Château Pichon-Longueville Baron 2me Cru Classé, Pauillac
The grand vin of Château Pichon Baron is a 2nd Cru Classé, ranked in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. The fruit for this wine is sourced from the oldest vines grown on those historic blocks of the Pauillac estate.
In 1850, the then larger estate was divided into two smaller estates, the other being that of Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. In 1987, Pichon Baron was purchased by AXA Insurance, adding the estate to their large wine holdings.
Pichon Baron’s 73 hectares are planted to around two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon and one-third Merlot with small-holdings of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
92-94/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Deep colour. Intense inky/ plum/ cassis / vanilla aromas . Well concentrated sweet cassis, plum flavours, fine slinky dry tannins and plenty of savoury complexity. Touch of ginger/ vanillla. Elegantly proportioned wine but quite muscular. Tannin plume.
90-92+/100 Robert Parker Jr. This splendid Pauillac estate’s 2011 exhibits an impressively saturated ruby/purple color as well as notes of spring flowers interwoven with creme de cassis, licorice and background incense and toasty oak. The tannins are firm and the wine is medium-bodied and rich with layers of fruit and extract as well as a long finish. An outstanding example of the vintage, it will need 3-4 years of cellaring and should drink well for 15-20 years.
17.5/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson. Since 2000, there's been a more consistent separation of plots. Grand vin now always includes the old Cabernet vines on the plateau overlooking Latour. 50% of production went into the grand vin this year, 45% into Les Tourelles. 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot. 80% new oak. Colour of elderberry juice, black core. Slight dusty note on the nose, touch of cedar freshness and underlying cassis purity and an attractive savoury dark edge even though there's a slight note of dark chocolate too. Lots of pure cassis through the heart of the wine. Relatively stern but not at all hard. Lithe, fresh, graphite scented. Deft, full of fruit but not overly fruity. No excess of weight but not thin. Actually quite rich for the vintage. Finely balanced.
17.5/20 Steven Spurrier, Decanter. Ripe Cabernet cassis fruit, very good structure and length, firm Pauillac elegance. Drink 2017-2030.
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 flavours 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 flavours, but are more approachable immediately upon release.