One of the great names of the Médoc and a true "super-second". Pichon Lalande is one of the most demanded wines of Bordeaux. It is especially popular in the Far East thanks to its slightly exotic, spicy character and plump ripe fruit and polished texture. The percentage of Merlot in the vineyard is high for Pauillac. The "Comtesse" is now owned by Champagne house Louis Roederer and managed by Nicolas Glumineau, formerly of Montrose. A new winery has just been built.
The 2016 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is blended of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc aged for 18 months in 60% new oak. Deep purple-black in color, it is a little mute, slowly unfurling to reveal a core of crushed blackcurrants, blueberry compote and black raspberries with nuances of cinnamon stick, violets, star anise, menthol and pencil shavings plus a waft of fallen leaves. Medium-bodied and super intense in the mouth, the palate bursts with black fruits and savory layers, complemented by red fruit sparks and framed by fantastically ripe, fine-grained tannins, finishing very long with a lingering suggestion of minerality. Drink 2023-2058.
Glorious aromas of blackcurrants, blackberries and flowers, from violets to roses. Iron and rust undertones. Full-bodied, dense and very layered with loads of richness. It goes on for minutes. Reminds me of the 1986. Best in decades? Take a first look at it in 2025.
Hard to fault the confident, tightrope-walking balance of muscular tannins, concentrated berry fruit and vibrant acidities. Sings of Pauillac, but a sophisticated, well-finessed version. Still young, but the wall of tannins is bouncy, rippling with silk and satin, along with liqourice, cocoa bean and camp fire smoke. Assume it will close down over the next few years, so make the most of it now with a long carafe, or wait for 5 to 10 years. 40hl/h yield, 60% new oak, and a long, slow harvest from September 20 to October 20.
Tasted blind. Deep smudgy purplish crimson. Sweet mulberries on the nose. Racy and fleshy and fruity. Not very classical Pauillac but an early charmer. Lots of fun! Long. Lovely wine.
Drink 2025 – 2045
Coming from the genius winemaking talent of Nicolas Glumineau, the 2016 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande matches the 1982 and is a perfect, legendary wine in the making. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, and 4% Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new oak, it's not the most powerful Left Bank but offers perfect balance and thrilling intensity as well as heavenly aromatics of crème de cassis, leafy herbs, jammy blackberries, tobacco leaf, and freshly sharpened lead pencils as well as more violets and minerality with time in the glass. Possessing a deep, full-bodied, singular character, the purity of fruit that's the hallmark of the vintage, building tannins, and a sense of class and elegance that's hard to describe, it's a 50-year-wine. While this cuvée has included a fair chunk of Merlot in the past that gave it more upfront appeal, it's important for readers to know it's much more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated today, and while it is slightly more approachable than some of its neighbors, it shuts down rather quickly with time in the glass. (I followed this wine for multiple days.) I suspect a solid decade of cellaring is warranted. Drink 2027-2077.
Fragrant and fresh the nose has spring violets the palate a mix of bramble and bilberry. Sweet ripe fruit in the middle rich and ripe velvet smooth and although there is depth at the back the finish has an elegant freshness. 2026-44
Will this prove to be as great as the legendary 12, albeit in a very different style? It’s certainly in with a chance, because this is a superb wine: rich, dense, scented and refined, with caressing tannins, pithy dark berry fruit and a chalky, mineral-edged freshness. One of the Pauillacs of the vintage. 2024-35
The 2016 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc (compare that to the 2010 that had 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, for example--that should give you some pointers). The alcohol level is 13.32% and a pH of 3.76. I tasted from a new oak barrel and the final blend will include around 60% new wood and 40% one year old, which is something I took into account. It has a very succinct bouquet, one that is almost understated at first, gradually unfolding with blackberry, cedar and graphite scents, in the vein of say the 1986 or 1996 Pichon Lalande of the past. The palate is very well balanced and what I appreciate here is that it is still as much identifiable as Pichon Lalande as it is a Pauillac and a 2016. There is that touch of roundness imparted by the Merlot, even though the Cabernet dominates the blend, surely the terroir sculpting the wine. It gently builds in intensity, maintaining freshness, a gentle but insistent grip towards the finish and a very long aftertaste. This is probably just a notch up on the outstanding 2015 Pichon-Lalande, a Rolls Royce with a purring engine. Drink 2025 - 2060.
Linear and racy with ultra-fine tannins and a gorgeous center palate. Full-bodied, tight and so polished. The classicism and beauty are exceptional. Love the texture. Better than 2015?
Beautiful mix of power and restraint that you can almost reach out and touch. The extraction is so silky that the effect is a wine that seems endless, suspended above your palate, caressing it and teasing you to find the tannins that are very much hidden. There are some rich coffee seams that fill out on the mid-palate with cassis and ripe blackberry notes, whipped together with violets and peonies. The juicy, mouthwatering quality just keeps on coming. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc from yields around 40hl/ha and with an IPT of 82, 10% higher than in 2010 but you simply can't tell. This is clearly going to age and age. One of the wines of the vintage, and I am ready to be seduced.
Drinking Window 2027-2050
Blackish crimson. Sweet start and much less obvious density than some, very Merlot and just a little soft. Super-supple certainly… But where's the beef?