Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2018 – Duxieme Grand Cru Classé
- Wine Spectator – James Molesworth (97–100)
This one nails it in 2018, with saturated, almost sappy kirsch, plum and blackberry preserve flavors at the core, inlaid with sweet tobacco, singed vanilla, worn cedar and fresh earth notes. A bolt of graphite provides support. Concentrated, long and very complete. One of the high water marks of the vintage.
- Decanter – Jane Anson (99)
This has to be up there with one of the most seductive Comtesses on record with layers of alternating softness and concentration combined with a lot of 2016’s elegance and power.
The nose on this stands out a mile, getting it right up on the podium before you even take a sip. Rich raspberries combine with peonies and curls of woodsmoke while the appellation’s signature slate, cedar, liquorice and tannic grip slowly builds up on the palate.
I’ve tasted this several times with each conveying a juiciness and elegance that is quite different in style to many in Pauillac this year – it’s a 98-100 for me, and I’m already looking forward to re-tasting it in bottle.
1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak used. 13% press wine. 3.75pH, 88IPT – higher even than the 80IPT in 2016.
- James Suckling – (98 – 99)
A deep and intense young red with blackberries and blueberries, as well as green olives and hints of fresh tobacco. But really black fruit. Full-bodied, tight and integrated with a refreshing and harmonious finish. Just floating on the palate. Great tannin backbone to this. A classic. Another flying carpet
- · Wine Advocate – Lisa Perrotti-Brown (97 – 99)
The grand vin represents 50% of the crop this year. The 2018 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is made up of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot with a pH of 3.85, an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 87 and 14% alcohol. Very deep purple-black colored, it is like hitting a brick wall to begin, needing considerable coaxing to start to reveal notes of crushed black cherries, warm blackberries, ripe blackcurrants and chocolate cake with nuances of violets, rose hip tea, charcuterie, tapenade and incense with wafts of new leather and iron ore. Full-bodied, concentrated and completely laden with tightly wound black fruit and savory layers, the palate gives a rock-solid backbone of firm, super ripe, super fine-grained tannins and soft background freshness, finishing very long with a veritable display of mineral fireworks.
“I just don’t know where it came from,” Pichon Lalande’s Technical Director, Nicolas Glumineau, told me. “So much rain. Six months of almost daily rain! So, there came a point when you had to ask, what kind of wine can we make in 2018? Then from mid-July it abruptly switched. It was warm and dry—such contrast was very unusual. So, what kind of wine were we going to make? We wanted everything to ripen perfectly. Every day, we could see the shape of the berries changing in the run-up to harvest, shrinking, and we wanted to make something pure with freshness. We harvested over four weeks. I think 2018 is between 2009 and 2010. It makes me think of 1989. People ask me what kind of wine do you want to make at Pichon? This is it.”