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1989 Pichon Lalande

1989 Pichon Lalande

96 VM

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Critic Reviews

The second part of this tasting kicks off with the 1989 Pichon Lalande. Off the charts aromatic intensity, silky tannins and exceptional finesse give the 1989 much of its considerable allure. Crushed flowers, sweet red fruit, tobacco, cedar and incense are some of the many notes that waft from the glass, but it is the wine’s textural finesse that elevates it into the realm of the profound. Wonderfully alive and delineated in every way, the 1989 is one of many highlights on this magical afternoon.

Antonio Galloni | 96 AG
This has entered its secondary phase, with alluring notes of black tea, steeped plum, mulled spice and warm pain d’épices emerging from the core of supple plum, cassis and black cherry fruit. The long, fine-grained finish lets a perfumy singed cedar accent linger. A beauty.--Non-blind Pichon Lalande vertical (July 2014). Drink now through 2030.

Wine Spectator | 95 WS
(Château Pichon-Lalande) Paired up with the 1990 at our vertical tasting, the more powerful and flamboyant side of the 1989 comes through rather dramatically. Along with the magical 1982, this is my favorite vintage of Pichon-Lalande from what must be its most successful overall decade in its long and illustrious history. The bouquet is pure, still sappily youthful and oh, so promising, soaring from the glass in a blend of sweet dark berries, a hint of plumminess, menthol, cigar smoke, coffee bean, gravelly soil tones, chocolate and toasty new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and plush on the attack, with a great core of fruit, lovely mineral drive under the layers of fruit, ripe, buried tannins and outstanding focus and grip on the long, beautifully balanced and nascently complex finish. The last time I drank this wine it seemed like it was really starting to enter its plateau, but here at our vertical, paired alongside of the à point 1990, the relative youth of the 1989 is more apparent and I would be inclined to still give this great vintage of Pichon a few more years in the cellar to further unfurl. I clearly underestimated its potential longevity the last time I drank a bottle of this wine, as it has decades and decades of life still ahead of it! (Drink between 2022-2075)

John Gilman | 95+ JG
Approaching full maturity, Pichon-Lalande’s1989 has a deep ruby/plum color with some lightening at the edge. The nose offers sweet plums and creme de cassis intermixed with vanilla and graphite. The wine is lush, medium to full-bodied, and layered with texture, low acidity, sweet tannin, and the hallmark purity and elegance this estate routinely produces. Some tannins remain, but this wine has reached its plateau of maturity, where it should remain for another 10-15 years.

Robert Parker | 93 RP

Wine Details for 1989 Pichon Lalande

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Left Bank
Appellation Pauillac

Overview

Producer Chateau Pichon Lalande : With 102 hectares under vine in a privileged location in the southern part of the Pauillac appellation a few strides from the Gironde Estuary, hails the esteemed estate of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande. Here, the prized soils of perhaps the greatest terroir of all Bordeaux tell a story. The story of a grand and colorful history dating back to 1694 when a dowry bestowed would, unknowingly, come to be recognized as one of the greatest wine estates in the world.

The formation of the original vineyard was created by Pierre de Mazure de Rauzan in 1694. His daughter, Therese, received the estate as a dowry when she married Jacques de Pichon Longueville, who was not only famous for his efforts as a chateau owner but also for being elected as the first President of the Bordeaux Parliament. Years later, at 19 years of age, Baron Joseph de Pichon Longueville succeeded his mother in taking over Pichon Lalande.

Joseph de Pichon Longueville remained in control of the estate for 70 years, witnessing three French revolutions, five kings, two republics and one empire. His undaunted efforts during trying times, awarded his commitment with a magnificent wine estate with 50 hectares under vine (at the time). On the eve of his death, he split the estate equally between his five children, two-fifths to his sons and three to his daughters. This event would change the landscape of the Medoc forever.

During the 18th century, the wine growing influence at Pichon Lalande was feminine in nature as it was managed by the three daughters. Perhaps this explains the wine’s sensuous qualities. After a few years the estate was officially broken up and thus creating Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron. The properties had two separate identities and ended up making very different styles of wine.

The fruits of Baron Joseph’s efforts were recognized in the Official Medoc Classification of 1855, when Pichon Lalande was awarded Second Growth status. The estate would continue to be controlled by the same family until 1925 when it was purchased by the Miailhe family. Pichon Lalande would enter into the modern era under the tutelage of the Miailhe family’s tireless efforts in bringing global recognition to not only Pichon Lalande but to the entire region.

The estate would be sold a final time in 2007 to Champagne Louis Roerderer, a family owned company managed by Frederic Rouzaud. Today, the third family in three centuries presides over the destiny of Chateau Pichon Lalande with the aim of perpetuating the excellence of this great Pauillac wine.

With close proximity to the Gironde Estuary, with neighbors Chateau Latour and of course Pichon Baron, the terroir of Pichon Lalande is prized and celebrated as possibly the greatest in the Medoc, if not Bordeaux. The estuary has benefited the vines by protecting against the harsh weather and even helped to protect the closest vines during a regional climactic incident in which frost devastated much of the vineyards in Pauillac.

The vineyard is divided into 100 separate parcels in which planting is dictated by terrain and soil structure. Four varietals are planted which are used to source the wines of Pichon Lalande, their second wine, Pichon Comtesse Reserve (previously named Reserve de la Comtesse), and a miniscule bottling of a third wine, Les Gartieux de Pichon Lalande. Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on gravel rises at the top of slopes, while Merlot is planted in sandy gravel soils on cool, damp clay subsoils. Cabernet Franc thrives on the soils with higher clay content with excellent sun exposure. Petit Verdot is the most weather-sensitive varietal grown on the Medoc but thrives on sandy-gravel soils. This varietal is planted closest to the estuary or where it is protected by other plots. The blend becomes a concentrated, full-bodied, smooth wine that expresses intense minerality, depth and richness – the very essence of its terroir.

Chateau Pichon Lalande has become a legendary producer in Pauillac, the Medoc, Bordeaux, and the world. This estate is now globally recognized and its most recent vintages may be the greatest in its long, esteemed history. With a history of such success, and becoming even greater in recent years, the future looks fruitful for Chateau Pichon Lalande.

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