Lively and fine. Juicy. There is real life to this. Lift and grace. Not grand perhaps, but a lovely 'fond' and should be a good drink within five years. Blackcurrant fruit trails the finish, which has a nice line. Rating: 91 L&S (Apr 2013)
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The nose is succulent and fleshy with ripe black plum and cassis. The palate starts with the same depth of flavour lots of prunes and black cherry enriched by rounded tannins. The finish is fresher still black fruited with an attractive black pepper spiciness. 2018-30 Rating: 89-92 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Dec 2013)
This was tasted from a new oak sample although the finished blend will have one-third new oak. A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the Reserve de la Comtesse has a fleshy ripe, relatively forward bouquet with floral scents emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy ripe black tarry fruit. It is very approachable with a silky smooth texture, although it needs more backbone and tension towards the finish. Rating: 88-90 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2013)
Half of the production went into the second wine, the 2012 Reserve de la Comtesse (64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot). It is a medium-bodied, pleasant, creamy, seductive effort. While it does not possess a great deal of depth, it reveals a dark ruby color, attractive smoky, black currant and plum-like notes and light tannin. 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 Rating: 86-88 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (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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