Château Pichon-Lalande Château Pichon-Lalande
October 7, 2018, Jane Anson
“They practice biodynamic methods across 6ha of the total 76ha in production here. Cabernet dominant, it's very Pauillac in style and totally lives up to its en primeur promise. The tannins deepen and tighten and here we are, smack-bang in the northern Médoc. This is youthful, rich, powerful and intense; very good quality. It gets better and better as you return to it, and I'm really impressed with the texture and depth of the silky-smooth palate: pure cassis notes alongside hawthorn, hedgerow and liquorice. Matured in 60% new oak.”
Founded in 1689, Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has quite a spectacular history. The quality and elegance of the wines have been the maxim of all the château‘s owners since master winemaker Joseph de Pichon Longueville‘s reign in the 18th century.
For over thirty years, owner May Eliane de Lencquesaing modernized the château‘s installations in the truest respect for tradition. Her indefatigable passion elevated Pichon to a level equaled only by its consistency all over the world. In October of 2006, Lencquesaing joined forces with Champagne Louis Roederer, thus opening a new chapter in the long and magnificent history of Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.
The unique encepagement and the twelve hectares of vines situated on the soils of Saint-Julien endow the wines of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with exceptional complexity, elegance, and longevity compared with the other crus of the Pauillac appellation.
After reception of the harvest, de-stemming 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; half of them 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.
As part of the collection of great vintages of Pichon Comtesse, 2016 offers a powerful, intense and elegant wine. Intensely floral notes of violet, wild blackcurrant and raspberries and spices. The wine is completed with a long finish and smooth tannins.
An early bud break at the end of March followed by two rather cold and wet months. The vine cycle slowed down and was subject to a heavy dose of mildew. The flowering was a bit late (around June 10) while a very long, dry summer arrived on June 20. In general the veraison was late and slow to develop and carried on until August 23 for the petit verdot. September and October were very dry and sunny months which provided excellent conditions for ripening. The optimal maturity of each parcel was achieved during the harvest between the September 20 and October 20.
"Nature knows how to reward the winemaker who works hard to look after his land. 2016 is an exceptional vintage and joins the prestigious list of other outstanding years like 1959, 1982, 1996, 2009… 2016."
- Nicolas Glumineau
Varietals: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc
Wine Alcohol: 13.32%
Harvest Start Date: September 20, 2016
Harvest End Date: October 20, 2016
Soil Composition: Gravel, clay and sand
Average Vine Age: 35 years
Aging: 18 months in oak barrels, 60% new oak