The 2020 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is very demonstrative out of the gates, bursting from the glass without any coaxing to exhibit aromas of sweet cassis and blueberries mingled with notions of clove, violets and lilac. Medium to full-bodied, velvety and polished, with a seamless, charming profile that exhibits no hard edges, it concludes with a nicely defined, spice-inflected finish. It's a superb exercise in haut couture winemaking, even if, to my palate, the 2019 offers a deeper dive into the estate's D.N.A.
Since joining Pichon Lalande just after the 2012 harvest, Nicolas Glumineau has made a number of changes. In the vineyards, Cabernet Sauvignon is increasingly displacing Merlot, and the soils are worked less frequently. Cover crops are employed, canopy management has evolved, with both fruiting canes now trained in the same direction—Glumineau would like to trial pruning "Guyot simple" if Pauillac's cahier de charges (appellation rules) permitted it, and 27 hectares of the estate's 102 are being farmed organically. A new, highly functional winery and cellar equips him with stainless steel tronconic tanks adapted to parcel-by-parcel vinification. Cooperage choices, too, have been refined (some 65% new oak is the order of the day), and the duration of élevage has been extended to 18-19 months in barrel before racking to tank before bottling. The result? Even as Cabernet Sauvignon occupies a more and more important place in the blend, Pichon Lalande has never been more seamless and sensual, exhibiting a degree of structural refinement combined with remarkable complexity and depth of flavor.
Drink Date:2022 - 2045