The estate was founded in 1689 by Pierre de Mazure de Rauzan and the vineyard acquired its name a few years later when his daughter Thérèse received it as part of her dowry on her marriage to Jacques de Pichon Longueville, the first President of the Parliament of Bordeaux. It was divided upon the death of Baron Joseph in 1850 between his five children. However, only two of his children finally inherited the vineyards; Raoul and Virginie. Virginie married Count Henri de Lalande, giving her the title, and took over control of the domain. Her passion and the quality of her management made her a strong personality in the Médoc and she very much left her mark on the domain. In the 1855 classification, Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande acquired the status of 2eme Cru Classé.
The 76 hectares of this vineyard border the property of Château Latour and stretch south of Pauillac towards the Commune of Saint Julien, whence it gets its extraordinary charm. The exceptional character of the wines produced here, are distinguished by their elegance and finesse.
After reception of the harvest, destemming and crushing, the grapes are placed in temperature-controlled wooden or stainless-steel vats, of variable capacity, allowing a precise and rigorous selection by plot. The heating and cooling system enables the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations to be controlled with precision. The vatting period ranges from 18 to 24 days depending on the year. Frequent pump-overs are performed to extract maximum colour and tannins from the skins.
Once blended, the wine is aged in oak barrels sourced from the Allier and Nièvre forests in France. The oak refines the wine, adding its own aromas and tannins, whilst allowing it to acquire the soft richness that is lacking in its youth, thanks to the gradual, natural contact with air through the pores of the wood.
The Grand Vin of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is aged 18 months in oak barrels; a little more than half are brand new; the other half are second-fill barrels. The barrels have a medium toast, which enhances their aromas. A harmonious balance of oak and wine is always sought.
Racking takes place every three months up to the bottling. Traditional fining with egg whites is still carried out to clarify the wine.
There are vintages that traverse time and remain a true point of reference for our estates. At Pichon Comtesse, 2018 will undoubtedly and in every sense be one of those! A vintage in all extremes, uniting several vintages in one, 2018 is a delight, an enrichment of experience and cultivation of our passion for winemaking, a vector of emotions.
After a cold and wet Winter, the bud break was late, around mid-April. A relatively mild April to June allowed for flowering at the end of May, marked by several storms in this period creating an unparalleled pressure of mildew. Pichon Comtesse vineyard, thankfully had little coulure and was spared hail damage. Hot and dry weather from mid-July resulted in a uniform veraison; beginning on July 28th for the Merlot, it finishes on August 14th for the Cabernet and Petit Verdot. From September 13th to October 11th, the harvest was carried out in excellent conditions and each parcel was picked at optimum ripeness.
A typical Pauillac wine on the nose, offering a complexity of cedar and tobacco, but also blackcurrant, raspberry and a hint of clove and violet. The same flavors in the mouth of raspberries, violet and peony but not overpowering. This fine wine, distinguishes itself between a balance of great flavor and density. The tannic structure is distinct, fine and firm, with a long, soft, savory finish.
Lamb, red meats, cheese, truffle and chocolate.
Serve at room temperature.
March 31, 2021, James Molesworth
“Displays a seriously deep well of dark currant, blackberry paste and plum preserves fruit that needs some time to unwind fully, as it’s shrouded in warm earth, tobacco, singed cedar, sweet bay leaf and savory notes. There’s a ramrod of graphite through the entire wine too, adding to its strident, structured feel. A real brick house. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2030 through 2050. From France.”
March 2021, Neal Martin
“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.”
November 2020, Jane Anson
“Lovely grilled and graphite notes right off the bat; this is big and muscular, and extremely Pauillac. There is grace here too, with raspberry purée, cassis, fig and blackberry fruits set against charcoal and fine tannins that quickly build up to suggest how well this will age. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak used. 13% press wine.”
The Wine Advocate
April 2019, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“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.”
AOC Pauillac, Bordeaux
71% Cabernet Sauvignon
5% Cabernet Franc
1% Petit Verdot