Château Pichon Longueville Baron
Pauillac Deuxième cru 1855 Facing Château Latour across the road, at the southern end of Pauillac, are the twin Château Pichons. Originally one estate, the two were divided in 1850 on the death of Joseph Pichon. His daughters inherited the portion that became Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, whilst his son Raoul inherited the title of Baron de Longueville and the vineyards of Château Pichon Longueville Baron de Longueville (usually more conveniently referred to as Pichon Baron). The two estates continued to be run as a single vineyard for another ten years, allowing them jointly to be awarded 2nd Growth status in 1855. Raoul built the present château in 1851 on his half of Pichon. At Raoul's death in 1860, the split was formalised and the two Pichons went their relatively seperate ways. By the time AXA Millésimes bought Pichon Baron in 1987, it had fallen a long way behind its sibling neighbour and was in dire need of investment. Investment has been forthcoming from AXA, and expertise from the involvement of Jean-Michel Cazes (of Château Lynch Bages) and, once again, the two Pichons can be seen on a par with one another. There are 73ha of vineyard at Pichon Baron, planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Since the installation of the new chais, grapes are fermented in temperature-controlled stainless-steel before spending 18 months in oak (70% new, 30% one year old). The AXA take-over also saw the introduction of a second wine - Les Tourelles de Longueville - in order to tighten up the selection for the grand vin. Inevitably, there is the temptation to compare the two Pichons. With a slightly higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the cuvée, the Baron is a little more structured and masculine, dare one say offering a little of the feel of its illustrious neighbour Château Latour.