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CHÂTEAU PICHON LALANDE

2012 2ème Cru Classé Pauillac

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Pauillac
Classification 2ème Cru Classé
ABV 13%

New director here - Nicolas Glumineau who was at Montrose. He was interesting about how the direction at Pichon is different to many Pauillacs. "Many properties are looking for more and more Cabernet, but for us there are great 'feminine' Merlots, which are an important part of Pichon Lalande. We have great terroirs for great Merlot." And yes, it is true that they do have Merlot planted on some very good terroirs, while many properties have relegated Merlot to the secondary, cooler, or later-ripening plots, as Merlot normally ripens earlier. Initially quiet nose, then spice, attack intense, there's a real core here, saline with fine tannins, nearly dries but the salinity gives appetising freshness. Tight and quite lean, pencil notes, the fruit more savoury than it is fruity. Sweet with blackcurrant tart notes even though the fruit is closed. It has the shape of a classic Pichon Comtesse of the eighties - a welcome return - supple and elegant but with underlying power. Rating: 93+ L&S (Apr 2013)

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There is a lot of concentrated black cherry on the nose and depth on the palate lots of brooding black fruits. Liquorice and dark chocolate add to the mid richness but towards the back there are some fresher flavours with some spicy pepper on the finish. 2020-35 Rating: 92-94 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk(Dec 2013)

Coming in at a lofty 13.2% natural alcohol, it offers up scents of black currants, white chocolate, berries, cedar and forest floor. Sweet tannin, a round opulence and medium body result in a classic, supple-textured Pauillac that should drink well young and keep for 12-15 years. It is very much in keeping with what most readers would consider the “house style” of Pichon Lalande, despite the fact that they are moving toward more Cabernet Sauvignon and less Petit Verdot in the final blend. Fifty percent of the crop made it into the final blend of 2012 Pichon Lalande, which includes more and more Cabernet Sauvignon under the new ownership of the Roederer Champagne firm. The 2012 is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. 2013 - 2028 Rating: 91-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Apr 2013)

Round, relaxed and easy though without massive concentration. Gentle and not the most ambitious, but fresh and lively and good punch. Attractive finish. Hums along… Very dry on the finish. 2020 - 2030. Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2013)

Newly appointed from Château Montrose, Nicolas Glumineau said the team at Pichon took particular care to avoid over-extraction in 2012. The higher percentage of Merlot certainly helped, as this is a polished, assured performance from the Louis Roederer-owned property, with a combination of concentration and freshness on the palate and the backbone to age. Drink: 2020-35 Rating: 94 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Apr 2013)

Slightly meaty and slighty spicy ripe fruit, with Merlot to the fore, good middle sweetness and a succulence that will impress over time. Drink: 2016 - 2032 Rating: 17.75 Steven Spurrier(Apr 2013)

Rating: 18 Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com(Apr 2013)

Juicy and forward in feel, with a core of red currant and cherry paste, backed by notes of savory, plum skin and roasted vanilla bean that steadily emerge through the finish. Gains weight with aeration, displaying a more rounded feel than most of this vintage's Pauillacs. Rating: 89-92 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2013)

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

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 son Raoul inherited the title of Baron de Longueville and the vineyards of Château Pichon Longueville Baron de Longueville, whilst his daughters inherited the portion that became Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The only daughter to produce off-spring was Marie-Laure who had married Comte Henri de Lalande in 1818 and it was her descendents, therefore, who shaped the future of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (or Pichon Comtesse as it is often more conveniently known). 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. Pichon Comtesse is now owned by the Rouzard family, owners of the Champagne house of Louis Roederer. Under the ownership of May de Lencquesaing in the final quarter of the 20th Century, the vineyard area of Pichon Comtesse grew from around 40ha to today's 75ha. The vines are 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel, with the wine spending 18 months in wood (50% new). Pichon Comtesse produce one of the most highly regarded second wines - Réserve de la Comtesse - which rivals many other estate's grand vins. The healthy reputation that Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande enjoys puts it clearly in the mould of a "super second" - those 2nd Growth estates who's wines merit comparison with the Premier Grand Cru Classés. Pichon Comtesse has had the better of comparisons with its sibling Pichon Baron whose fortunes waned during the 20th Century even if, today, they are on a more equal footing. It is inevitable that the two Pichons will be compared with one another, with Comtesse being a more subtle seductive wine than its slightly foresquare namesake.

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