Four-hour Vinturi decant; rebottle for transit to restaurant with 30 minutes slow-ox at table. Nearly a year since last try, and no real change. Deep, reddish-purple hue opens to reveal red fruit, graphite, tobacco and distant campfire. Medium body with a palate centering on black currant and slightly-sour berries. Final sips were developing a nice mineral/floral presence. Dusty tannins still prominent; bottle rest should tame this just fine and improve the medium+ finish. Air this out aggressively or wait a little longer.
Color: Inky bright purple, sticky long legs. Aroma: Herbal, juicy blackberry, licorice, incense, strawberry, thyme, eucalyptus, violet and hint of oak. Taste: At entry, smoky, gamy and juicy grape juice. Mid-palate, tannic, obvious oak. With air, smooth, sweet and soft tannin. Finish: High acid, white pepper, blackberry and banana, good length. Very big, juicy and powerful wine, with obvious licorice and oak notes but sweet tannin.
With an intense nose that hinted at both the sweet and savory, the ’08 Pontet-Canet showed notes of red and blueberry, sweet spice, rich reduction sauce, and hints of moist soil tones. On the palate, I found silky textures with a medium-weight frame and a veil of ripe red and black berry fruit, which seemed to nearly mask its youthful tannins, while notes of spice, graphite and a hint of citrus saturated the senses. This lasted long throughout the finish, as its fruit slowly faded into fine tannin. This is a dark beast of wine, yet elegant and in need of time in the cellar. This should be amazing in 5-10 years’ time.
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(Chateau Pontet-Canet (Pauillac)) An interesting aromatic layer of fruit here, very highly polished, aromatic, red-black summer fruits, almost high-toned in its definition. Certainly showing a little element of soot like a few other wines. The start on the palate is bold and reveals little, giving a firm shell of structure with little fruit, slowly relaxing and allowing the tannins out early in the midpalate. The texture of the wine struggles to manage with the level of tannin here which dominates the palate in a very forceful manner. It is certainly a wine apart within the appellation, but for me it is showing a rather over-extracted and over-worked character here, without the fruit or texture to match in this difficult vintage. That's surprising as I have tasted this twice as a barrel sample when it showed much better than this. I think caution is required here; I will leave a note of uncertainty in my score and I will reassess in the future.
(Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac) Lovely fruit on the nose here, blackcurrant cream with vanilla ice cream, very bright and fresh and appealing. The palate is as supple as I recall from the primeurs, with very stylish composition. And the same delightful crystalline black fruit character that marked this vintage when I first tasted it in 2009. Lovely, compact, linear, balanced and composed, giving it a very harmonious composition that puts it far closer to the 2005 vintage in structure, but obviously not substance or depth (or hype) than many people suspect,. Still, this is just a barrel sample, so we should remain circumspect, and I will assess this wine again when it is in bottle, later this year.
(Chateau Pontet-Canet Pauillac) Decanted before pouring, which is the norm for Pontet-Canet at these tastings. Dark and clearly concentrated, with a delightful perfume, harmonious and floral in character. The palate, however, is dense and withdrawn, tannic and firm. The structure is compact and tight, with a dominating wealth of ripe tannin. This has huge structure, but it is ripe, and it has the acidity to cope, and the fruit too I think. What a big finish. Massive potential here, but I hope the fruit outlives the tannins.
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