I recently had a fantastic opportunity to taste a mixed vertical of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with Nicolas Glumineau. Such finesse, elegance and balance, in youth and with age. But of course Pichon Lalande’s neighbour, Pichon Baron, makes some awesome wines as well.
If Pichon Lalande is finesse and femininity personified, then the Cabernet Sauvignon based wines of Pichon-Longueville Baron are characteristically more muscular, tannic and full-bodied in general. Owned by the insurance giant AXA since 1987, and managed since 2000 by Christian Seely, this 73 hectare Pauillac estate lying on deep gravel soils consists of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 5% Cabernet Franc plantings.
I was very pleased to get the opportunity to taste and re-evaluate the impressive Pichon Baron 2010 recently, which is undoubtedly a great year for both of the Pichons. Only time will tell, but the suave, concentrated, fleshy elegance of the 2009 vintage may well serve the elegant style of Pichon Lalande better while the block buster 2010 vintage with its pure, ripe, dense fruit expressions, coupled with serious weight, power and structure will almost certainly compliment the masculine style of Pichon Baron better. Either way, it’s always thrilling to retaste epic vintages like 2009 and 2010.
Tasting Note: Beautifully bold and confident, this is a big dense, power packed expression. Brimming with dark fruits, licorice, black plums, black cherry, creme de cassis and subtle earthy forest fruits, there is still a fairly overt bruleed oak note with nuances of brown toast, espresso and sweet wet tobacco. Acids are fresh and linear, giving extra frame to the dense, ripe, powerful creamy tannins. Layer upon layer of unctuous black current and cassis roll off the tongue with a generous salt and pepper seasoning of spicy cedary oak and graphite lead pencil notes. This is a monumental wine from this Chateau that will undoubtedly continue to improve in bottle for 30 to 40 years.
(Wine Safari Score: 98/100 Greg Sherwood MW)