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Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2008

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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Stylish wine, balanced, intensely elegant. It has freshness and also weight, encased in a structure that is poised, beautifully integrating black currant fruit and chocolate flavors.
CG 93
Connoisseurs' Guide
Vying for top honors with the wonderfully rich Chateau Lynch Bages, Pichon Longueville Lalande is an outstanding claret of real pedigree whose immense, optimally ripe fruit and richness come with near-perfect balance. Big-bodied but graceful even as its ample tannins take hold, it shows uncanny sophistication even while being youthfully rough at the edges. It is a bit of a crowd-pleaser even now, but its very best lies at least eight to ten years ahead.
JS 93
James Suckling
A tight and tangy red with currant, spice and dried mushroom character. Full body, chewy tannins and a fresh finish. This needs time to open. Decant two hours or wait until 2020.
JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2008 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a complex, elegant wine that offers pretty notes of blueberries, violets, plums, and flowers, with even a hint of menthol with time in the glass. Beautifully balanced, medium-bodied, and vibrant, with good acidity and moderate tannins, it shows the elegant, seamless style of the estate beautifully and can be drunk any time over the coming 20 years or more. The blend of the 2008 is 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot that represent a selection of 38% of the total production.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2008 is a beauty in the style of the 1988. Although not performing as well as I predicted last year, it is unquestionably an outstanding effort as well as one of the better values from Pichon Lalande in many years. Its dense plum/purple hue is accompanied by sweet aromas of red and black currants, charcoal, herbs, underbrush and a hint of truffles. This medium-bodied, rich, concentrated blend of 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc is an elegant, supple Pichon Lalande that can be drunk now or cellared for 15-20 years.
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Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

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Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, France
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The Pichon Longueville estate goes back to 1688-1689. In 1850, Virginie de Pichon Longueville, Countess de Lalande, and her two sisters inherited three-fifths of the vineyard from their father. This took on the name of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. In 1978, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, daughter of Edouard Miailhe, in turn inherited this beautiful property and devoted herself entirely to continuing the tradition of quality wine.

Just two families have been responsible for maintaining this wine's superb reputation for three centuries. Bordering on Chateau Latour, Second Growth Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is located in the southern part of Pauillac, near Saint-Julien. The unusual choice of grape varieties (there is a much higher percentage of Merlot than average) is a partial explanation for this wine's outstanding personality, marked by elegance, balance and finesse. Traditional methods and modern technology combine to make the most of the estate's prestigious soil. The international reputation of this "Super Second" Growth can be attributed to unfailing quality and dynamic owners.

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Pauillac

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The leader on the Left Bank in number of first growth classified producers within its boundaries, Pauillac has more than any of the other appellations, at three of the five. Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild border St. Estephe on its northern end and Chateau Latour is at Pauillac’s southern end, bordering St. Julien.

While the first growths are certainly some of the better producers of the Left Bank, today they often compete with some of the “lower ranked” producers (second, third, fourth, fifth growth) in quality and value. The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification that goes back to 1855. The finest chateaux in that year were judged on the basis of reputation and trading price; changes in rank since then have been miniscule at best. Today producers such as Chateau Pontet-Canet, Chateau Grand Puy-Lacoste, Chateau Lynch-Bages, among others (all fifth growth) offer some of the most outstanding wines in all of Bordeaux.

Defining characteristics of fine wines from Pauillac (i.e. Cabernet-based Bordeaux Blends) include inky and juicy blackcurrant, cedar or cigar box and plush or chalky tannins.

Layers of gravel in the Pauillac region are key to its wines’ character and quality. The layers offer excellent drainage in the relatively flat topography of the region allowing water to run off into “jalles” or streams, which subsequently flow off into the Gironde.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

KHM103552_2008 Item# 103552