Pichon Lalande 2012
Tasting Notes Pichon Lalande 2012
Focused and very pretty with ultra-fine tannins and dark chocolate, dark fruit. Fine texture. A beautiful center palate and finesse here. Creamy tannins. 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.
Coming in at a lofty 13.2% natural alcohol, it offers up scents of black currants, white chocolate, berries, cedar and forest floor. Sweet tannin, a round opulence and medium body result in a classic, supple-textured Pauillac that should drink well young and keep for 12-15 years. It is very much in keeping with what most readers would consider the 'house style' of Pichon Lalande, despite the fact that they are moving toward more Cabernet Sauvignon and less Petit Verdot in the final blend. Fifty percent of the crop made it into the final blend of 2012 Pichon Lalande, which includes more and more Cabernet Sauvignon under the new ownership of the Roederer Champagne firm. The 2012 is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.
I tasted the Pichon-Lalande three times over two weeks and it pains me to say that in 2012, the Grand Vin is not the success it ought to have been considering the percentage of Merlot in the vineyard. That is not to say that great effort was expended. There were two green harvests during the growing season which means that the yields were just 32hl/ha. The Grand Vin is a blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot harvested from 1 October until 18th October. They used three sorting: by hand, optical sorting and through the Ocillys de-stemmer The bouquet is a little disjointed and clearly does not possess the fruit intensity of its peers (through numerous comparisons). It just feels a little green and muted, startled by the growing season. The palate is medium-bodied with a pointed, slightly harsh tannic opening, then the wine dips where the fruit ought to be and those tannins just dominate and slightly dry out the texture on the finish. It is less Cabernet-driven than the 2011, which was 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, but I feel that had they gone further and reduced the Cabernet Sauvignon further to allow the superior Merlot to shine, it would have made a better Grand Vin. I hope to re-taste this after bottling