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Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2010
With signs of new wood on the palate, this is a wine that maintains the polished feel of the wines from Pichon Lalande. It has a stronger presence of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than in the past, making it more structured than its predecessors, with a dominance of black currant flavor. It shows the soft side of the vintage, but is also meant for aging. Cellar Selection.
The 2010 Pichon Lalande is performing extremely well and at the top of the range I predicted several years ago. A final blend dominated much more by Cabernet Sauvignon than usual (66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot), the wine is a tighter, more tannic and structured version of this famed Pauillac, which often tends to have more of a St-Julien-like personality than most Pauillacs. Structured, backward and tannic, yet showing a fat mid-palate that is more savory, broader and more expansive than I remember from barrel, this wine is somewhat reminiscent of the 1986, given the Cabernet Sauvignon domination of the blend. Full-bodied, impressively endowed, and less sexy and velvety than normal, this is a somewhat different style of Pichon Lalande than most readers have been used to. Whether you like it more or less will depend on your point of view, but this wine, unlike most Pichon Lalandes, needs a good 5-7 years of cellaring and should keep for 30+ years.
This is a pretty and refined Pichon Lalande. Aromas of blueberries and blackberries with hints of earth and mushrooms. Full body, with velvety tannins and a juicy finish. I slightly prefer the 2009. Better in 2017.
This features an intense core of plush-textured blackberry, boysenberry and black currant fruit, steeped with mulled spice, singed apple wood and anise notes. A strong, loamy feel courses through the finish, with latent grip. Very solid, but not where this wine should be in this vintage. Best from 2015 through 2030.
Good ruby-red. Sexy but youthfully restrained aromas of dark berries, black cherry, violet, licorice, graphite, herbs, bitter chocolate and menthol. Densely packed but quite firm, even a bit pinched, with a slight tart edge to its fine-grained flavors of black raspberry, licorice and fresh herbs. Juicy, nicely balanced, elegant wine with silky tannins and excellent length. But comes across as almost too polished, and a bit herbal today. This needs time in bottle to unwind.
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.
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by breezy ocean fog...
With a dry and mild climate cooled significantly by breezy ocean fog, Santa Barbara County is a grape-grower’s dream. Part of the larger Central Coast appellation, Santa Barbara is home to six separate AVAs—Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, and its four sub-AVAs Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District, and Happy Canyon. The conditions here provide an opportunity for nearly effortless production of high-quality cool-climate wines. This is also the site of the 2004 film Sideways, which caused Pinot Noir’s popularity to skyrocket and brought new acclaim to the region.
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the stars of Santa Barbara, marked by trademark racy acidity, crisp Sauvignon Blanc, and savory Syrah. The region is also home to many young and enthusiastic winemakers eager to experiment with less common varieties including Chenin Blanc, Grüner Veltliner, Trousseau Gris, Gamay, and Cabernet Franc, making it an exciting area to watch.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine...
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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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.
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.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.