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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 85 vintages

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Wine Moments

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

 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.

12d 13h 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.

1m 4d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  56 wines 

Bordeaux 2020 Vintage - Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2020- lots of aromatic blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose, powerful on the palate with a strong backbone, big concentration, multilayered and with great length. Long, long finish. Impressive effort. 96-97p.

4m 5d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  38 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 2020 / Ruby. Fruit driven, cassis, anise, some spices nose, blackberries, intensely scented, almost transparent yet such depth. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, smooth and detailed, layered, anise, liquorice, deep, long. Superb freshness to it. Such energy. Pauillac is not the place that shines the most in 2020, but this one does. 97-99

4m 11d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  153 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage - part two

5m 14d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 


2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

5m 15d ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Gaja Sori Tildin 2017 / Coming from a warmer, south-facing site, the 2016 Barbaresco Sori Tildin is a more concentrated, vibrant wine compared to the straight Barbaresco and has vivid notes of bright cherry fruits, rose petals, road tar, violets and even a hint of orange blossom. Incredible on the palate, with medium to full body, an incredible, seamless texture, ultra-fine tannins, and a monster finish. The tannins here are unquestionably on another level and are perfectly ripe, and this just about off-the-charts 2016 has a Grand Cru Red Burgundy-like texture, elegance, and stature. This bottle didn't hit prime time until the second day, so either give bottles a healthy decant or, even better, 5-7 years in a cold cellar.

8m 16d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Bordeaux 2018 in bottle / After having tasted more than 150 wines already (primo January 2021), big and small properties, I can already make a very bold statement. This vintage in red is really something, and I've to backtrack my earlier opinion based on barrel tasting, that it's inconsistent compared to 2010 and 2016. It seems that the time spent in barrels and final blends benefitted the wines a lot and they're of high quality everywhere in Bordeaux. 

9m 14d ago

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  41 wines 

Montrachet, 2002 Domaine Des Comtes Lafon.
Montrachet, please notice. No Le, as the plot is on the Chassagne side. Here was a wine which took its time to come out of the glass. At first I was a little underwhelmed, but after ten minutes or so, the richness, concentration, and indeed a succulence almost like a red wine, began to appear. We have something which is quite oaky, still quite youthful, full bodied and very classy indeed: the depth unmistakably of a grand cru. Quite splendid!

11m 17d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1966 Petrus is often overshadowed by the 1961 and 1964, however, it remains a great vintage that has held up well. It has a much more reserved earthier bouquet than those aforementioned vintages, more black than red fruit infused with clove, autumn leaves and mahogany bureau. It is beautifully defined and noble, offering ash-like/fireside hearth scents with aeration. The palate is extremely well balanced with fine tannin that are slightly drier and more rigid than the 1964. That said, this bottle demonstrates more flesh than the previous one a couple of years back, a gentle sprinkling of white pepper towards the statesmanlike finish. This benefits from time in the glass, stretching its arms to reveal a deeper, slightly gripper Petrus than initially observed. Outstanding. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.

1y 25d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  50 wines 

BORDEAUX 2019 / Ch. Margaux 2019 - only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon + 7% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux' technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me, that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch.  Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"
It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with wonderful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 99-100p. 

1y 3m ago

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