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  • Country ranking ?

    1 114
  • Producer ranking ?

    26
  • Decanting time

    6h
  • When to drink

    from 2020
  • Food Pairing

    Roast Duck Breast with Dried Cherry Sauce

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

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 unique encepagement and the twelve hectares of vines situated on the soils of St Julien endow the wines of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with an exceptional personality compared with the other crus of the Pauillac appellation. Complexity, elegance and longevity are the hallmarks of this race, they are found every year during the creation of the vintages..

The nose is distinguished by a bouquet of aromas, mixing blackcurrant and violet, vanilla and cinnamon. In the palate, the tannins appear mature and melted, revealing a strong and affirmed structure, a surprising suppleness, perfect harmony and long persistency. The wine is seductive when young without prejudicing its longevity. James Laubé of the Wine Spectator baptised Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, "A First Class Second Cru", a most fitting tribute...

 

Pichon-Longueville Lalande is a 75-hectare property that produces on average 36,000 cases per year. Located in the east of the Pauillac appellation, the vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Merlot 35%, Cabernet Franc 12%, Petit Verdot 8%) lie on deep gravel beds underpinned by clay and then sandstone and limestone (part of these vineyards actually reside in the St-Julien appellation). The wine is fermented in stainless steel cuvées and then matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months.

Pichon-Longueville Lalande is not as powerful or as tannic as some its Pauillac neighbours and this is mainly because of its relatively high Merlot content. In the best years, it is one of the most exotic and voluptuously scented wines of the Médoc. At least a decade of cellaring is required before the wines should be approached.

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Wine Information

Philippe Moureau / Château Pichon-Lalande/ Vintage 2012

Tb: Growers have been reporting that the Merlot has been very successful this year. Is that the case for you with the 2012 Pichon Lalande?
Philippe Moureau “With the 2012 Pichon Lalande, the Merlot matured earlier, thus they were picked in good conditions without overmaturation. This allowed us to avoid too high a degree of alcohol. In spite of the unstable weather of the last few days during the harvest, the Cabernets also achieved a good level of maturity. “
Tb: What previous growing does the 2012 Bordeaux vintage remind you of?
Philippe Moureau “The 2012 vintage is a mixture of issues we had to deal with in previous vintages. 2012 Bordeaux can be characterized by too much humidity in the spring. This resulted in some drips and millerandage. We also experienced a summer drought. That caused the vines to stop maturing. The season has been difficult in the vineyard. You can call 2012 Bordeaux a winemaker’s vintage.”
Tb: Compared to 2011, did you need to spend more or less time on sorting this year?
Philippe Moureau “Sorting for us with the 2012 Pichon Lalande has been just as important this year as it was with 2011. We had to remove the scalded and under ripe berries and those with a botrytis. This meticulous sorting was been done in the vineyards, during the harvest and also in the winery. It was important to use optical sorting in this vintage. Optical sorting was a great additional tool to optimize the sorting we needed.”
Tb: Did you purchase any new equipment or renovate your wine making facilities this year at Pichon Lalande?
Philippe Moureau “Indeed, we acquired a new destemmer from Bucher, “the Oscillys”, which was very efficient in sorting the berries. This tool has been very important this year. We also invested in an optical sorting “Vistalys” as well aswith new vessels better adapted to vinification. These new stainless steel tanks are double skinned, which allow for better fermentation kinetics, which gives smoother, softer and easier extractions.”
Tb: What are your yields this year?
Philippe Moureau “We will be close to 30 hectoliters per hectare in the 2012 Bordeaux vintage.”

Tb: What about your alcohol levels with the 2012 Pichon Lalande?
Philippe Moureau “The Merlot is close to 13.5% and the Cabernet is lower at about 12.5%.”
Tb: What steps are you taking this year during vinification of the 2012 Pichon Lalande?
Philippe Moureau “For the vinification, it was important to use only the best berries and at the same time, pursue the work that we have done in the recent years. We are focusing on a soft and slow extraction to preserve the elegance and roundness of the wine.”


In the Medoc, it was hurry up and wait. Tom Petty could have been blasting with “Waiting is The Hardest Part,” because growers needed to wait as the Cabernet Sauvignon was having difficulties ripening. This was already October. The conventional wisdom says, at some point, there was little to be gained by waiting and more to lose, so the 2012 Bordeaux harvest started taking place. Some estates began picking young Merlot in late September, but most held back until about October 1, with a few growers waiting another week or longer. Most producers brought all their fruit in by the middle of October.

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Vintage 2012

The 2012 Bordeaux vintage report.

The 2012 Bordeaux vintage is a year for vineyard management and workers. Call it a wine makers vintage, or change your tune and name it vineyard managers vintage. Either descriptor works perfectly. The estates with the financial ability to take the necessary actions in the vineyards during the season, coupled with the willingness to severely declassify unripe grapes will produce the best wines.  Even then, it’s going to be a difficult vintage with small quantities of wine.  From start to finish, the growing season and 2012 Bordeaux harvest have been stressful for the vintners, the vines and  with the grapes now in the process of being vinified, the winemakers.

 

The 2012 Bordeaux vintage did not get off to a good start.  Following a cold winter and wet spring, the April rains drenched the Bordeaux wine region.  Following the April rains, there were outbreaks of mildew, which required spraying.  May was warmer than April. Things cooled down a bit again in June.  All this brought on flowering that was late and uneven. That resulted in small bunches with berries that ripened at different times, which brought down the quantities and necessitated in serious work in the vineyards and intensive sorting at harvest.

 

While a growing season is never over until it’s over, uneven flowering is never a good omen.  The lateness in the flowering pushed the entire vintage back 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the chateaux.  Generally speaking, late harvests are not usually harbingers of good things to come.

 

If everything that took place until the end of June didn't offer what happened next offered additional challenges with 2012 Bordeaux vintage. After an average July, Bordeaux experienced a torrid heat spell and drought in August and September that stressed the vines, especially the young vines.  At one point, temperatures soared to 42 degrees Celsius, which is 107 degrees! Other days crossed 100 degrees. It was extremely hot and dry. The vines shut down and the vintage was on track to be even later than originally anticipated. Close to the end of September, things improved due to the much hoped for combination of warm days, cool nights and some desperately needed rain, which helped nourish the vines. The initial days of October offered reasonably warm temperatures during the day, coupled with cooler weather at night for vintners with Merlot ready to pick.

 

In the Medoc, it was hurry up and wait. Tom Petty could have been blasting with “Waiting is The Hardest Part,” because growers needed to wait as the Cabernet Sauvignon was having difficulties ripening.  This was already October. The conventional wisdom says, at some point, there was little to be gained by waiting and more to lose, so the 2012 Bordeaux harvest started taking place.  Some estates began picking young Merlot in late September, but most held back until about October 1, with a few growers waiting another week or longer.  Most producers brought all their fruit in by the middle of October.

 

Pomerol is usually the first appellation to harvest, due to their Merlot dominated vines. Interestingly, picking was taking place simultaneously in the Left Bank on October 1.  Numerous Pessac Leognan properties began their harvest before Pomerol. Chateau Haut Brion began working on their young Merlot vines September 17 and Chateau Haut Bailly was not far behind, with a September 27 start date.  Most chateaux were in the thick of things by October 4, although Domaine de Chevalier held off until October 8.

 

While pleasant, cooler weather was initially forecast to continue, by October 8, things changed quickly when massive amounts of rain dropped over the entire Bordeaux region. With accompanying temperatures in the mid to upper 60’s and higher in some areas, vintners were concerned about the potential of Botrytis, due to the humid, tropical conditions. At that point, the fruit needed to be picked, regardless of the state of maturity.  Similar to what took place last year with the 2011 Bordeaux vintage, ripening was uneven.  It was not just bunches that were not ripening, individual grapes in bunches achieved varying degrees of ripeness which made sorting more important than ever.  Optical sorting was more widely used than ever with the 2012 Bordeaux harvest.

 

2012 Bordeaux could be a year where the dry, white Bordeaux wines shine. The berries were picked in September, under optimum conditions.  Most producers were done harvesting the white wine grapes by September 25. The same cannot be said for the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac.  This has been a difficult year for the development of Botrytis, due in part to the cold nights.  With November closing in, most of the top estates were still nervously waiting to harvest.

 

All this adds up to low yields for most producers.  In fact, the French minister of agriculture reported that 2012 would produce the lowest yields since 1991.  It’s interesting to remember previous years like 1991, a vintage that forced some properties to declassify their entire harvest.  With today’s modern technology and vineyard management techniques, vintages like 1991 which produced atrocious wine are a thing of the past.  Bordeaux is not the only European wine region to suffer in 2012.  Across the board, numerous European vineyards experienced difficult conditions.  It was announced that across the board, production of European wines were at their lowest levels since 1975.

 

Generally speaking, low yields are usually a good thing. Low yields produce more concentrated wines. But when low yields are coupled with grapes that did not achieve full, phenolic ripeness, at the end of the day, the only thing vintners are primarily left with is less wine. If the small quantities of wine available to sell are used as an excuse by owners as a reason to raise prices, grapes are not the only thing that will be in short supply.  Customers for their wines will be in an even shorter supply than the wines.

 

2011 Bordeaux has not sold well to consumers. Prices for 2012 Bordeaux wine need to be lower in price than the previous year.  This is healthy for the marketplace in the long run.  Ample stocks of good wines from top years are still available for sale. Consumers can easily find strong Bordeaux wine from 2010, 2009 and even 2005.  There are different vintages for different markets. Some wine buyers prefer more classic or lighter years.  Other wine collectors seek riper, bolder years.  The marketplace welcomes both types of wines and consumers. But each vintage and style needs to be appropriately priced.  Bordeaux should reduce prices on vintages like 2012 and 2011. In turn, there are wine buyers willing to pay more for the best years.

 

Reports from producers on the 2012 Bordeaux harvest have ranged. For the red wines, some were quoted as saying the pulp is ripe, the seeds varied in ripeness, but the skins did not ripen.  In the Left Bank, there are estates that feel their Merlot turned out better than their Cabernet. In the Right Bank, producers in Pomerol and St. Emilion are optimistic about the quality of their 2012 Bordeaux wines.

 

The early reports show lower alcohol levels for the wines than more recent, highly rated, expensive vintages. 2012 Bordeaux wine has the potential to be classic in style, which should please thirsty fans of traditional Bordeaux wine.  While quantities are small, in many cases, it’s not much different than what the chateaux were able to produce in 2011. Many vintners are comparing the 2012 Bordeaux vintage a blend of 2002 and 2008.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Tasted in October 2015. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon + 28% Merlot + 8% Cabernet Franc + 5% Petit Verdot. Quite tight, well-knitted, long, complex and well-balanced. Fine smooth finish. Well-made and succesful for the vintage.
  • 92p
Ruby. Scented, elegant and nuanced nose, cassis. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, elegant and lively, lovely texture, long. 93
  • 93p
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Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Highlights

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