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RÉSERVE DE LA COMTESSE

2014 Pauillac

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
District Left Bank
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Pauillac

There was an incredibly long harvest at Pichon Lalande - starting on the 16th of September they hung up the secateurs pm the 20th of October. This allowed for each plot to be brought in at the optimum moment. Such a luxurious spell for the pickers has given a fairly impressive wine - full of intense fruit and lovely balance from the ripe, rounded tannins. The lovely weight of fruit at the core of this elegant wine is restarained and charming. THere is a gentle sense of power and push - which continues to the long fisnish. Rating: 92 L&S (Apr 2015)


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Very dark crimson. Light, correct, classic nose. Rather loose but lots of ripe fruit even if there is not that much tannin. The Merlot comes through. Very easy to like in the short term. Drinking range: 2021 - 2029 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com (Feb 2018)

The Réserve de la Comtesse 2014 is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot that comes from a selection made in the winery through blind tastings, including 6% vin de presse. It has a tightly-wound, graphite-scented bouquet that would actually suggest a higher proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon then there actually is. The palate is medium-bodied with edgy, chalky tannin on the entry with plenty of dark berry fruit. There is an insistent grip on the finish that does not offer enormous persistence, but you have the sense of coiled-up energy and so it may gain more depth and breadth throughout its élevage. The black pepper note on the aftertaste is an added bonus. Drinking range: 2019 - 2035 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2015)

The 2014 Reserve de La Comtesse is quite soft and lush in this vintage, in part because of the large presence of Merlot. Dark red cherry, plum, new leather, spices and cloves are super-expressive. Dried flowers, smoke, pencil shavings and dark spices reappear on the open-knit, resonant finish. With time in the glass, the Reserve finds more gracious dimensions of expression, with redder tonalities of fruit intermingled with spice that come forward. I imagine the 2014 will drink well pretty much upon release, as it is already quite open. The blend is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon and 41% Merlot. Rating: 90-92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Apr 2015)

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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