Sylvie Cazes is continuing a fine tradition at Pichon Lalande. This fine vineyard, situated next to Chateau Latour produces outstanding, linear, Pauillacs which age gracefully and speak of finesse and hidden power. Whilst Baron continues to produce big, impressive wines, Lalande focus on classicism and elegance. Fashioned from 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet France, 8% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, the 2011 Pichon Lalande displays a characteristic bouquet of cut flowers, cassis and Asian spice. There is great depth and concentration here; masculine, muscled, this handsome Pauillac is tremendously suave and understated. Cool cassis flavours build and build, so much so that one barely detects the wonderfully fine tannic structure. A very moreish Lalande that promises a great deal for those with patience – excellent.
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 up to Monsieur Rouzaud of the Champagne House, Louis Roederer. Gildas remained to ensure a steady transition until he retired and Sylvie Cazes, formally of Lynch Bages became the Chateau’s Director. Sylvie is also the president of the Union des Grands Crus
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. Typically, the Grand Vin utilizes a much higher percentage of Cabernet than the plantings would suggest. Despite the changes in personnel, the estate has continued to produce excellent wines and remains one of the pre-eminent ‘Super Seconds’.
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.