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So why is the 2012 Ladera Cabernet—made from almost entirely from Howell Mountain fruit, from an incredible vintage—sitting pretty at $34.99? I honestly can't tell you. Maybe it's because no one knows how good the Ladera holdings in Howell Mountain are. Or maybe it's the pride that winemaker Jade Barrett takes in making a serious wine for a reasonable price. Or maybe it's because Ladera is an overlooked gem in a sea of Napa alternatives. For whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain. We tasted the 2012 vintage at our staff training yesterday and I was just floored by the quality of this wine. Dark, fleshy fruit cloaked in fine tannins, bits of earth, and in total balance, with enough gusto to go the long haul in your cellar. It's a whole lotta wine for $34.99, and it's made primarily from Howell Mountain grapes, harvested during a great vintage. 

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Entries in Alfred Tesseron (1)

Wednesday
Jun092010

Winemaker Interview: Alfred Tesseron

 

Name: Alfred Tesseron

Winery: Ch. Pontet Canet

Number of years in business: More than 35 years

Describe your winemaking philosophy? 

As pure as possible in the wine process. Vinification has just to express the potential of the grapes, without the help of any technology or technique. Winemaking became secondary regarding terroir and growing.

How do you think your palate has evolved over the years? How do you think that’s influenced your wines?

I like wines that are more sincere in the expression of their terroir. So, I like lower oak taste than 10 years ago. I think that many amateurs had the same evolution.

Is there a style of wine that you think appeals to critics that might not represent your favorite style? How do you deal with it?

There are too many great wines to focus only on those I don't like!

What changes are planned for coming vintages? Any new (top secret) varietals, blends or propriety wines on the horizon?

I don't know what will be the next Pontet-Canet vintages. We do not totally decide it. We just try to serve the terroir and the vines growing on it. They will decide and we will try to express what they want to say with the utmost sincerity.

Do you collect wine? If so, what’s in your cellar?

I have too many wines in my cellar and these wines are made to be tried not too old. I enjoy very much using the corkscrew to be aware of what is happening throughout the world.

What do you see as some of the biggest challenges facing the wine industry today?

The term "wine industry" is not totally correct. There is a wine industry that means that some wines are produced on industrial basis for customers with low tasting-culture.

We don't belong to this world. Apart the "wine industry" there is a "wine sphere" containing the great wines; among them, Pontet-Canet.

The wine industry will have to move and evolve to adapt to know customers and high competition; a business close from classical industry (cars, socks, clothes…)

Great wines will have to preserve their terroir for next generations and keep on producing wine that expresses any subtlety provided by this terroir. It is an other challenge.