Written in conjunction with Yohan Castaing.
The marathon-week of the Bordeaux 2013 en primeur circus begins only next week (and Richard Hemming will be there, tasting like crazy on your behalf for JancisRobinson.com) yet Château Pontet-Canet in Pauillac has just released its price for the 2013 vintage. The price of €60 a bottle from Bordeaux négociants is the same as the 2012 price (we originally misreported a 20% decrease) but the quantity is tiny.
Owner Alfred Tesseron (pictured) reports effective yields of not much more than 15 hl/ha. Tesseron continues to swim against the Bordeaux tide. He adopted biodynamic viticulture with horses and all some years ago and installed specially designed amphora-like fermentation vessels recently, incorporating elements from his vineyard soils into the clay. It is widely agreed that the quality of Pontet-Canet's wines has never been higher. You can read Chris Kissack's account of winemaker Jean-Michel Comme's thoughts on Pontet-Canet 2013 here.
This early release shows the uncertainty swirling around the all-important place de Bordeaux with the 2013 vintage. With very low quantities and only medium quality, some international markets are expecting even lower prices, while the owners, as ever, are unwilling to drop the prices of their wines, arguing that particularly high production costs (see the penultimate paragraph of L'Extravagante indeed) were needed to achieve good quality.
Negotiations during the week ahead are expected to be very tense.