|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pauillac|
One of the great names of the Médoc and a true "super-second". Pichon Lalande is one of the most demanded wines of Bordeaux.Characterised by a slightly exotic, spicy character, plump ripe fruit and a 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 the brilliant wine-maker Nicolas Glumineau, the man who made the awesome Montrose 2009 and 2010 before coming here. A new winery has just been built. The assemblage is quite typically Pauillac this year with 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Harvested for nearly a month from 13th September to 11th October. Alcohol 14 degrees. Nicolas describes this wine as being "A true Pauillac, albeit in the Pichon Lalande style" and a hypothetical blend of the 2010 and 2016.
The 2018 Pichon-Lalande was given an hour’s decant and then observed over the next 24 hours. It has clearly retained the showstopping nose that I encountered from barrel, those same “gentle waves" of black cherries and blueberry, incense and violets lending it a Margaux-like allure. The palate is vibrant and full of tension from the start, the acidity slicing through the layers of quite plush black fruit, judiciously laced with tobacco and mint. There is a beguiling sense of harmony conveyed by this Pichon-Lalande and although there is clearly plenty of structure, the tannins are so pixelated and pliant that it might well be broachable in 4–5 years’ time. Personally, however, I would prefer to cellar it for 8–10 years (by which time I hope that the new Cure album is finally released). However long you decide to keep it tucked away, this is a quite brilliant Pauillac. 2025-2055
Aromas of blackberry, dried blueberry, gravel, mocha and cigar box. Light fresh-herb undertone. It’s full-bodied with firm, ultra fine tannins and fresh acidity. Focused and minerally with a long finish. Great length. Very tight and restrained at the moment. Wait until at least 2026 to take a look.
With a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, the 2018 Pichon Lalande has a deep garnet-purple color. It explodes from the glass with notes of blackberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles and plum preserves, plus suggestions of Chinese five spice, cloves, candied violets, and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, rich, seductive and plush, the palate is pure decadence with a finish that just goes on and on and on.
The 2018 Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse De Lalande is a monster of a wine with an almost Château Latour-like stature and structure, offering deep, backward, slightly reductive notes of blackcurrants, crushed stone, scorched earth, lead pencil shavings, and tobacco leaf. Based largely on Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot, it's full-bodied, concentrated, and powerful on the palate, with masses of tannins, beautiful mid-palate density, and a great finish. As I've commented previously, the up-front, sexy style of the past (due to the larger Merlot content, I believe) has been replaced by a more regal, at times austere profile. Nevertheless, it's still its own wine and very Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in style. This 2018 is going to need 5-7 years of bottle age and will evolve for 40+ years.
This has to be up there with one of the most seductive Comtesses on record with layers of alternating softness and concentration combined with a lot of 2016’s elegance and power.
The nose on this stands out a mile, getting it right up on the podium before you even take a sip. Rich raspberries combine with peonies and curls of woodsmoke while the appellation’s signature slate, cedar, liquorice and tannic grip slowly builds up on the palate.
I’ve tasted this several times with each conveying a juiciness and elegance that is quite different in style to many in Pauillac this year - it's a 98-100 for me, and I'm already looking forward to re-tasting it in bottle. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak used. 13% press wine. 3.75pH, 88IPT – higher even than the 80IPT in 2016.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040
Tasted blind. Richly nuanced deep crimson. Light nose but the suggestion that there is a lot there. Gentle and subtle with a glorious combination of ripe fruit and ripe tannin with freshness. Much less chewy than many others and already approachable, which perhaps forfeits half a point. But a lovely wine for now. 14.5%
Drink 2026 – 2045
71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot; 60% new oak. 35 hl/ha. Barrel sample.
Black core. Cedary cassis-leaf aroma, typically Pichon Lalande. Like the Réserve de la Comtesse, this is so gentle, charming, rounded, fresh and tender. Easy to underestimate. Extremely fine, intense but no show of power even with a long finish and even knowing that it has real depth. A gentle and surprisingly subtle beauty. (JH) 14%
Deep ruby in colour. The nose is intense but lifted here, with a pure blackcurrant core layered with some exotic spices - cinnamon and clove - as well as a floral violet character. The palate is supple and generous, with velveteen tannins giving a rich and rounded structure that allows the fruit to shine. Elegant and polished, the black cherry and creamy cassis are lifted and elegant, giving an ethereal, fragrant intensity. Superb precision and finesse are on show, with an enduring, very long finish. A superb effort in 2018.
This one nails it in 2018, with saturated, almost sappy kirsch, plum and blackberry preserve flavors at the core, inlaid with sweet tobacco, singed vanilla, worn cedar and fresh earth notes. A bolt of graphite provides support. Concentrated, long and very complete. One of the high water marks of the vintage.
(71 Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 Merlot, 5 Cabernet Franc, 4 Petit Verdot) | 50% new oak (the sample I tasted was 100% new oak) | 14% alc | 3.85 pH | 88 IPT This is certainly more complex than the second label, as one would expect, but this is a more backward and more introverted wine, with less showy fruit and more graininess and density than I ever thought I would see in this vintage. There is obviously a lot of oak in this sample and there is also an amazing amount of skin tannin as the IPT figure suggests, but there is ample fruit here and given time it will most likely fall into harmony. Not the easiest of the wines to taste, this is a combative Comtesse and it will most likely be a long-lived wine, but I sense good potential here even if this sample seems rather tense and stern.
The 2018 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot with a pH of 3.85, an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 87 and 14% alcohol. The grand vin represents 50% of the crop this year. Deep garnet-purple colored, it charges out of the gate with bold scents of baked plums, ripe blackcurrants and wild blueberries, followed by hints of cedar chest, pencil lead, bouquet garni and charcuterie, plus a waft of lilacs. The medium-bodied palate is beautifully crafted with its seamless freshness and firm, grainy tannins supporting the compelling, finely knit black fruits and savory nuances, finishing on a lingering fragrant-earth note. This will need a good 5 years to come around and should easily cellar for another 30 years or more. Drink: 2026 - 2056.
A deep and intense young red with blackberries and blueberries, as well as green olives and hints of fresh tobacco. But really black fruit. Full-bodied, tight and integrated with a refreshing and harmonious finish. Just floating on the palate. Great tannin backbone to this. A classic. Another flying carpet.
The grand vin represents 50% of the crop this year. The 2018 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is made up of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot with a pH of 3.85, an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 87 and 14% alcohol. Very deep purple-black colored, it is like hitting a brick wall to begin, needing considerable coaxing to start to reveal notes of crushed black cherries, warm blackberries, ripe blackcurrants and chocolate cake with nuances of violets, rose hip tea, charcuterie, tapenade and incense with wafts of new leather and iron ore. Full-bodied, concentrated and completely laden with tightly wound black fruit and savory layers, the palate gives a rock-solid backbone of firm, super ripe, super fine-grained tannins and soft background freshness, finishing very long with a veritable display of mineral fireworks.
The top wine is the 2018 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse De Lalande, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Compared to the 2010 by director Nicolas Glumineau, this saturated purple-colored effort offers the classic elegance and regal style of the estate as well as plenty of pure Pauillac character. Crème de cassis, liquid violets, charcoal, and scorched earth nuances all give way to a full-bodied, deep, layered 2018 that has remarkable purity, building yet ultra-fine tannins, flawless balance, and a great, great finish. It's in the same class as the magical 2016, and while I suspect it will be approachable with just short-term cellaring, it's going to age for 40 years or more. This estate has been on a qualitative roll over the past 5-6 years thanks to the talents of Glumineau, and this is unquestionably another great wine from him and his team.