Kevin Zraly Sherry-Lehmann Master Class featuring wines from Chateau Pontet-Canet, Grand Cru ClassÃ©, Pauillac. Director and Owner Alfred Tesseron brought the wines directly from Chateau and was on hand to offer commentary. Tasting was led by wine expert Kevin Zraly, with Chris Adams, CEO of Sherry Lehmann, offering additional commentary.
The event was held at the beautiful Four Seasons Restaurant on 52nd street.
Per Sherry Lehmann, all wines were double decanted an hour or two before the event. One note on the 2004: Mr Tesseron suggests opening and decanting in the morning, and drinking in the evening for great pleasure.
Event held on january 25, 2010.
First Flight: 1990, 1994, 1996
1990 Chateau Pontet-Canet - France, Bordeaux, Medoc, Pauillac
Nice deep red color, slightly translucent but definitely holding on. Aromas of leather, earth, tight black fruit. Medium bodied, tannic and a bit unyielding. Long finish, and dominated by secondary notes reinforcing the aromas. The conspicuous deep blue perfume and plunge of ripe fruit Pontet-Canet lovers are accustomed to in recent vintages is not evident in this vintage. Needs more time. (91 pts.)
1994 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Fruit and more fruit. A friendly P-C demonstrating that all is not lost from this silent Bordeaux Vintage. Your nose places you in Pauillac, with a rich black fruit blend. Beyond that, there is not a sense of secondary evolution. In the mouth it is soft and not as well structured as other wines in this tasting. A little mushroomy after about 15 minutes in glass. A wine of good pleasure to drink now. (90 pts.)
1996 Chateau Pontet-Canet
A proper 1996. Well integrated and displaying the strength of the vintage, the fruit quality of P-C, and the evolution of a perfectly preserved bottle. Complex on the nose, by far the most complex of the evening, with cassis, dark fruit, noble leather, and forest floor. Medium-full, long, a large frame, nice acidity and holding nice tannins on the finish. Excellent. Textbook classic. Love it. (94 pts.)
Second Flight 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
2000 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Not there yet. The signature aromas are developing for this vintage, it does have its own characteristic fragrance, it is spicier on the nose, a little piquant along with very high quality fruit. Not giving great pleasure at the moment. After tasting the 1996, and following with the 2001 (which is in a great spot right now), the 2000 is not on its game yet. Hold another 3+ years. Let's see if it can take the high quality fruit and develop the range of secondaries that were so well displayed in that 1996. If it can, then it will soar because the fruit is even better. But so far, no. Patience! (90 pts.)
2001 Chateau Pontet-Canet
In a great spot now. Deep, dark, a little brooding but when pushed, here it comes -- cassis, black cherry and a rich blackberry aroma, confirmed on the palate. Full bodied. Nice length. The bottle holds up over several hours, and was great with a steak after the tasting. Open and enjoy. (92 pts.)
2002 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Surprise of the night (on the upside!). Cassis and blueberries, earthy component. A little leaner than the 2001, showing a little more oak backbone in a positive manner. Tannins are silky. A sleeper waking up from a good dream. Go for it. (91 pts.)
2003 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Fresh, fragrant, wonderful. Modern... atypical for the 2003 vintage but excellent and quite well-grounded in P-C. Full bodied, room to grow. I rate it behind the 1996 and the 2005, but that is no shame! (93 pts.)
Third Flight: 2004, 2005, 2006
2004 Chateau Pontet-Canet
In a lineup of 10 PC wines, the 2004 acquits itself with respect. It is the most closed of the night (along with the 2006), but the full-bodied, tannic and acidic profile is in balance, and will track along a nice, predictable track. A hint of lushness is welcome here. Nice finish. Great for the vintage, and still a good value. Hold. (91 pts.)
2005 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Go to the head of the class. While the 1996 for me was the wine of the night, this wine is clearly on a different level from everything else this evening. A nose that makes you close your eyes and breathe deep. This 2005 has a lift, an elevation, and a silkiness that is simply stunning. So well balanced, and not nearly putting all its moves on the field yet. Still, obvious to everyone: in a lineup of excellent wines, classic wines from P-C, and in the presence of the owner and an expert taster, the 2005 is the pedigree. It IS a cut above the rest, it DOES deserve its reputation. It WILL be one of the most amazing wines you will ever have. Hoard and hold!
And what a gauntlet thrown down for 2009! (96 pts.)
2006 Chateau Pontet-Canet
Closed for business today. In the company of all older brothers, the 2006 is a shy boy. Brooding. Well made, and has the depth of fruit, structure, backbone and length to evolve. But no need to check back with him until 2016+. (91 pts.)
The closing wine was a beautiful cognac, La 53, from The Tesseron family. Blend of 50+ year old vintages, this wine had a pale bronze color, and in addition to the astringency, heat and complexity of cognac aromas, it had a touch of sweet caramel. Wonderful wine. Available for $180 which strikes me as something of a luxury bottle worth buying and savoring for a couple of weeks. Very nice. Special finish.