Tag Archives: Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

2012 harvest in Bordeaux: a first impression of the wines at Château Petit-Village and Château Pichon-Longueville (VIDEOS)

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Today we will visit Château Petit-Village where I tasted all the lots of Château Petit-Village 2012 with Daniel LLose, and then Château Pichon-Longueville where I will be tasting with Jean-René Matignon. We left the camera running in both cases and have edited it down to a few interesting tasting moments.

The wines at this stage have finished their fermentation, some have finished maceration, and the rest will do so soon. Malolactic fermentation is beginning both at Château Petit-Village and at Château Pichon-Longueville.

My impression of the overall quality is that it is extremely good. I am of course aware that certain opinions have already been formed about this vintage, particularly by people from Northern Europe who had a very disappointing summer and assume that therefore the wines are unlikely to be good in Bordeaux this year. However, that is why we grow the grapes here and not in Northern Europe. Although we did indeed have a fairly cool start to the summer, with a lot of rain in the period May-June-July, August was in fact very sunny and warm here, in fact one of the best Augusts we have had for a while, and September weather was also very good. Overall yields are low, principally because of conditions in the early summer, so we had the combination of fine weather in August and September, low potential yields in the vineyard, and good reserves of water in the soil. All these factors were important in determining the final quality.

The Merlots are spectacularly good this year both at Château Petit-Village and at Château Pichon-Longueville. Our feeling is that there are several parcels at both properties that produced their best Merlots ever this year. August was actually quite hot here, which can occasionally cause problems for Merlot, but because of the good reserves of water in the soil, the grapes did not suffer from any hydric stress, and the result is a wine with lovely balance and freshness, great depth and in some cases a delicious spicy quality. At Château Petit-Village, where of course Merlot makes up the majority of the blend, I think we have some of the best wines we have ever had, and at Château Pichon-Longueville where Merlot plays a supporting, but important role, they are also unusually good.

Cabernets were always likely to be the most challenging this year. Even though we had a very good August and September, the early part of summer was cool, and it is probably fair to say that we might have liked to be able to wait just a few more days to harvest the Cabernets in order to give them their full plenitude of ripeness. If that had been possible we would have had a wine of the calibre of 2010 on our hands. However, threatening weather obliged us to harvest just a little bit earlier. Nevertheless the result is very good indeed. Yields were very low in the old vine grand terroir of Château Pichon-Longueville (between 20 and 30 hectolitres per hectare), and this enabled us to achieve maximum possible ripeness from the sunshine we did get in August and September. I love the style of these Cabernets: although they have strong tannins, there is a lovely delicate fresh and fine quality to them.

I think we will have a lot of fun during blending, and the en-primeurs tastings could be very agreeably surprising for anyone who has a preconceived idea of what this lovely vintage is going to be like.

VIDEO CHATEAU PICHON-LONGUEVILLE
If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

VIDEO CHATEAU PETIT-VILLAGE
If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Effeuillage at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

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Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

This week we are in the vineyard with Joël Dupuy, the chef de culture at Château
Pichon-Longueville Baron, who will show us what we are doing in the vineyard at the moment, the effeuillage.

As you will see, this process demands a lot of careful manual work: it is
designed to give the bunches of grapes maximum access to the available sunshine,
at the same time giving them protection from the hotter afternoon sun by only
removing leaves on the side facing the rising sun. It is just one of the myriad
tasks that must be meticulously performed in order to achieve the goal of having
the most perfect grapes possible at harvest time for making the wine of Château
Pichon-Longueville Baron.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron: the Traditional Racking Process

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This week, we are in the cellars of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron with Alexandra Lebossé who will explain to us the procedure of racking the wines as we do it here.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

If you haven’t visited Château Pichon-Longueville Baron before, or have not been here recently, this new underground cellar, which was completed in 2006, is a magnificent place both to work and to visit. It is situated under the stretch of water in front of the chateau, so that sunlight passes through the water, through the skylights and so down to the cellar below.

But as you can see, during the process of racking, Pierre Bustamante’s attention is focused entirely on the wine. It is vitally important work, one of the many repetitive tasks that demand the total attention and dedication of the people entrusted with the work, without which we would never be able to achieve the desired final quality in the bottle.

Château Pichon-Longueville Baron
Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

The “Taille Medocaine” at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

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It is pruning time here in Bordeaux. This is a short video clip showing Alexandra Lebossé and Joël Dupuy in the vineyard at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron, demonstrating how we prune here.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Here are a couple of photographs which illustrate more closely the operations Joël performs in the video.

Joël about to prune the cot de retour for next year’s growth.
Joël about to prune the cot de retour for next year’s growth.
The cot de retour
The cot de retour
Overview of a pruned vine. Taille Médocaine.
Overview of a pruned vine. Taille Médocaine.
Detail of the cot de retour on the same vine.
Detail of the cot de retour on the same vine.

Video Clips at Château Pichon-Longueville Baron

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Château Pichon-Longueville - QR code and its mobile website

We have just launched the Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Quick Response Code (QR code) and its mobile website. I think the idea is great, giving people the chance to find out more about the property and the people behind the wine, just by scanning the QR code with a smartphone on the back of the bottle.

The QR code is on CChâteau Pichon-Longueville Baron bottles from 2009 vintage onwards. It will also be supplied to retailers and restaurants to give their customers access to this information for older vintages.

Here are the three video clips that appear when you scan this QR code.

If you have trouble watching the video “The identity of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron”,
view the web version here

If you have trouble watching the video “Fining with egg white”,
view the web version here

If you have trouble watching the video “The first tasting of the 2011 vintage”,
view the web version here