2010 Reserve de La Comtesse
“Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is arguably the single hottest château on Bordeaux’s Left Bank right now.” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous and formerly wine review for Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.
Mr. Galloni’s quote is no small praise coming from the wine region of the world that makes the greatest of great Cabernets, Merlots, and red blends based on those varieties. And of course, if you have any doubt, look at the prices of the best of the best of Bordeaux.
But the quote also deserves a little unpacking for those of you who are new to the Bordeaux game. Surely, if you’ve been buying Bordeaux for 30 years on futures just scroll down to shop the prices, no worries. But otherwise, here is the gist:
The chateau is Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, a second growth in Pauillac, Bordeaux, France. The long name is due to royal daughter inheritance, giving you the Comtesse and Pichon Longueville, and said daughter’s marriage, giving you de Lalande added post-matrimony. Often just shortened to Comtesse. So that’s the name.
Comtesse is a second growth that shares a contiguous vineyard with First Growth Chateau Latour. Indeed, from the tasting room and offices of Comtesse, you are surrounded by Latour’s vineyards. And Latour will cost $700 a bottle these days – so this is rarefied territory indeed.
Finally the vintages – we have two sensational vintages on offer today. Yes, the Bordelaise proclaimed them both “vintage of the century” when they were released. And if you can stomach a little hyperbole (maybe while drinking some Comtesse), I believe that to be entirely true. Both vintages were extraordinary for Bordeaux, producing a fantastic set of wines.
So what we have for you today is a two-part offer – a wine to drink this Christmas, and a wine to drink for Christmas in 10, 20, and maybe even 50 years from now. The first is Reserve de La Comtesse, the Second wine (meaning forward-drinking) of the estate from 2010. The next offer is the main wine itself, Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande from 2015. The 2015 is to lay down, the 2010 is to drink now. Here are these stunning wines:
The 2010 Reserve de La Comtesse opens with a pure and expressive bouquet of black cherries, blackberries, crème de cassis and touches of sous bois minerality. Comtesse’s vineyards are indeed contiguous with Chateau Latour’s, and on the palate I think the terroir shows through regardless of the weather: There is a sense of grace, a harmonious inclusion of graphite minerality wrapping around the core of fruit, but also giving enough space for savory aromas to emerge. The palate is as complex as it sounds, and it finishes like a great Pauillac should: with style, elegance, and profound beauty wrapped around muscular power. As Berry Bros. & Rudd note: “With its strict selection, and high proportion of Cabernet, it is a must for any fan of Bordeaux.”
Now the Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande: “The 2015 is fabulous. Super-ripe, dark and exotic, the 2015 will surely need a bit of time to shed some baby fat, but is utterly magnificent. Wow! The 2015 Pichon Comtesse is a towering wine, as it has always been. Rich, sumptuous and totally hedonistic, the 2015 melds together intense fruit with structure. Far from an easygoing wine, the 2015 is going to need a number of years and will then drink well for several decades. Grilled herbs, smoke, new leather and licorice are some of the many notes that are layered into the dark-fleshed fruit for complexity. As good as the 2015 is today, it also has room to grow. Technical Director Nicolas Glumineau has done a tremendous job with the 2015s at Pichon Comtesse. 98 points.”- Vinous
There you have it. You don’t have to purchase both, but if you purchase either, you are in for a wonderful Christmas, for yourself or some very lucky someone…