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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 83 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.

 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.

2m 11d 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. 

3m 9d 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!

5m 12d 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.

6m 20d 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. 

9m 7d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Our weekly pro-tasting had this time wines from 1837-2015. Best ones were Yquem 1947, Latour 1996, Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2015, Masseto 2014, Petrolo 2003....

9m 9d ago

 Will Gardener / Nickolls & Perks, Wine Merchant (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Taittinger Comte Blanc de Blancs 2000 / There is surprisingly little colouration, pale gold, tiny bubbles. The nose is delicate, with faint cappuccino and a meaty edge, marine too, there is definite elegance and purity. The tension here admirable with fine citrus, towards grapefruit which hits you and then drifts off into a rippling effect, tantalising the taste buds. Not sure I would get it blind it’s less evolved than the first release bottle tasted last year, where softer more honeyed notes appeared. There is precision here like a youthful white Puligny it definitely grows on you, with hints of ginger and marine carried into the finish. A good life ahead here. Drink now – 2025+, 94/100.

10m 16d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  52 wines 

The Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855 represents all the Châteaux of the worldwide renowned classification which has been established for the world exhibition in Paris in 1855. It is a great chance to taste most of the wines of this illustrious circle. On May 20, 2020 the samples arrived in my office and were stored under pristine conditions to be savoured the following day. As most of the Châteaux have not been able to show their wines yet, it was a unique opportunity to get a broader picture of the vintage 2019. A few Châteaux have already sent wines before the shutdown so that I even had the option to try them a second time. This might explain some slight adjustments in tasting notes and ratings. The Covid-19 crisis is a nightmare -not only for the Primeurs- but in the same time it offered a perfect chance as well. Usually, the Primeurs would have been presented at the end of March. Now, seven to eight weeks later, the wines had more time to mature and to evolve. The samples performed very well and todays tasting confirmed a lot of quotes from producers in Bordeaux. Bruno-Eugène Borie from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in a line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 und 2005. Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, along with 2016, he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin from Château Mouton-Rothschild asses the vintage as rich and abundant in quality and in quantity as well. After some smaller crops they came back to an average production. Emmanuel Cruse from Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 yet preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. At Château Coutet in Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly were harvesting in three passes with a total of 19 harvesting days. They judge the conditions as rather ideal: “These climatic conditions have generated a harvest whose quality is indisputably present.” The result is a vintage with great qualities. In my opinion 2019 is on a comparable quality level with 2018, however showing even more freshness. Terroir might be more important in this vintage than in 2018 but the best ones show truly great wines.

10m 27d ago

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

I participated in very interesting tasting in Copenhagen, February 2020, of mainly wines from 1970 vintage, but also some flights “face to face” in vintages 1975 and 1983. Wines were tasted semi-blind, meaning that we had the list with names, but didn’t know two “ringers” which were included in the tasting. We didn’t know either the order of wines served in each flight. Some great bottles showed up confirming indeed their splendid provenance. I simply don’t understand how several well-established wine-critics rate Pichon Comtesse, Mouton Rothschild and Montrose from 1970 that low? We absolutely didn’t complain about wines served that cold Friday evening in February 2020. It was awesome experience!

1y 7d ago

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

The 1961 Palmer is a wine that tends to deliver upon its gargantuan reputation and we were rewarded with an exemplary bottle here. It has a clear colour with modest bricking on the rim. The bouquet is difficult to encapsulate into words – utterly ethereal. Heavenly definition, almost Burgundy-like in purity with traces of pencil box and pressed violets. It grows in stature with each swirl of the glass and leaves you transfixed. The palate is bestowed beguiling balanced, almost symmetrical, framed by filigree tannin and pitch perfect acidity. Like the aromatics it coheres with aeration, the fruit undiminished by time even if it is no blockbuster. Quite the opposite – this 1961 Palmer is the apotheosis of finesse with just a hint of balsamic on the aftertaste. This Margaux can bring you to tears of joy. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.

1y 1m ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Bordeaux has been on a hot roll lately. Think about it. 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2018 and who knows, even though it is early, 2019 is also looking good!
Each vintage has its own mark, its individual sense of identity and uniqueness of character. 2016 Bordeaux is such a great vintage!  Consider this. Out of all those above-named vintages, there are 2016 wines better than you find in any of those years. And that is really saying something!
In 2016, like in all great years, every appellation produced beautiful wines, and each has its own stars. You can find fabulous wines on both banks and in all price ranges. The Petit Chateaux are superb. Right Bank wines are gorgeous and some of the best wines from the Medoc are potentially the best-ever from their respective vineyards.
2016 has it all. The wines combine concentration of flavor, purity of fruit, zesty acidity, ripe tannins, power, elegance, refinement and richness. The aromatics are complex, and the length and mouthfeel go on and on. The best wines offer the ability to age and evolve for decades!
2016 is the most recent bottled vintage in Bordeaux. The wines are currently available to consumers. If you are seeking to enjoy the best of the best, this article is for you.
During both tasting trips to Bordeaux this year, I tasted close to 500 recently bottled 2016 wines. These are the top 25 wines of the vintage.

1y 4m ago

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