Château Grand Pontet
2012 'Dauphin' Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
France: Bordeaux: St.-Émilion
The phone was ringing off the hook. It was Our Man in Libourne. He obviously had a wine emergency to report as routine calls from the field are scarce and Agents ring once, maybe twice before hanging up.
We answered… “Good afternoon, the pharmacy here.” A long silence before a breathless reply: “it’s, it’s happening… the governor said it can be done!” “Okay OMIL, we’re sending in support, stand by.”
Later we learned that Our Man in Libourne, the party animal he is, met consulting winemaker Jean Philippe Fort - Michel Rolland’s right-hand - and he knew someone, who knew of someone, who had access to the library. It took many drones and a team to extract the goods, but here they are…
A small lot of top-shelf, rare, perfect provenance, well-cellared right bank Grand Cru goodness.
This property with an illustrated history back to 1415(!) has been on a steady rise since it changed hands over to the Bécot family, renowned for their ‘vin de garage’ La Gomerie and Château Beau-Séjour Bécot. The latter also happens to be a stone’s throw away from Grand-Pontet, along with other highly sought-after names like Château Canon, Angélus, and Clos Fourtet. Not too shabby a neighborhood, eh?
That truth is in the bottle. A striking medium ruby with the mildest bricking on the thin circumference. The bouquet is still youthful, with notes of blackberry, plum, and a touch of cranberry pie. The palate is equally energetic, with silky tannins that seem to have just resolved through a complex symphony of spice, cocoa powder, and dried summer herbs. Just a kiss of earth and more cherries accentuate a vivid finale with over a minute of that classy Bordeaux feel lingering. Ideally, swerve this alongside a summer grill spread with your favorite cuts and veggies, or a decadently creamy spinach or potato dish.
Vintages matter in Bordeaux, and 2012 was a truly remarkable year, somehow overshadowed by other great years within proximity. Robert Parker praises “surprisingly big, rich, concentrated Pomerols, Pessacs and St.-Émilion that are low in acidity, high in alcohol and loaded with flavor… Because of their low acidity and opulence, the best 2012s possess an up-front and forward appeal. These wines will be drinkable early on, yet the best of them will age for several decades… There are a lot of cherries to be plucked from this vintage. Clearly, the quality is present. Happy hunting!”
The best part? We do that hunting for you, our dear Operatives. Collector-grade vintage Bordeaux with about a decade of age under $30? Unheard of, while it lasts.
91 Points – James Suckling
“A refined and elegant red with fine tannins, milk chocolate and berry character. A medium-to-full-bodied, silky and very pretty wine. Needs two to three years to soften. Better in 2017.”
Striking medium ruby with the mildest bricking on the thin circumference
The bouquet is still youthful, with notes of blackberry, plum, and a touch of cranberry pie
Energetic, with silky tannins, a complex symphony of spice, cocoa powder, and dried summer herbs
Just a kiss of earth and more cherries accentuate a vivid finale lingering over a minute
A summer grill with your favorite cuts and veggies, or a decadently creamy spinach or potato dish
What the Winery Says
- Consulting winemaker
- Jean Philippe Fort
- 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc
- St.-Émilion Grand Cru AOC, Libourne
- Vineyard size
- 14 hectares
- Limestone & clay
- Average vine age
- 40 years
- Harvest date
- September 10, 2012
- 18 months
- 70% new French oak