Château Pichon Lalande 2019
• Domaine: Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
Many châteaux in Bordeaux are passed down from father to son and run by men, and one often hears winemakers rhapsodize poetically about the union between, “man and vine.” Because of this, the story of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a unique and important one. It is a story about feminine influence. The success of this illustrious Super Second is due to the contributions of powerful women who championed it throughout the ages. Because of this, the stunningly voluptuous wines of Château Comtesse de Lalande are drinkable proof that girls do indeed rule.
The origins of the property date back to 1850 when Baron Joseph Pichon Longueville divided his large estate in two upon his death; his male heirs received Château Pichon Longueville au Baron and his daughters received Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. In the 18th Century, the property was run entirely by three women: Therese de Rauzan, Germaine de Laujus and Marie Branda de Terrefort. Though it stood adjacent to the First Growth Château Latour, the wines from Comtesse de Lalande carved out a distinct taste profile from the traditional Pauillac style. They were considered sensual and feminine. After a few years, Virgine, the wife of the Count de Lalande, took over management of the estate. She made many contributions including commissioning the popular architect Duphot to build a residence inspired by the Hotel de Lalande located in Bordeaux. Instead of passing down the estate to male heirs, the estate was passed from aunts to nieces. The female legacy was honored, and the estate remained in the hands of the same family for over 250 years.
In 1978, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing became the new owner and manager of Château Pichon Comtesse de Lalande. She was nicknamed, “Le Générale,” partially because of her husband’s military background and partially because she was a force to be reckoned with. In addition to increasing the size of the property from its original 40 hectares to 89 hectares, she traveled the globe and was a fierce champion of the Bordeaux region. Under her management, quality of the wines skyrocketed, and they earned international recognition and critical acclaim. Eventually, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing sold the estate to Champagne Roderer in 2007. Roderer understood the importance of the feminine influence at Comtesse de Lalande and hired Sylvie Cazes to oversee the property. The estate was renovated and modernized, with a targeted replanting program and a triple tiered gravity-controlled cellar that cost upward of 15 million Euro. This allowed the winemaking team to create softer, more supple wines at the Pauillac estate.
Though less of the grand vin is being made now, the quality continues to improve. With both holdings in Pauillac and Saint-Julien, these 100% organically farmed wines require a bit of time to unfold. They are softer than other Pauillacs but generally require at least 10 to 12 years of bottle ageing to show their sublime secondary characteristics. Their textures are astonishingly silky, and they offer exquisite notes of truffle, dark berry, cassis and cedar. Because of the consistent critical acclaim, this estate would be up for a promotion to a First Growth should a reclassification ever be in the cards.
"Nicolas Glumineau continues to work magic at this estate. His 2019 Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse De Lalande is based on 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 6% Cabernet Franc that will spend 18 in 60% new French oak. Reminding me of a slightly deeper, richer version of the 2016, it offers a totally thrilling bouquet of blackcurrants, pure cassis, tobacco leaf, chocolate, and a hint of lead pencil. A total monster on the palate, with a full-bodied, deep, powerful texture, it has a huge mid-palate, building yet ripe tannins, not a hard edge to be found, and is as Pauillac as Pauillac gets. I was able to taste this barrel sample over multiple days, and it's one of the most profound young Bordeaux I've ever tasted." - Jeb Dunnuck, (6/30/2020), Ratings: 98-100
"The 2019 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande was picked 16 September to 8 October. It has a showstopping nose: intense black fruit laced with graphite and mint. (Whisper it...it reminds me of their First Growth next door neighbor.) The palate is underpinned by very refined tannins that cradle what may well be the purest fruit you will find in this vintage. Unbelievably precise all the way through to the finish, I admit staring at my glass trying to find fault with it. Unless winemaker Nicolas Glumineau gets distracted by the new Cure album and makes a catastrophic error during the rest of its élevage, which he is not prone to doing, you are not looking at a modern-day 1982 or 2016, but something even better and more profound. Tasted from three bottles with consistent notes." - Neal Martin, Vinous (6/2020), Ratings: 98-100, Drink: 2026-2065
"A blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc (with no Petit Verdot this year), the 2019 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came in at an alcohol of 14.15% and a pH of 3.7. Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, it sails out of the glass with a stunning array of Black Forest cake, warm cassis and wild blueberries scents with underlying hints of Morello cherries, redcurrant jelly, pencil shavings, menthol and aniseed with a touch of charcoal. The medium-bodied palate packs a lot of fruit into an elegant package, featuring very finely grained, silt-like tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with loads of lingering mineral and exotic spice accents." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (6/17/2020), Ratings: 97-99
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