53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot. Attractive red (raspberry) and black (plum) fruit on the nose and the sweet entry. Very, very Pichon in its plush supple superfine texture. Simply delicious. Just enough drying serious tannin on the finish to hold the interest and the length. Rating: 91-92 L&S (Apr 2016)
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The 2015 Réserve de la Comtesse has a fresh, delineated bouquet of cedar-infused red fruit; undergrowth and humidor notes surface with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannin, and fresh and balanced though not overly complex. It just needs to manifest more nuance and personality on the finish to merit a higher score. This tasted better 12 months ago. Tasted blind at the Southwold 2015 Bordeaux tasting. Rating: 88 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Jul 2019)
This is an impressive second wine. It shows a lot of vibrant red berries, blackberries and darker plum fruits. The palate is impressive for the vibrant and lively acidity cast amid sturdy but supple tannins. Second wine from Pichon-Lalande. Drinking range: 2021 - Rating: 93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
The 2015 Réserve de la Comtesse is a superb second wine. Time in barrel and egg white fining have softened some of the tannins the 2015 showed as a barrel sample, but the fruit intensity, pedigree and class of the estate are all in the glass. Black cherry graphite, smoke and licorice are some of the many notes that infuse this potent, almost shockingly virile Comtesse. Quite simply, in 2015 Comtesse is equal to, or greater than, many Grand Vins. Don't miss it. The 2015 spent 12 months in oak, 25% new. Drinking range: 2022 - 2035 Rating: 92 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Feb 2018)
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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