96-97/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Deep colour. Intense plush toasted chestnut/ plum/ cherry aromas. Lovely aromatics. Lovely plush ripe dark berry fruit/ blueberry fruit, rich plentiful chalky tannins, superb fruit sweetness and energy. Fresh walnutty nites. Surely one of the top wines of the vintage.
93-95/100 Robert parket Jr. Once again proprietor Alfred Tesseron has produced a wine of first-growth potential. One of the superstars of the vintage, Pontet-Canet’s 2011 exhibits an opaque purple color and a glorious bouquet of incense, subtle toast and copious quantities of creme de cassis. There is a floral underpinning, decent acidity and ripe tannin to this full-bodied effort. Big, rich, round and generously endowed, it should drink well for 20-25+ years.
18/20 Steven Spurrier, Decanter. Wild violets and black fruit nose, both exuberant and classic. It is a wonderfully elegant Pauillac with superb vineyard expression. Drink 2016-2035.
17/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson. Soft inky crimson. Unusual woody sort of nose. Gentle, rounded, complex already – there's a savoury freshness without specific fruit flavours that you can pick out, though the wine is rounded out by its fruit. As it opens, there's a bramble fruit character. Smoky bacon, not unlike northern Rhône Syrah (!), quite ripe, really does have a sort of Rhône note. A lot of spice, black pepper, particularly on the palate, a tension and energy from the freshness but not juicy fruit. Refined tannins that are also spiced and deep but smoothed. Very long. Not clear cut, not precise but lots of pleasure. A sort of homely character.
90-93/100 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator. A big, broad-shouldered style, with lots of bittersweet cocoa and coffee up front, followed by thick-textured blackberry and black currant fruit. Shows a bit more brute force than purity right now, though hard to deny the concentration and depth. Could move up if it stretches out and gains some finesse.
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavours of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.