Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, 2ème Cru Classé, Pauillac, 2018

  Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande

Nicolas Glumineau is a modest man not prone to hyperbole, so when he says 2018 is a vintage that will 'traverse time and remain a true point of reference', we sit up and take note. Produced from 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Pichon Comtesse is a masterful wine, like a piece of classical music, with many parts of the orchestra combining in perfect harmony. Nicolas has kept the femininity and pure Pichon 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 amplitude on the 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. This is more introspective than other recent vintages; after some coaxing classic aromas of violets, griotte, spice, bramble and fine gravelly minerals emerge. This has such impressive purity on the palate; waves of refined fruit coat the mouth - there is a seamless texture - velour fruit caresses the palate. Pure crème de cassis and mulberry are interspersed with notes of coal, cocoa nibs and cranberry. We love the style. This is broad and deeply concentrated, yet there is nothing gawkish. It is composed, refined, elegant, perfectly proportioned. As one would expect from one of Nicolas' wines, the tannins are pitch perfect. They frame the sumptuous palate with salted small berries and delicate mineral notes. It has real tannic finesse, effortless, graceful, deeply nuanced; this is a joy to taste. A really aristocratic Comtesse.

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.