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Our Grand Vin Château Pichon Baron, classified as a 2nd Grand Cru Classé in 1855, is made with grapes from the oldest vines on the estate’s historic plots.This quintessential Pauillac offers an intense and profound sensory experience of great complexity. Château Pichon Baron exhibits elegance, intensity and exceptional length on the palate. It is a wine that improves year after year and can age for over 40 years in the cellar.
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".
2011 was an early vintage, although slightly less so than expected. A warm, dry springtime was followed by a cool summer. Work on the vines was carried out rationally according to the weather conditions and the profile of each plot. At the end of July and beginning of August, we carried out carefully-targeted green harvesting (leaf stripping and thinning) to even out the ripening of the grapes.
By September, we were recording astonishingly high phenolic potential on our Cabernet. The start of the month was most beneficial to this vintage planted on the very best terroirs.
The grapes were picked and brought in the vat-house plot by plot, in order of maturity, with particular attention to selection on the plots. Harvesting ran from 12 to 28 September, with two breaks on 18 and 25 September. The first three days were dedicated to the earliest-ripening vines, such as the Sainte Anne plot. Then the old Merlot vines were harvested until 20 September. The Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon were picked last as warm, dry, sunny conditions finally settled in.
Sorting in the vat-house was highly meticulous, keeping only the very best grapes. The grapes were sorted twice, both before and after de-stemming. Once de-stemmed, the selection of the grapes was fine tuned on two sorting lines, one manual and one using optic systems.
The must from each plot is vinified individually. Alcoholic fermentation was quick, driven by naturally high temperatures. We carried out repeated and individual pumping over, adapted to the profile of each batch. Maceration lasted 20 to 25 days, depending on the results of our tasting to check on extraction. The batches of wines were then transferred into barrels after malolactic fermentation and blended during maturing.
BLEND: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon
AGEING: 80 % new barrels
20 % one-year-old barrels