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Chateau Pichon Comtesse de Lalande

pichon-lalande.jpgWithout doubt one of the prettiest, most majestic Chateau in all of Bordeaux.  Historical records refer to the creation of the estate in the later 17th century, specifically recording ‘forty very gravelly plots’ at Saint-Lambert next to Pauillac, being named the following century.  It remained in the same family’s ownership for 250 years.  After the 1850 death of the then-owner, the estate was split up equally amongst his five children, and not long after that the estate split in to two distinct properties (hence the two Pichons), Pichon Comtesse de Lalande and Pichon-Longueville.

Long considered to produce one of the most elegant styles of all northern-Medoc wines, those of Comtesse de Lalande are often called ‘feminine’ in style.  How much this is due to female influence over nearly two centuries of ownership/management is an intriguing question, but the wines so possess a suppleness and elegance uncommon to its neighbours.  


There are some 85 hectares that comprise the estate, including a surprising 11 hectares within the commune of St.-Julien.  Whilst the Chateau is superbly sited beside Latour, beside the Gironde, in fact most of the vines are further inland - the majority of the vines surrounding the Chateau actually belong to Latour.  The vines are planted to 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, a surprisingly high (for Pauillac) 35% Merlot - which undoubtedly accounts for the wine’s unusual suppleness - 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot.


pichon-lalande-library.jpgHarvested grapes are sorted both in the vineyards and prior to entering the winery, where they are 100% destemmed and crushed, and fermented in 33 stainless steel vats.  Malolactic fermentation also takes place in tank.  Frequent pumpovers are made to ensure good levels of extraction, and take place over 18-24 days, depending on vintage conditions.  In December the blending is completed, including selection for the grand vin, before the wine is placed in oak, 50% 

new, where the wine remains for 15-18 months, being racked every three months.  Traditional egg-white fining and a light filtration is undertaking, before the wine is bottled around June.

The bottles used for the grand vin are specially embossed with the coats of arms of the Pichon-Longueville and Lalande families.