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2018 Chateau Pibran

2018 Chateau Pibran

93+ JD

Featured Review
The 2018 Château Pibran emerges from a cooler, gravelly terroir in Pauillac and is close to an even split of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, all raised in 50% new oak. Lots of red, black, and blue fruits as well as lead pencil, violets, camphor, and smoked tobacco emerge from the glass, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a terrific sense of freshness, ripe yet firm, polished tannins, and a great finish. This is another classic Pauillac that's going to benefit from 3-6 years of bottle age (it's far from unapproachable today) and keep for 20-25 years in cold cellars. (Drink between 2024-2049) Jeb Dunnuck

Jeb Dunnuck | 93+ JD

Critic Reviews

The 2018 Pibran is fabulous, just as it was en primeur. Juicy, rich and expansive in this vintage, Pibran offers terrific richness and verve. Dark cherry, spice, new leather and cedar build as this stylish Pauillac shows off its considerable charms. The 2018 is unquestionably extroverted. It is also shamelessly delicious.

Antonio Galloni | 93 AG
The 2018 Château Pibran emerges from a cooler, gravelly terroir in Pauillac and is close to an even split of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, all raised in 50% new oak. Lots of red, black, and blue fruits as well as lead pencil, violets, camphor, and smoked tobacco emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a terrific sense of freshness, ripe yet firm, polished tannins, and a great finish. This is another classic Pauillac that’s going to benefit from 3-6 years of bottle age (it’s far from unapproachable today) and keep for 20-25 years in cold cellars. (Drink between 2024-2049)

Jeb Dunnuck | 93+ JD
Blackcurrant, blueberry, pencil-lead, clove and walnut-husk aromas. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, tight-grained tannins. Nice minerality. Try from 2024 and onwards.

James Suckling | 93 JS
The 2018 Pibran is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Merlot, matured for 18 months in barriques, 50% new and 50% one year old. Deep garnet-purple in color, it comes skipping out of the glass with bright, cheerful scents of Morello cherries, mulberries and wild blueberries, giving way to a core of cassis, dark chocolate and violets, with a waft of woodsmoke. Medium-bodied, the palate is delicately styled with fantastic freshness and fine-grained tannins supporting the crunchy black fruit layers, finishing long and lifted.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92 RP
Rich in both structure and fruit, this wine has ripe tannins and a full, generous texture that is given shape by full-bodied, black-fruit flavors. From the northern part of Pauillac, the wine is good for medium-term aging. Drink from 2023.

Wine Enthusiast | 92 WE
A very tasty, enjoyable Pibran that comes from a cooler site than the main Pichon Baron wine, from gravel soils over a bed of limestone, and always the last for the team to harvest as was the case again in 2018. You can certainly feel the freshness and juice through the dark fruits – a wine that will be limbered up after just four or five years in bottle. 50% new oak. A yield of 37hl/ha. (Drink between 2024-2038)

Decanter | 90 DEC

Wine Details for 2018 Chateau Pibran

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


Producer Chateau Pibran : Pauillac is, perhaps, the finest wine growing appellation in the Medoc, if not all Bordeaux. It is home to three of the five First Growths (Official Classification of 1855) and is renowned for its tremendous terroir which produces some of the most revered wines on the planet. Just a mile from the legendary Chateau Mouton Rothschild and half mile from Pontet Canet (and farther east, Grand Puy Lacoste) resides Chateau Pibran. Within close proximity to the Gironde and surrounded by famous neighbors, Pibran is situated on prime real-estate. It may be a smaller estate which can be overlooked (not surprising given the famous chateaux in this locale) but should not be underrated. American wine critic, Robert Parker, known for having “The Million Dollar Nose” defined the 2010 vintage as “A major sleeper of the vintage, this under-the-radar Pauillac from the owners of Pichon Longueville Baron comes from a 42-acre vineyard, and the blend is divided equally between two grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Classic smoky barbecue notes intermixed with cassis, forest floor and cedar jump from the glass of this dense purple, thick, unctuously textured, rich and heady wine…”

Considering the antiquity of Pauillac, Chateau Pibran might be considered a baby; its history “only” dating back to 1941, when the land was purchased by Paul Pibran Billa. Upon its formation, the estate was given Billa’s middle name and the official birth of Chateau Pibran was recognized. It would remain in the hands of the Billa family until 1989 when the 10-hectare property was purchased by AXA Millesimes (a subsidiary of AXA insurance group and owner of many prestigious chateaux in Bordeaux and Sauternes). Since its acquisition, AXA has spared no expense in revitalizing the estate and further increased the value of the property in 2001, by purchasing the neighboring Chateau Tour Pibran, thus enlarging the surface of the vineyard space to 17 hectares. In that same year, Christian Seely, who has spent most of his professional career managing vineyards in France, Portugal and elsewhere, was placed in charge of Chateau Pibran. The quality and reputation of the estate has since increased year after year.

The vineyards are planted to 54% Merlot (which is relatively high for Pauillac) 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc (but is rarely witnessed in the final blend). Vines are on average 30 years of age and planted to a vine density of 9,000 vines per hectare. The locality enjoys the typical Medoc, Mediterranean meso-climate, while the Gironde Estuary helps to harness inclement weather that might cause havoc to the vineyards. The terroir is comprised of gravelly soils typical of the appellation, allowing the grape varietals to draw upon the essence of Pauillac. The wines are vinified by the same technical team that makes the esteemed, Chateau Pichon Baron (also owned by AXA) and vinified in Pichon’s cellars until it is ready to be moved, in barrel, to Chateau Pibran where it ages for 12 to 15 months.

Pibran’s style is full, rich and characterized by the classic cassis and cedar wood aromas of oak-aged Cabernet Sauvignon. Its powerful tannic structure allows the wine to age gracefully for lengthy periods. It is regarded by wine professionals as a classic Pauillac, producing luxurious wines without eye-watering prices. A second wine is produced, Chateau La Tour Pibran, which takes its name from a part of the original vineyard purchased when the estate was enlarged. It is comprised of a similar blend to the “Grand Vin” and is more approachable in its youth. This fantastic duo produces around 6,500 cases annually.

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