79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21 % Merlot, 80% new oak barrels, 20% one year old barrels. The estate decided to remove leaves on the east facing side of the rows, which they say particularly benefited the cooler later ripening plots. Plots were harvested and vinified individually. The results are impressive. The bouquet is polished, modern and complex. One of the features of recent Barons is the sumptuous fruit extract, sexy texture, density and plump approachable style. Customers who favour reserve and classicism should follow the other Pichon. This is stylistically flash, creamy, extravagant, opulent and luxurious; another big effort, which possesses velvety tannins, huge concentration and finishes with notes of earth, dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans over the seductive tannins.
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. AXA Millésimes, the current owner has overseen the resurgence of this venerable estate. After some lacklustre wines in the 70s and 80s, AXA bought the property in 1987 and enlisted the help of Jean-Michel Cazes have rebuilt the Chateau’s reputation. Jean-Michel stepped down in 2000 and Englishman, Christian Seely has taken the reigns and continues to push the quality level still higher.
Of the 73 hectares of vines, 65% are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% with Merlot. Jean-Rene Matrigon chooses to vinify plot by plot using small fermentation vats and wines are typically aged in 80% new oak barrels. Stylistically, Baron appears to be less classical and more opulent than neighbour Pichon Lalande, however, in bottle the wines adopt a more orthodox Pauillac character. In recent years, Baron has excelled at Southwold tastings and from barrel tastings, with critics and merchants alike heaping praise on the wines – this is an estate at the very top of their game.
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.