Château Pichon-Lalande Réserve de la Comtesse
The Wine Advocate
November 30, 2018, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
“The 2016 Reserve de la Comtesse is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Deep garnet-purple colored, it leaps from the glass with beautiful kirsch, cassis and redcurrants with hints of red roses, black tea, black pepper, chocolate box and cloves. The palate is medium-bodied, very elegant and fresh with gorgeous silken tannins and loads of bright fruit, finishing spicy.”
The second growth of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, the Réserve de la Comtesse, was created and sold for the first time in 1973. Second growths represent between 20 percent and 50 percent of the total production of the Chateau. From the same soil, the second growth benefits from the technology and reputation of the great wine. The archives kept at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande mention the existence of a second wine as early as the 19th century.
Despite all of the surprises, fears and doubts, 2015 turned out to be a remarkable vintage. The growing cycle took place in perfect conditions up until some extremely dry weather in July, leading to worries over low yields. The rain and associated fungal diseases that we usually fear turned out to work for us from mid-July to mid-September, enabling the vine to reach optimum ripeness levels. The wines are distinctive and exceptionally precise yet also dense and restrained. They remind us of the extremely dense yet ethereal Bordeaux’s of the 1980s, with an excellent aging potential yet able to be enjoyed in their youth.
What a vintage! A complex nose with lots of present aromas. Intense oral notes of rose and violet as well as wild basil and rosemary. A lovely complex, savory, rounded palate. Flavors of strawberry, morello cherry and white tobacco. Fine and well-tuned, long and unctuous; well-structured, well-balanced and intense.
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 the 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 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.
Varietals: 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot. 4% Cabernet Franc
Wine Alcohol: 13.1%
Soil Composition: Gravel, clay and sand
Average Vine Age: 35 years
New Oak: 40%
Aging: 12 months