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News

2019 Vintage conditions

2019 was marked by a rainy spring and start to June, followed by a hot, dry summer. Cool spring temperatures alleviated the virulence of the mildew, and the year's favourable weather conditions created an environment free from the threat of cryptogamic infection.
The rapid warming of the soil at the end of winter led to steady and even budburst, with slow growth. Unfortunately, these cool spring conditions were not favourable to flowering and caused moderate coulure, except in our earliest-ripening terroirs.
The last ten days of June gave way to hot and dry summer weather punctuated by some rain in late July and early August. The sunshine and heat stimulated the fruit aromas of the Cabernets and the concentration of polyphenols in the skins.

Limited water during ripening accelerated sugar concentration and the breakdown of acids, and increased the grapes' phenolic potential. These conditions were also favourable to the quality of the tannins. Mid-veraison was reached between 4th and 5th August on the early-ripening plots and ended quickly and evenly in mid-August.

The grapes became particularly rich in mid-September due to the hot, dry conditions, then the first rains in late September weakened the skins and accelerated the harvest. This very welcome moisture stabilised the sugar concentration and allowed us to continue the harvest more serenely. 2019 was characterised by high potential alcohol content and low total acidity (little malic acid).

The harvest took place from 18th September to 1st October for the Merlot and from 30th September to 11th October for the Cabernet-Sauvignon.

 

 

2014 Harvest in our properties: Conclusion

DECEMBER 5, 2014 CHRISTIAN SEELY

The report of Cédric at Mas Belles Eaux finishes our harvest reports of 2014: we have now heard from each property.

In Bordeaux some marvelous results for the reds, classic fresh and balanced, in the style of the 2008s and the 2010s, and closer to the 10s than to the 08s. At Suduiraut, some great wines in the style of the 2001s and the 2011s, even if the quantity of Sauternes is very small.

In Burgundy also an excellent quality, and yields a little more correct than in the past few years.

In Tokaj, a difficult year, with very reduced yields, but a small production of very good Aszú wines.

In the Languedoc, the deluge just before the harvest complicated matters considerably, and reduced yields, but a very strict selection enabled us to make some good wines, particularly Grenache (red and white) and Syrah.

Finally, at Quinta do Noval, even if we just missed a very great Vintage on account of a week of rain during the harvest, some exceptional grapes were harvested before the rain, and even afterwards there are some very good wines, both Port wines and unfortified.

Globally, a favourable verdict on the 2014 vintage.

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History

Château Pichon Longueville, or Pichon Baron as it is often called,  is known as "the male" part of the original Pichon Longueville property that got divided in 1850, not only due to the fact that the male heir inherited this part but also because it is a more "manly" wine in character than its sister, Pichon Lalande, across the road.

Pierre de Masures de Rauzan, known as the "Sorcier de la Vigne", a distinguished member of the Bordeaux Parliament had early realised the value of premium wine and started to aquire vineyard land during the second half of the 17th century. He bought the land near Château Margaux, where now Rauzan Ségla and Gassies lie in 1661. A few years later, knowing the quality of Château Latours wines, he acquired land nearby where now the two Pichons lie.

His daughter, Thérèse, married Jacques de Pichon Baron de Longueville in 1694 bringing these lands, that her father had now started planting with vines, into the marriage.

 

The reputation of the wines grew and by the middle of the 18th century it received prices similar to those of the wines from the châteaux now known as Mouton Rothschild, Gruaud Larose, Ducru Beaucaillou and Beychevelle.

The legendary Joseph de Pichon was born in 1755 and survived the terrors of the french revolution by hiding in the kitchen oven of the château for eight days and he remained to live to the ripe age of 95. He had five children, two sons and three daughters. Under the new Napoleonic inheritance laws any property had to be divided equally between all children and to avoid legal fights after his death Joseph divided the property between his children during his lifetime in the 1830s.

His son Raoul inherited two fifths, his and that of his brother who had earlier died unmarried. Three fifths went to his daughters Sophie who became a nun, Gabrielle and Marie-Laure who married the Comte Henri de Lalande to become the Comtesse de Lalande. Even though the ownership was legally divided the property was run as one and in the 1840s Marie-Laure built the present building of  Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande (Pichon Lalande) for her and her sisters to live in and in 1851 Raoul started the constructing of the present Pichon Longueville (Pichon Baron) château.  Only on the death of Raoul in 1864 was the property physically divided and two separate wines made.

 

Pichon Baron was to remain with the Pichon-Longuevilles until 1933 when it was sold to the Bouteillier family. The Bouteilliers had interests in several wine properties amongst others Château Palmer, Grand Puy Ducasse and Lanessan which was also the home of Jean Bouteillier in whose hands now the future of Pichon Longueville rested.

 

The reputation of Pichon Baron until the 1960s was superior to that of Pichon Lalande across the road, it was also placed above Pichon Lalande in the Classification of 1855. But on the death of Jean Bouteillier in 1961 its reputation began to sink. His eldest son Bertrand was still young and inexperienced and there was a lack of money for necessary investments leading to a decline in quality of the wines during the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s there were signs of recovery but not at the same speed as with many other properties during this time and certainly nowhere near that of Pichon-Lalande that had prospered enormously under the care of May de Lencquesaing to become one of the first "Super-seconds". 

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Vineyards

The area under vines has more or less been doubled since the take-over from 33 to around 70 hectares and here close density of vines with a low yield per vine is practised. It is confusing to read that Pichon Baron now has around 35 % Merlot planted - about the same figure as for Pichon Lalande. This is however not the percentage that is represented in the cuvée of the Grand Vin which as a rule contain about 80 % Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for this comes mainly from the 40 hectares lying between the château and the border to St. Julien and westwards from there.

Here the soil is of gravel on a subsoil of sand and clay rich in iron. This iron is said to bring the finesse and fine perfume of the wine. The cooler vineyards containing more clay are better suited for Merlot and the major part of this goes into their very good second wine - Les Tourelles de Longueville.  The harvesting machines used by the old regime from 1983 onwards were sold and a strict selection of the grapes that go into the wine is made.

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Winemaking

The wine is spending between 16 to 18 months in an increasingly higher percent of new oak casks, up to 80% in an exceptional vintage and, sensibly, less in weaker vintages. The management of Château Pichon Longueville is, since the retirement of Jean-Michel Cazes in the year 2000, in the hands of Christian Seely and his wine-maker Jean-René Matignon.

All this has led to a great increase in quality of the wines and its reputation so that Pichon Baron now truly belongs to the small elite group of "Super-seconds" - these being wines not belonging to the established Premier Crus but having a greater reputation and achieving prices higher than those of the other classified growths.

The rivalry between the two Pichons is intense and not always neighbourly but it has certainly not harmed the quality of either wine. To me it is more a question of style rather than quality which one prefers. Pichon Lalande is more feminine and immediately charming, drinking well early, while still ageing well. This is partly due to the, for Pauillac, unusually large percentage of Merlot and maybe partly due to its St. Julien "terroir" (it has as a matter of fact a sizeable portion of its vineyards within the St. Julien commune). Pichon Baron used on the other hand to be a masculine, almost robust wine that needed long to come around. In recent years the  better care in vineyards and vinification has led to a more appoachable wine without it losing its classic Pauillac character.

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3 different wines with 81 vintages

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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  3 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 8d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 23d ago

 Simone Hubert, Sommelier (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 13d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  3 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 14d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 18d ago

 Matthieu Bordes / Château Lagrange, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  1 wines 

The colour is a little bit evolved regarding the only 10 years old vintage. There are some varietal notes on the nose with a lighter structure that we are used to have with this chateau. The structure is a little bit dryer in the end not the best Pichon Baron on this challenging vintage.

7m 5d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 21d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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 13d ago

 Jean-René Matignon, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  11 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  11 wines 

Château Pichon Baron 2019 reveals a beautiful dark garnet colour with purple hues. The bouquet is precise and very intense, revealing a wide aromatic palette of ripe black fruits and spices. The body is fleshy, creamy, and powerful. The tannins are present and plentiful, without astringency, silky and sleek. It has a beautiful fleshy tension in the mouth, with a sunny and charming style. The finish is elegant, distinguished, with a bright fruitiness. A great wine for ageing as it develops a generous, rich, and elegant fullness.


 
2019 was marked by a rainy spring and start to June, followed by a hot, dry summer. Cool spring temperatures alleviated the virulence of the mildew, and the year's favourable weather conditions created an environment free from the threat of cryptogamic infection.
The rapid warming of the soil at the end of winter led to steady and even budburst, with slow growth. Unfortunately, these cool spring conditions were not favourable to flowering and caused moderate coulure, except in our earliest-ripening terroirs.
The last ten days of June gave way to hot and dry summer weather punctuated by some rain in late July and early August. The sunshine and heat stimulated the fruit aromas of the Cabernets and the concentration of polyphenols in the skins.


Limited water during ripening accelerated sugar concentration and the breakdown of acids, and increased the grapes' phenolic potential. These conditions were also favourable to the quality of the tannins. Mid-veraison was reached between 4th and 5th August on the early-ripening plots and ended quickly and evenly in mid-August.


The grapes became particularly rich in mid-September due to the hot, dry conditions, then the first rains in late September weakened the skins and accelerated the harvest. This very welcome moisture stabilised the sugar concentration and allowed us to continue the harvest more serenely. 2019 was characterised by high potential alcohol content and low total acidity (little malic acid).


The harvest took place from 18th September to 1st October for the Merlot and from 30th September to 11th October for the Cabernet-Sauvignon.
 


 

10m 26d ago

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