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Pontet Canet 1996

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot
Also available in the following mixed case:

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Tasting Notes

The second bottle, from an estate I know like the back of my hand, was the 1996 Pontet Canet. One or two people had suggested that this might be past its best; after all, it predates the innovations and application of biodynamics overseen by Alfred Tesseron by several years. On the contrary, it has aged beautifully. Cedar, scorched earth and mint blossomed on a nose that is firmly into its secondary phase, yet laden with more fruit than expected considering both its age and the austere style of Left Bank 1996s. The palate might be nearing the end of its drinking plateau, so don’t hold back if you own a few bottles. But I admired its balance and density, its structure and classicism, and the typical Pauillac traits of cedar and a touch of mint toward the finish. I savored it down to the last drop.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, September 2020
Robert Parker, Bordeaux Book (4), December 2003

Mid to pale crimson with a little age at the rim. Dried herbs and grasses on the nose. Then sweetness. Then some quite brutal tannins. This needs quite a time. Drink 2015-2030.

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, September 2011
Read more tasting notes...

I was shocked by how backward the 1996 Pontet-Canet was on the three occasions I tasted it in January. This wine possesses superb potential, but it appears a decade's worth of patience will be necessary. The color is a saturated dark purple. With coaxing, the wine offers aromas of black currant jam intertwined with minerals, sweet oak, and spice. A full-bodied wine, it possesses layered, concentrated, sweet fruit, with an elevated level of ripe tannin. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2035.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (122), April 1999
Robert Parker, Bordeaux Book (3), November 1998

A classic Pauillac, the 1996 continues to flesh out, revealing an opaque purple color, and a magnificent crème de cassis nose reminiscent of the superb vintages of Mouton Rothschild (Pontet Canet's neighbor). The wine is full-bodied, as well as extraordinarily rich, ripe, and powerful, with layers of sweet black fruits intertwined with earth, minerals, and spicy oak. Massive on the palate, with lofty tannin, but equally high extract, this is a profound Pontet-Canet that may turn out to be even more classic and longer-lived than the 1995 and 1994. Terrific stuff !

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (115), February 1998

There is stark contrast between the nose on the 1996 and post-millennial vintages. This is a much more old-school Pauillac nose, less brightness of fruit, more secondary aromas such as pencil box, autumn leaves, sous-bois and a hint of sandalwood. The palate is medium-bodied, the tannins a little brusque compared to the 2000, but fresh and lively. Certainly very masculine with moderate length. A little dry towards the finish. Drinking perfectly now, although lacking the same level of breeding compared to other vintages. Drink now-2015. Tasted May 2009.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, May 2009
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.