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News

PICHON COMTESSE UNVEILS NEW LABELS

The new look was revealed last week during Vinexpo and is meant to both coincide with the tenth anniversary of renovation work at the winery and an official recognition of the property’s sobriquet, ‘Pichon Comtesse’.

Charles Fournier, commercial and marketing director at the estate, explained that the new labels are, “purer and have a more modern feel”.

They also look similar, pointing to a clearer link between the two wines. The bottle shape has been very slightly changed, to be a little more conical.

Formerly known as ‘Reserve de la Comtesse’ and featuring a small portrait of Virginie de Pichon Longueville, the estate’s second wine will henceforth be known as ‘Pichon Comtesse Réserve’.

The changes will be in place from the 2017

Pichon Lalande 2015 has been released at €96 per bottle ex-negociant, up 48.1% on the 2014 release price of €64.8. It is being offered by the international trade at £995 per 12×75. This is a 59.2% increase on the 2014 (£625).

The wine has received a set of strong reviews from critics. Neal Martin (95-97) called it “quite brilliant” while James Suckling (96-97) described it as “Precise. It goes for minutes”.

As the chart above shows, it is priced at a discount of around 10% to the similarly scored 2009 and 2010.

Buyers might alternatively look back to last year: the 2014 has a score of 93-95 from Neal Martin and is available at an 37.3% discount on the 2015.

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History

Château Pichon Longueville de Lalande is ideally situated between the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. The variety of parcels of land, due to the elements of the earth and their encepagement explains the complexity of the personality of the wines of Pichon. Since the end of the 1970's, the reputation of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has acquired the status of a "super second" and a "nearly first", in light of the consistency of its quality.

 

The Baron Joseph de Pichon Longueville’s children Raoul and Virginie inherited the property. After a period of several years during which the property was administered by the Baron Raoul de Pichon Longueville, the rupture was effective. From then on the lands of Pichon Longueville would have two very different futures.

Anticipating this indivision, Virginie married Count Henri de Lalande,and took over the control of the domain, the Count giving her independence and the title of Comtesse de Lalande. Her passion for vines and the quality of her management made her a strong personality in the Médoc in the last century, leaving her mark on the domain that has kept her name. In 1855 the Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande acquired the status of Second Cru Classé.

In 1920 the vineyards were auctioned. Edouard and Louis Miailhe, descendants of an old Bordeaux family of Vineyard owners and wine dealers, bought the Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in 1925.

 

In 1978 the family were drawing lots from a cake tin with the names of their châteaux, Mme. de Lencquesaing drew Pichon Lalande and cried for three days as this was the one property she did not want to inherit. The general financial situation in Bordeaux was miserable at the time and Pichon was badly in need of change and investments. She soon got down to business, starting by going back to school. She and her husband, a retired general, visited oenology classes and started making plans for the future. With an iron will and determination they set about making the necessary changes and within a very short time Pichon Comtesse was to become one of the most-loved wines of all.

 

In 2007, Madame de Lencquesaing decided to pass on her vineyard, in order to secure its future. She chose Louis Roederer to take over from her. This family business headed up by Frédéric Rouzaud already owned two other Bordeaux crus, Château de Pez and Chateau Haut Beauséjour, in addition to other high quality wines in Provence, Portugal and the United States.

For three whole centuries, just two families did their work to make the château and its wines famous. Today, a third family now oversees the destiny of this cru, with the aim of building on the work accomplished so far – and raising the level of quality and prestige still further.

 

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Vineyards

The different plots of land that make up the vineyard surround the chateau: Ardileys, Moulin Riche, Longueville, Grand’Plante, la Chapelle, Virginie, Sophie and Marie-Joséphine.
The 89 hectares of vines, close to the river, straddle the Saint-Julien stream towards the Léoville plateau and onto the Pichon Longueville plateau to the south of the Pauillac appellation.

 

The extraordinary richness of the Pauillac appellation is the result of a poor, avaricious soil. The hills are composed of gravel on clayey soil, creating conditions that provide excellent drainage. This gravel from the Quaternary era, known as Garonnaise gravel - particularly in the Gunzian layer, the oldest and topographically highest – is what explains the quality of the best vineyards in the Haut-Médoc.

 The Médoc is ideally situated between the River Gironde and the Atlantic Ocean. These two bodies of water encourage air movement, blowing away the clouds and reducing rainfall. The Pauillac region enjoys a microclimate and relative dryness – and this favours concentration of the grapes.

 

Featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet franc and Petit Verdot, the diversity and proportion of varieties at Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is unique in the Pauillac appellation. Compared to its prestigious Pauillac neighbours, a relatively small proportion of Cabernet Sauvignons (45%) are planted on the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande estate. The relatively large share of Merlot (35%) guarantees the wine’s long-lasting quality and gives it an exceptional personality, characterised by its elegance and lack of harshness.

 Since Roederer took over the estate, major work on restructuring the 78-hectare vineyard has been undertaken. Thorough studies of the soils and sub-soils have produced very detailed mapping of the many different plots and better knowledge of the terroir. A replanting programme has been launched to ensure varieties and their root stocks are best suited to the type of soil.

61% Cabernet Sauvignon
32 % Merlot
4 % Cabernet Franc
3 % Petit Verdot

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Winemaking

When the harvest has been gathered, stripped and masked, the grapes are sent to the fermenting room, where rows of heat-regulated stainless steel vats of various capacities enable stringent, exact selection by plot to be carried out. The period spent in the vats ranges from 18 to 24 days depending on the year. Pumping over is carried out frequently, so as to extract as much colour and tannin as possible.

 

Since the late 1970s, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has gained a reputation as a “super second” or even “almost premier”, due to its constant quality. The key word in this success is selection - extremely painstaking selection from the harvest onwards, especially during blending. Blending takes place in late December or early January, with the help of the technical team and oenologists. An initial selection produces a Grand Vin, followed by a ‘second wine’ from the next selection. Ever since the nineteenth century, the owners of the great Medoc crus have been aware of the diversity of their vineyards and driven by the desire for excellence.

As a result they have made wines of different quality. ‘Second wines’, from the same terroir as ‘great wines’, are still a faithful reflection of the terroir’s quality and finesse and also express their own personality. They are generally excellent wines, but are less structured and less suitable for laying down than the Grands Vins. Pichon Longueville’s archives feature references to the existence of a second wine as early as the 1870s. A century later, this became known as Réserve de la Comtesse.

 

After the blending process, the wine is placed in oak barrels from the Allier and Nièvre forests. The wood adds to the noble character of the wine, giving it aromas and tannins and enabling it to acquire evenness as air slowly passes through the pores of the barrels. Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Grand Vin wine is aged for 18 months in barrels, made half from new oak and half from one-year-old oak. The barrels are subjected to soft toasting during the process, contributing to the quality of the aroma. The exchange between the wood and wine must be harmonious and balanced. Consequently, only 25% new wood is used for “Réserve de la Comtesse”. The wine is tapped every three months until it is bottled, and clarified. It is bottled at the château in June of the second year after the harvest. The prestigious bottles are sealed with the Pichon Longueville and Lalande family crests.

 

In 2007, Madame de Lencquesaing decided to pass on her vineyard, in order to secure its future. She chose Louis Roederer to take over from her. This family business headed up by Frédéric Rouzaud already owned two other Bordeaux crus, Château de Pez and Chateau Haut Beauséjour, in addition to other high quality wines in Provence, Portugal and the United States.
For three whole centuries, just two families did their work to make the château and its wines famous. Today, a third family now oversees the destiny of this cru, with the aim of building on the work accomplished so far – and raising the level of quality and prestige still further.

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2 different wines with 88 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2021/ Medium-deep crimson. Lifted blackcurrant, blackberry aromas with toasty, marzipan roasted chestnut notes. Inky deep blackcurrant blackberry fruits, fine graphite/firm and a hint cedary tannins with plentiful toasty/ roasted chestnut/ vanilla notes. Finishes chocolaty firm and minerally with bittersweet notes. A very lovely wine with ample dark fruits, superb richness and energy. Should develop very well. 89% cabernet sauvignon, 10% merlot, 1% cabernet franc.97–98 points

2m 15d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Domaine de Chevalier 2021- 80% C. Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% C. Franc and 5% P. Verdot. It's the first vintage with that much C. Sauvignon in the blend. 13% alcohol. Intense black- and redcurrants, crushed rocks, coffee beans, cigar box, graphite, fresh, fine structure and complexity. Persistent aftertaste. Splendid effort for the vintage. 94-95p.

2m 29d ago

 Simone Hubert, Sommelier (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  20 wines 

1988 Bordeaux vintage tasting: Château Margaux 1988/Black fruits the nose has brooding richness the palate depth with black cherry and cassis backed by dark chocolate and liquorice. There is mid freshness balance the tannins integrated discreet but supporting. Depth of the fruit at the back the rich fruit gives way to freshness the finish is remarkably light and elegant.

3m 19d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  33 wines 

2021 Château Latour / Ruby. Blackberries, cassis, dark fruit, very fruit driven nose at this stage, tight knit. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, detailed, blackberries and cassis, detailed, intense and layered, nuanced, energetic, superb balance, incredible length. Goes on and on. 13,1 % alcohol. 96-98

3m 19d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

4m 26d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  36 wines 

2019 Le Pin  /  Excellent density, liquid silk or liquid cashmere, long, sophisticated, decadent and kinky, and fantastic midpalate. Heavenly stuff. 99p

7m 25d ago

 Julia Harding MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Miraval's top wine Muse de Miraval Rosé 2020, made from selected best and oldest organic vineyards – Grenache and Rolle. Bottled in magnum only. Vinified in egg-shaped concrete tanks, a very small proportion aged in demi-muids.
Pretty salmon pink. Complex aroma of pretty peachy red fruits along with the merest hint of creamy oak influence. Rounded, very creamy in the mouth. Tastes surprisingly soft, almost flabby. Gentle tannins. Quite long but for me it lacks a backbone of freshness. Have I missed something? Packaging very ornate. (JH)

8m 24d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  10 wines 

2020  Château Lafite Rothschild / The compelling nose, with its showy notes of lead pencil, tobacco leaf, cedar, cigar box, currants, spice and wet forest leaf comes through easily. The palate is pure silk in texture. Seamlessly moving from the beginning, middle and end, the wine is fresh, bright, long and intense. The purity in the fruit, paired with its energy and lift linger for more than 50 seconds. Refined, elegant, complex and compelling, if you have the patience to wait for 15-20 years before opining a bottle, this is going to be one of the great vintages for Lafite Rothschild.  The wine is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot 12.8% ABV. The harvest took place September 14 - October 4. With yields of 37 hectoliters per hectare, the Grand Vin represents 45% of the harvest. 97-99  Pts

9m 20d ago

 Dominique Noel  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  1 wines 

The other day, I opened 2 bottles of Pichon Lalande 1989. I had not tried it for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it showed. 



Since it was acquired in 2007, by the Rouzaud family, owners of Louis Roederer, tremendous changes in terms of structure, blend, and taste have been made for the better. The wines gained in texture, complexity, taste, and quality. Yet, prior to this era, I must say that the wines of Pichon Lalande were more like a hit or miss, depending on the vintage. 



Personally, and although I have always appreciated it, to a certain extent, I have always found Pichon Lalande to be a tricky and capricious old Bordeaux style wine, often austere, tannic, and dry, and not revealing much in its youth. Marked by a certain feminine elegance and character, but rather like an old bitter lady, especially in the 80s and early 90s (I'm not going to make friends by writing this).



Fortunately, time has a taming effect on this old lady and this 1989 is a great example of it. It showed rather well after 2 hours of decanting, while restraint on the nose and somewhat on the palate too at the opening. Exhibiting timid earthy notes of dark cherry, currants, leather, tobacco, smoke, underbrush, pepper, and a few other tertiary aromas. Gentle, supple, elegant, yet, a bit dry, with a moderate finish, slightly fading (not many tannins or acidity left, at peak?). Good with lamb and/or pigeon. 


Santé!


Dom - 28/11/2021

9m 26d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  29 wines 

1982 is an iconic vintage for Bordeaux, and for many wine lovers, it’s a reference point as a modern, ripe year that was delicious from the onset. The top wines are still holding up well and show no signs of fading. However, some of the lesser wines are starting to show its age. This ripe vintage has given us a wide drinking window, regardless of the specific appellation and terroir. For those that still have some top 1982 Bordeaux in your cellar, there is no rush to pull the cork. A long life ahead awaits these beauties.

10m 29d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Latour vertical 1934 - 2005 in Copenhagen / Latour 1961 was, as expected, a monumental wine. Sixty years old wine and not ready yet. Still young and vigorous. Oceans of fruit and tannin perfectly supported by underlying acidity.  Enormous potential! 99-100p.

11m 21d ago

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  14 wines 

CHATEAU MARGAUX 2017 / 89% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 2% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot/ 100% new oak. Red currants, succulent and intense, also sweet… great harmony and choral resonance… I realise I’ve drifted off in my own thoughts with this wine… the flavour lingers so. This is BDX, it is the best wine we’ve had today (this week/month etc) and it is the reason why we seek to make and drink better wine. Holy crapola.

1y 12d ago

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