The Perfect Score

The following two wines received the perfect score of 100 points by The Wine Advocate and are both currently available at very select stores at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits locations: Château Pape Clément 2010, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, priced at $269.99 and Château Pontet-Canet 2010, Pauillac, Bordeaux, priced at $199.99. Quantities of these exceptional wines are extremely limited.

Château Pape Clément, located in Pessac, near Bordeaux, owes its name to its most famous owner—Pope Clement V. In the 1980s, Bernard Magrez, an entrepreneur passionate about wine, took over the ownership and since then has deployed every means possible to ensure that Château Pape Clément's exceptional terroir continues to flourish. Since 2004 Bernard Magrez has acquired 40 wine estates in France and around the world, of which Château Pape Clément is the crown jewel.

Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, in April.

Horses plowing at Chateau Pontet-Canet, Pauillac, in April.

At Pontet-Canet, proprietor Alfred Tesseron is embracing the sustainable and organic approach to viticulture; few years back, horses were re-introduced with the aim to cultivate the vines and avoid compacting the soil in order for the vine roots to function better. The horses, Reine, Sans Soucis, Surprise, Turbo, Ulysse, Univers and Vigor, are now part of the Pontet-Canet team. Thirty-two hectares are entirely cultivated by horses without any intervention from a tractor.

Here are the tasting notes from Robert M. Parker, Jr. posted in the February 2013 edition of The Wine Advocate (#205):

Château Pape Clément 2010, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Ch Pape ClementI certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a “plus” there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle. Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium- to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years. Kudos to proprietor Bernard Magrez, who has built an empire based on high quality more than any other characteristic. 

Château Pontet-Canet 2010, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Ch Pontet CanetAn absolutely amazing wine from grapes harvested between the end of September and October 17, this blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot has close to 15% natural alcohol. It comes from one of the few biodynamic vineyards in Bordeaux, but you are likely to see many more, given the success that Tesseron seems to be having at all levels, both in his vineyards and in his fermentation/winemaking. An astounding, compelling wine with the classic Pauillac nose more often associated with its cross-street neighbor, Mouton-Rothschild, creme de cassis, there are also some violets and other assorted floral notes. The wine has off-the-charts massiveness and intensity but never comes across as heavy, overbearing or astringent. The freshness, laser-like precision, and full-bodied, massive richness and extract are simply remarkable to behold and experience. It is very easy to become jaded tasting such great wines from a great vintage, but it is really a privilege to taste something as amazing as this. Unfortunately, it needs a good decade of cellaring, and that’s assuming it doesn’t close down over the next few years. This is a 50- to 75-year wine from one of the half-dozen or so most compulsive and obsessive proprietors in all of Bordeaux. Is there anything that proprietor Alfred Tesseron is not doing right? Talk about an estate that is on top of its game! Pontet-Canet’s 2010 is a more structured, tannic and restrained version of their most recent perfect wine, the 2009. Kudos to Pontet-Canet!

Atanas Nechkov, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor

Follow me on Twitter @abcwineatanas

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