it meant for the quality of the finished product. Tesseron’s wines are not shy; they are richly structured, highly aromatic, complex wines that reflect the unique terroir Pontet Canet shares with its vaunted neighbor. The lacking disparity in quality between the two Pauillac heavyweights is not reflected in price. Not yet. It certainly wasn’t in 2006, where Mouton was a candidate for wine of the vintage (and sells for around $600 per bottle). I’ve tasted the 2006 Pontet Canet. It’s a candidate too! It is an aromatic masterpiece. Berries upon berries marry the earthy notes with hints of tea and forest floor. The palate is heavy weight, with a dark purple fruit surfing the waves of the rich, perfect structure. All that can only lead to a lengthy, pleasing finish. This is a wine that will age, yes, but with a little air, can be enjoyed even now. (BTW, Pontet Canet has received their AB certification beginning with the 2010 vintage). I consider 2006 to be a “drinker’s vintage”, meaning that the wines are pretty and expressive, and don’t need to be forgotten about while they collect dust. But that’s just me.

So yes, I am full-on embracing the title bestowed upon me last night, Bordeaux scout. I am, hopefully, one confirming email away from having all my appointments lined up for the Primeurs week. And if that comes tomorrow, I will make my return to Pontet Canet on Tuesday morning, April 5 at 9:45. Fingers and toes crossed. Please feel free to hit me up with any questions or requests; you can call me your Bordeaux Scout too! Or BS for short. Okay, maybe not. :)Peter Zavialoff

peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

 

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Filed under 2006 Bordeaux, Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff

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