Jean-Michel Comme will leave his position as technical director at Pontet-Canet, after spending 31 years at the Pauillac fifth growth estate.
He has worked with the estate owner, the Tesseron family, to make the Château a standard-bearer for biodynamic wine in Bordeaux.
Justine Tesseron, who co-owns Pontet-Canet alongside her father, Alfred, told Decanter.com, ‘After more than 30 years, Jean-Michel decided to resign from his technical director position for personal reasons.
‘During those years, he did an amazing job and helped the quality of the wine to get better and better. We wish him the very best in his new ventures.’
Comme could not be immediately reached for comment. Local newspaper Sud-Ouest quoted the 56-year-old as saying that, after three decades, he sought a release from the ‘pressure’ of the role and planned to move to his personal vineyard property with his wife.
‘Large shoes to fill’
Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent, Jane Anson, said of the news, ‘Jean-Michel Comme’s 31-year contribution to Pontet-Canet is right up there with the late Paul Pontallier’s contribution to Margaux.
‘His conviction for biodynamic farming set Pontet apart from the rest at a time when it was considered impossible for such a large Pauillac château to farm in this way, and anyone who spent any time with him could tell it came from a place of genuine belief and passion.
‘The subsequent wines have rightly been recognised for their brilliance, and it will be fascinating to see who takes up the post at Pontet, as these are large shoes to fill.’
Justine Tesseron added that a new generation was in place at the estate, with Mathieu Bessonnet now in charge of technical aspects of the winemaking. ‘The beautiful terroir of Pontet-Canet will continue to make top biodynamic wines,’ she said.
Updated at 17:45 UK time on 12th May 2020, to include extra comments from Justine Tesseron.