Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, 2001

Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, 2001 - a claret from the gods

Celebration of a family event with a bottle of Pontet-Canet 2001 and roast pheasant. No disappointments with this bottle from my Father’s cellar, the Grand Cru (listed in 1855) delivers the fine muscular old-claret nose, body and that beautiful warm and long-lingering after-taste that comes only from these wines which take more than ten years to reach their best.

Lockdown restrictions mean that only the two of us could celebrate in person within the support bubble rules.

Opening the bottle: a short cork and unfortunately this was the first cork for quite a while that has disintegrated while being pulled by me. The cork is an important part of the wine’s maturing process and with this bottle, a good half of the cork had become moist. Once released, the strong aroma of the wine was utterly delightful and quite the match for Terry’s dinner for us of pheasant roasted with girolles.

A very robust, claret, beautifully balanced with strength, complexity in the mouth and particularly, the after-taste lingering on the palette then slowly decaying like a warm summer sunset over the Bassin d’Arcachon.

A reminder of the wonderful side of our family’s holidays in Arcachon, in what now seems like Old France, though it was only the 1960’s. Of huge stacks of Fruits de Mer with pickled gherkins as accompaniment, offered in brasseries reeking of Citanes and pastis; the biggest black and white television I had ever seen mounted in a deep wooden box showing song and dance spectaculars with those iconic French chanteurs and chanteuses (solo singers). Meanwhile my Father frustratedly unable to attract the attention of any waiter when we wanted to leave.

To mis-quote Oscar Wilde's line in his play Lady Windermere’s Fan: “We’re all in the gutter, but some of us are drinking wine from the gods”.