10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About… Pontet-Canet

10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About… Pontet-Canet

Jane Anson discovers you can utter the words Michel Rolland and biodynamics in the same breath at this Pauillac fifth growth.
No. 1. Betting on beards and sandals:

Winemaker Jean-Michel Comme, who arrived at Château Pontet-Canet in 1989, can fairly claim responsibility for the astonishing improvements in the quality of its wine over the past few decades. This is not a man who takes his work lightly. He walks miles through the vines every day, and agonizes over every decision.

Comme has his own estate – Champ des Treilles in Sainte-Foy – farmed biodynamically with his wife, Corinne, and it was his belief in the logic of biodynamics that first convinced Pontet owner Alfred Tesseron to convert. But we shouldn’t underestimate what it took for Tesseron himself to take the leap, both financially and philosophically. There were no classified Bordeaux estates that were certified biodynamic (and beyond Pontet there is still only one organically certified classified estate – Château Giraud in Sauternes), and the “beards and sandals” perception of the biodynamic approach lingered on. But Tesseron put his trust in Comme, and encouraged him to do more than experiment with a few hectares.

“There was no point trying such a radical change over a little corner of vines,” says Tesseron, “and I trusted his expertise and his belief in the system. So I told him to go for it.”

No.2. Hoof power:

Nowadays, you can barely visit a Bordeaux estate without getting a tour of the stables, but Pontet-Canet was one of the first properties to bring back this ancient method of working the vines. Today, the estate has five Breton draft horses plowing 34 hectares out of the full 81 – the widest area of any vineyard in Bordeaux.

Alfred Tesseron and his niece Melanie, who now works full-time at the estate, are currently considering building more stables. They hope the work will be completed in two years’ time, when they can look at doubling the number of horses and getting rid of tractors entirely.


Read the full report here: https://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2013/12/10-things-every-wine-lover-should-know-about-pontet-canet

UK Agora
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