Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, 2ème Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2017

  Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande

Produced from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. We were fortunate enough to taste some of the components back in January. It was clear then that the quality was exceptional, but tasting the final assemblage more than confirmed our preconceptions. Nicolas Glumineau has set the bar very high, so we have a certain level of expectation, but year after year it is met and exceeded. Nicolas' handling of this terroir is masterful. He has kept the feminine, pure Pauillac character with its haunting aromas and refined fruit and enhanced it, but has also extracted a little more flesh and roundness giving this a more satisfying mid palate that only previously came from the exceptional vintages such as 1982. He has also achieved a level of precision that is hard to find anywhere else in Bordeaux. The flavours are so well delineated and clear. It opens with a grand overture of meadow flowers, briar fruit, loganberries, graphite and salts. It has such impressive purity on the palate; waves of delectable fruits wash over the mouth seamlessly revealing new nuances. Pure crème de cassis and mulberry are interspersed with notes of coal, cocoa nibs and starry fruits; this is perhaps a little more savoury and sultry than the previous three vintages, but although it is serious and grown up, it feels quite relaxed and at ease. There is superb texture from the authoritative tannins that add extra complexity and grip. This is such a complete wine that flows gracefully from start to its very long noble finish. One of the finest wines we tasted this year!

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande

The two Pichon Chateaux stand guard at the entrance to Pauillac from St Julien. These two formidable structures on opposite sides of the D2 are two of the most iconic building of the Medoc and two of the most iconic wines. Until recently, Madame de Lencquesaing along with her nephew, Gildas d’Ollone ran this estate with great success. The estate’s vineyards, bordering those of Chateau Latour at the south of the commune have produced many outstanding wines; this is classic Pauillac terroir ideally suited to producing great Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2007, Madame de Lencquesaing sold to Monsieur Rouzaud of the Champagne House, Louis Roederer. The appointment of Nicolas Glumineau, formally of another high flying second growth, Chateau Montrose has really transformed the fortunes of this superb estate. Nicolas has a Midas touch – he has managed to retain all the feminine charms of the Comtesse vineyard, but has added a polish and poise to the wines that is very impressive. It is now consistently amongst our favourite wines of the primeur tastings and one of the most sought after brands of Bordeaux.

There are currently 89 hectares under vine, 11 of which are actually in St Julien! The dominant varietal is unsurprisingly Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), but there is a slightly unusual 35% of Merlot planted in this region where Cabernet is king. This is a legacy of the previous owners, the Miailhe brothers. Replanting programs are addressing this balance and over time we will see more Cabernet in both wines.

Appellation: Pauillac

The Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot | Cab. Franc | Petit Verdot

The full complement of permitted Bordeaux varieties (excluding the rarely used Carmenere & Malbec) and the classic left bank Bordeaux blend. The Cabernets and Merlots usually dominate the blend with small percentages of Petit Verdot blended in for colour, structure and complexity. Several producers outside of Bordeaux have tried to emulate this with a Bordeaux style blend of their own, a particularly successful example being Cain Cellars in the Napa Valley and their splendid Cain Five.