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In the Bordeaux region the classified crus have mixed soils, but large enough tracts of land to make very rigorous selections. It is only the quest for excellence during the XVIIIth century that led the owners to elaborate several wines of different quality. Severe selecting is the guarantee of quality of a great wine, but also of a second wine.
Today, the second wines represent between 20 and 50 % of the total production of the Chateau. From the same soil, the second wine benefits from the same technology as the great wine, and also its reputation. They are generally excellent wines, though less robust and long lasting than their elders.
The archives kept at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande mention the existence of a second wine as early as the XIXth century:
27 April 1890, shipping of four bottles of the vintage 1874 second wine to the Moscow exhibition.
In addition, the accounts book for the year 1874, that details the production of the year confirms that the second wine was rigorously selected.
The second wine of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, The Réserve de la Comtesse, was created and sold for the first time in 1973.
Drought and cool temperatures contribute to optimal ripeness
The sum of summer temperatures in 2010 was close to that of summer 2009 (962°C compared to 982°C), but decidedly chillier than those of 2005, which totalled 1052°C. These cool temperatures had a substantial influence on the balance of our wines, preserving a good level of acidity and attractive aromatic freshness.
Very little rainfall (only 267 mm) from March to August 2010 generating a drought of similar intensity to that of 2005, when only 227mm of rain fell.
Another feature of the 2010 vintage is the low temperatures above all in the first three weeks of August, which made for the preservation of good levels of acidity in the grapes while also maintaining attractive aromatic freshness.