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The Investment has paid off - Pontet-Labrie Update 2018
Pontet Labrie has been a fascinating journey. From our initial discussions with Jonathan around bringing to market exclusively his last single vineyard site on the plateau of Saint Emilion; to forming a club around the wine in order to enhance the traditional allocation model around such a boutique Bordeaux (remember only 300 cases max per annum!); to the wonderful reception of its maiden vintage and the continuing momentum and growth of the club.
Just this week Nathan and Tom caught up with winemaker Jonathan Maltus to discuss the cracking 2018 vintage and the 2015 upward rescore of 96 points from Jeb Dunnuck (see review below). From our initial discussions with Jonathan around bringing to market exclusively his last single vineyard site we formed Club Ponte Labrie around the wine to enhance the traditional allocation model.
Production, beginning with the 5-star 2015 vintage, has gone from strength to strength with impressive reviews, especially for a brand new wine. The 2015 and 2016 vintages are now in the UK and available for delivery, with the latter vintage looking very promising indeed - Jonathan firmly believes it will be an EVEN better wine than 2015! Meanwhile the 2017 vintage is now in maturing nicely in barrel and the 2018, a vintage which threatens to eclipse all others in quality, is now undergoing its first fermentation.
View all Chateau Pontet Labrie wines here. If you are intrested in joining Club Pontet Labrie, or would like more information please email us firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pontet-Labrie 2018 vintage from Honest Grapes on Vimeo.
Rescoring the 2015 vintage
It’s very unusual for a new wine to attract such good reviews from top critics as afforded to Pontet-Labrie in its maiden vintage. We’ve been eagerly tasting wine from initial barrel samples, through to bottling last June and some of you joined Jonathan and us for our celebration of the initial release. We’ve seen the wine transforming from its early, pretty state into a wine of great stature and future promise. Just this week Jeb Dunnuck has given an upward rescore of 96 points:
"Hold onto your hats with this 2015 Château Pontet Labrie as it's an incredible Saint Emilion that does everything right! Based on 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc that was brought up in plenty of new oak, this rocking wine offers up a huge nose of sweet cassis, blueberries, graphite and flowers, whith just a touch of chocolatey oak showing in the background. Deep, full-bodied, incredibly sexy yet also incredibly elegant, it opens up beautifully with time in the glass and has a purity of fruit that makes it almost irresisible today. Nevertheless, it's going to keep for two decades or more in cool cellars. Hat's off to Jonathan Maltus for this awesome first release." Maturity 2018-2038.
96/100 Jeb Dunnuck (Oct-2018)
The Investment Case - 2015/2016/2017
Our reasons for selecting this new wine were not all about investment return, but now that all three initial vintages have been released and received initial critics’ reviews, it’s clear that Pontet-Labrie is not just a gorgeous wine, but also a sensible addition to a cellar collection.
The following tables show comparison with other well-known Saint-Émilion producers:
Right Bank 2015 releases
Average Points: most recent scores from 5 top reviewers (Antonio Galloni, Neal Martin, Lisa Perotti-Brown, James Suckling, Roger Voss)
Power Index: the higher the index, the better the value (it’s an index of the price you have to pay per point scored)
Whether you’re a fan of points or not, the above table shows clearly that the minute ‘garagiste’ production of Pontet-Labrie, alongside its great reviews and pleasurable style, make it an exciting addition to any serious Right Bank Bordeaux collection. The other great established names are also seriously collectable but offer lesser immediate value at at least double the price per case.
Kosher Pontet-Labrie 2017
Our first vintage of the Kosher Pontet-Labrie parcel is maturation nicely in barrel, and the 2018 was an excellent harvest. The tasting results are as excellent as for the unsupervised version. There are a few cases available of the 2017, 2018 and 2019 so please let us know if you’d like some.
Jonathan Maltus "At Home" and chateau visits
As part of your membership we look forward to offering annual opportunities to meet and taste with Jonathan (to date tastings at The Ritz and Maison Assouline in London), and preferential access to other events with our luxury partners. We have tours to Bordeaux planned on completion of the winery BUT in the interim should you wish to visit Chateau Teyssier or meet with Jonathan when he is out in California, working on his World's End wines, please do let us know and we will gladly help facilitate your trip. We are also looking to organise some more intimate evening tastings at Jonathan's Chelsea home for members and your guests who are potential members.
The 2018 vintage report
The 2018 Pontet-Labrie has now been harvested in what was a quite unforgettable vinatge. The 2018 growing season, apart from a late cold spell mid to late January, was temperate and wet. This was the case until the beginning of July, when a long warm dry summer followed all the way through to mid-October. The impact of the clement Spring conditions was two vicious attacks of Mildew, which resulted in loss of fruit, and necessitated rigorous sorting. Mildew can attack either the leaves, the berries, or both, but its impact can be considerably softened by careful work.
The Pontet-Labrie Merlot was picked on the 3rd October; the Cabernet Franc on the 12th October. Again superbly ripe, great flavour, nice acidity and a potential alcohol of 14.1%. Early impressions for this vintage are of a deeply coloured rich wine with big juicy tannins and a full body, excellent ripeness and full of flavour.
Published on: October 25, 2018