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CHÂTEAU PICHON LALANDE

2016 2ème Cru Classé Pauillac

Grapes Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
District Left Bank
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Pauillac
Classification 2ème Cru Classé

75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc. At the château this was tight and rather narow, even if long - lacking the signature graceful envelope that has been the signature of Comtesse. Tasted later at the Union des Grands Crus, it has found its mojo: Deep colour, fine fresh curranty nose with a bit iof blackberry leaf. Silky and fine - a lot if what we did not get in the earlier tasting - a fine deep long linear Cabernet of great purity and elegance. Still quite serious but give it time. Very concentratedly intense, long and pure. Drinking range: 2028 - 2045 Rating: 93-95 L&S (Apr 2017)


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The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is very expressive on the nose, displaying more red fruit than the 2016 Lynch-Bages, but retaining classic Pauillac style thanks to tobacco and cedar scents that manifest with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine bead of acidity. Very harmonious, leading to a pure and very detailed, almost pixelated finish that is utterly seductive. I would guess this is Pichon-Lalande [Post-edit: Bingo!] Superb. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2023 - 2050 Rating: 97 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)

Coming from the genius winemaking talent of Nicolas Glumineau, the 2016 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande matches the 1982 and is a perfect, legendary wine in the making. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new oak, it's not the most powerful Left Bank but offers perfect balance and thrilling intensity as well as heavenly aromatics of crème de cassis, leafy herbs, jammy blackberries, tobacco leaf, and freshly sharpened lead pencils as well as more violets and minerality with time in the glass. Possessing a deep, full-bodied, singular character, the purity of fruit that's the hallmark of the vintage, building tannins, and a sense of class and elegance that's hard to describe, it's a 50-year-wine. While this cuvée has included a fair chunk of Merlot in the past that gave it more upfront appeal, it's important for readers to know it's much more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated today, and while it is slightly more approachable than some of its neighbors, it shuts down rather quickly with time in the glass. (I followed this wine for multiple days.) I suspect a solid decade of cellaring is warranted. Drinking range: 2027 - 2077Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)

The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc (compare that to the 2010 that had 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, for example--that should give you some pointers). The alcohol level is 13.32% and a pH of 3.76. I tasted from a new oak barrel and the final blend will include around 60% new wood and 40% one year old, which is something I took into account. It has a very succinct bouquet, one that is almost understated at first, gradually unfolding with blackberry, cedar and graphite scents, in the vein of say the 1986 or 1996 Pichon Lalande of the past. The palate is very well balanced and what I appreciate here is that it is still as much identifiable as Pichon Lalande as it is a Pauillac and a 2016. There is that touch of roundness imparted by the Merlot, even though the Cabernet dominates the blend, surely the terroir sculpting the wine. It gently builds in intensity, maintaining freshness, a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish and a very long aftertaste. This is probably just a notch up on the outstanding 2015 Pichon-Lalande, a Rolls Royce with a purring engine. Drinking range: 2025 - 2060 Rating: 96-98 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)

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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