Pichon Lalande 2018
Tasting Notes Pichon Lalande 2018
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.
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.
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.
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.—J.M.
The 2018 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is powerful, dense and explosive, with a real sense of vertical lift that conveys energy. Grilled herbs, lavender, inky blue/purplish fruit and spice notes develop in the glass, but it is the wine's balance, purity of tannin and finish that stand out most. In 2018, so many wines lean towards extreme versions of themselves, but Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande remains very much within its classic parameters. The 2018 doesn't quite offer the visceral thrill of the very best recent vintages, but it comes very close. At its purest essence, the 2018 is very Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The en primeur sample is shown from 100% new oak, although the wine will have about 60% new wood. Tasted four times.