93-95/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Medium deep colour. Intense aromatic blackcurrant/ polish/ lead pencil aromas and flavours with a compelling sinuous structure. Supple/slinky tannins and long savoury complexity. Very fresh and vigorous wine.
92-94/100 Robert Parker Jr. Only 40% of the crop made it into the grand vin, which achieved 12.95% natural alcohol. The final blend for the 2011 Pichon Lalande was 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. Under the administration of the new owners, the Merlot component has been dramatically reduced in favor of more Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend. A strong effort, the 2011 boasts a dense ruby/purple color and abundant aromas of black currants intermixed with unsmoked cigar tobacco, serious body, more concentration than most of the classified growths, and a bigger, more structured style that may suggest a subtle change in the winemaking philosophy at this estate. This impressive wine is one of the vintage’s most interesting efforts. It should drink well for 15-20 years.
17.5/20 Steven Spurrier, Decanter. Very fine expression of Cabernet cassis, lovely refreshingly lifted fruit, great elegance and charm and hidden power to last. Drink 2016-2035.
16.5/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot. Very dark with a black core. Cedary and dark and pure. Bright, fresh fruit aromas. A little bit herbaceous on nose and the palate. Pretty leafy and quite green on the palate, the Cabernets making themselves felt. Very fresh, lightly structured, savoury, elegant. Not a great deal of depth but juicy in the middle and it is harmonious. Lingers though it really is a little bit green on the finish. Firm and pretty dry.
Pauillac is Bordeaux’s most acclaimed appellation, the only one with three Premier Cru properties: Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Mouton-Rothschild and Château Latour. These and other Pauillac chateaux produce robust, full-flavored and long-lived red wines made from Cabernet-based blends. Though winemaking techniques and microclimates vary throughout Pauillac, producing some variations in style, classic Pauillac wines have juicy flavors of blackcurrant and cedar, often with coffee, chocolate and graphite notes. Pauillac, part of the Médoc region on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has gravelly and well-drained soils that force vines to grow long and strong roots. Struggling a bit for water, the vines produce grapes with high tannins and concentrated juices. Nearby rivers and the Atlantic Ocean modulate temperatures, preventing the grapes from ripening too quickly. Such grapes make powerful wines that may age and improve for decades. However, in Pauillac, as in other old-world wine regions, some winemakers are working to develop softer red wines that maintain the local wines’ traditional substance and flavors, but are more approachable immediately upon release.