Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, 2014

  Château Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande

As we've already said, there aren't many second wines to get excited about in 2014, however, add this one to your list. Often a little bit on the scrawny side, the 2014 Reserve de la Comtesse is athletic, lithe and has perfect form. Tight, linear with beautifully crisp and precise wild cassis and floral notes garlanded with herbs and small hedgerow fruit. This is very refined and elegant with just enough extraction to give this finely chiselled detail and structure without bringing anything coarse or vulgar. A very stylish second wine

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 domanates 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

A classic partnership. The stock left bank Bordeaux blend also used to good affect in the New World. Cabernet's, acidic, tannic complex qualities marry ideally with Merlot's sweet, softy flesh characteristics.