The origins of Ch. Pontet-Canet can be traced back to 1725, when it was purchased by Jean-François Pontet. Remarkably, since then the estate has been in the hands of just two other families – the Cruse family who bought the property in 1865 and the current owners, the Tesserons, who bought it in 1975.
The grapes planted at Ch. Pontet-Canet are 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, showing a classic Left Bank Bordeaux blend. The soil is Gunzian gravel on a limestone bedrock.
Little green harvesting is carried out in the vineyards – the philosophy of the estate is to manage yields at pruning and through working the soils, believing the vines themselves can best manage their yield.
Viticulture is all certified biodynamic, which is still unusual in Bordeaux, although other estates such as Ch. Mouton Rothschild have begun converting to biodynamic practices. All biodynamic treatments are made in-house and the vineyards are ploughed by horse in order to protect the soils from compaction.
The winery was renovated in 2005. All the grapes are picked by hand and then sorted and de-stemmed by a specially designed sorting table.
Fermentation takes place in a combination of wood, concrete and – since 2017 – amphora. The latter are partially made with soil from the estate, the idea being that it ties elements of terroir into the fermentation process.
Following fermentation, the wine is aged predominantly in oak barriques, typically around 50% new (with the rest second-fill). Since 2012, around 30-40% of the wine has been aged in concrete amphora.
Pontet-Canet used to produce a second wine called Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet, made with the fruit from younger vines. First produced in 1982, it provided a lighter and earlier drinking alternative to the Grand Vin. Today, however, the second wine has been discontinued with all estate-grown fruit dedicated to the Grand Vin.