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News

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 74 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  3 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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. 

11d 12h ago

 Shun Lâu / Wine dealer, Wine Dealer (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  12 wines 

This 2015 vintage's Harlan Estate leads with notes of red and black plum, vanilla, dried herbs and pencil shavings; the prelude to a supple, open-knit palate with a good core of juicy fruit and tangy acids. There is a touch of oak tannin which will need some time to integrate further.

1m 13d ago

 Clive Coates / MW, Wine Writer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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!

2m 14d ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Wine Writer (South Korea)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  47 wines 

Domaine Etienne Sauzet Montrachet Grand Cru 2017
Incredible intensity and depth in this Montrachet in 2017. Focused, complex with layers of toasted nuts, white flowers and lots of minerals. Wonderful example of this grand cru vineyard. The wine stands out as clearly the most complex and intense from Sauzet. From 50-60 year old vines; only 4 barrels made.


99 points

2m 17d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  30 wines 

Tastingbook's weekly Pro-tasting with wines from 1970-2019

6m 3d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  27 wines 

Bordeaux 2019 / 2019 Château Pichon Longueville Baron
Ruby. Lush nose of cassis, blackberries, blueberries, tobacco, chocolate and truffles. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, rounded, detailed, juicy, the structure behind is hidden behind velvety fruit and rich concentration, layered and deep with an amazingly long finish. 97-99

6m 8d ago

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

6m 9d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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....

6m 11d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . 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.

7m 29d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Roussean Chambertin 1990 / Bright ruby – quite a deep colour actually. Delightfully shaded. Pungent and definitely with lots of tertiary aromas. This has crossed the Rubicon into something serious! Fireworks and explosions. Great breadth and richness. Long and kerpow. So complex and beautfully balanced, Struck match quality. Fine tannins on the finish but lots of pleasure. Tense and exciting.

10m 16d ago

 Stuart Pigott, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pichon-Longueville Baron . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Château Haut Brion 2009 / Extravagant and exotic, but still lively, this is a super-concentrated and elegant wine that's already breathtaking, yet has enormous aging potential. Plenty of wet earth and mushroom character alongside the cassis and blackberry aromas. Super-long, perfectly balanced finish. Drink or hold. (Horizontal Tasting, London, 2019) 100 points

1y 1m ago

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