TN: 2014 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Quintessential Pauillac, but with a more lithe, femine frame. The grace and underlying strength of a gymnast.

The 2014 vintage continues to shine in my eyes. Most of the wines I have enjoyed have shown a more classic, mid-weight profile with a broad range of the fruit spectrum. Many are more open-knit than powerful vintages like 2010, but do not get me wrong, these wines command time, will dramatically improve as a quality Bordeaux should for the 15-20+ year range. Leaving aside First Growths, my two favorite wines have been this Pichon Lalande, and for value but not far behind in quality, Sociando Mallet.

Exhibits a classic nose of lead pencil, camphor, cassis and black fruits. Mid-weight on the palate, nice range of darker fruits but fresh, crisp. No Pichon Lalande herbaceous note or bell peppers, but perhaps that comes out with time. Overall shows a cooler vintage profile than what we have seen with 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2015, where the fruit here is reasonably rich, ripe, but not venturing into notes of liquor or licorice. Tart, crisp finish with a mouth-coating veneer of tannins.

Excellent potential.

(93-94+ pts.)

Nice review; glad I have a couple among my stash of 2014’s. I don’t know that I will be able to wait 20 years, but maybe 10…

Nice note-appreciated. I reluctantly opened a 375 of '14 Cos d’Estournel tonight fully expecting a tight, tannic wall of structure. It isn’t that way at all. It will certainly improve in time, but it is not tough at all. Aromatic, nice mouthfeel and breadth of flavor. I need to pick up some 750’s.

I was actually having a text conversation with Corey and MarcF about this wine and my thoughts. I think this wine will be more drinkable, and will continue to be quite enjoyable, in 10 years. I think this vintage will be more accessible than a 2010 and 2005. The question is, how do you like your Bordeaux? I have always enjoyed Bordeaux during their life-range, from young to old, but have to admit, over the last ten years have really, definitively preferred my classic Bordeaux of this quality with 20-25+ years of age, when they are exhibiting that wide range of tertiary notes that makes Bordeaux such a wonder. I have said this before on the Boards, I would rather have a fully mature, 90-point wine than a young, 95+ point wine.

Dan, I had this wine out of 375 as well.

For me it really depends on the day. Sometimes I really like the energy and freshness of a younger wine. Sometimes I feel like drinking something that is more contemplative. Vive la différence.

I have two, not willing to open one any time soon.
Maybe I should buy one more for the near term. :idea:

I agree, Corey, but I would not normally recommend popping a young wine of this price and quality for shear enjoyment. It’s like driving a Maserati in first gear. Pop the young Crus for that, and save these babies for when they are ready. I popped it for the additional reason of continuing to explore this vintage and determine whether I buy more. I bought a broad range of 2014s, but now seek to determine which I go deeper. This is my kind of vintage.

As the evening goes along, the Cos is tightening up, but it hasn’t been difficult to drink. I opened a '14 Phelan Segur last week that was really structured and too early to open. It wasn’t til day 4 until it softened up at all.

Robert, how do you compare 2014 with 2001?

I assume from this you’ve tasted all these vintages of PLL. How would you compare the 15 to the 09?


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I do not have the experience with young 2001 as I do 2014, as I was in a wine hiatus of sorts from 2003-2005, but from what I have tried, I think 2014 is a far more consistent left-bank vintage than 2001. Both vintages show classic charateristics of balance and structure, and not too ripe. Same can be said about 2004 and 2008. All of these vintages have produced very nice wines, but 2014 is better and broader in quality. And the pricing made them so damn attractive.

2002 left bank

Generally speaking, this is my feeling. Notably, I’m happy buying and drinking any of these vintages, obviously more select in my choice as we get to the bottom of the hierarchy. Amazing times we are in.

As for the Pichon, I had the 2001 exactly 2 years ago. I loved it, showed more of a red fruit profile and an herbaceous streak than this 2014. Nice to quibble over which is better, but while I think 2014 is an overall better wine, naturally I would drink 2001 now and be happier.

Some 2001 Bordeaux I had recently were not in an ideal phase of their development at the moment. Sociando Mallet, Gruaud Larose, Barde Haut, La Conseillante showed all a slightly drying aspect in the finish. I hope this will change with time as it happened in the past with wines from so called “classic” vintages but its not a safe bet. Not all of the fruit got fully ripe in this vintage. I suspect this is the reason for the slightly rustic tannins which were masked by the sweet fruit. Now as the fruit is melting away some slightly unripe tannins are more obvious and the balance is compromised. Therefore it may be an advantage to drink this kind of wines earlier in their life. But again – maybe the tannins melt away also and these 2001 wines will gain in balance again. Its possible. I have bottles left and will let them rest in cellar to see what happens. The bottle of Sociando I had with a steak last week got dryer the longer the wine sat in the carafe. The best sip was the first.

Amen to that! [worship.gif] Thanks for the note, Robert. This is one of many '14’s I keep looking at, but I haven’t gone for it … yet. Sounds like 2016 might be a more “serious” version of 2015. I suspect I’ll be buying '16s …

At $120/bottle, sure hope it’s good!

Where does '86 fit in? [wink.gif]

Appreciate the check-in as well. P-L is always one of my very favourite estates. I may need to seek a bottle or two of this out. I, too, have enjoyed 14s for what they are and look like they will be.



Just had a big contract win today, followed by my wife tearing an ACL in a tennis match, so now am at the hospital, so I may take you up on that and pop an 86 Bordeaux tonight for $hit$ and giggle$. Killer idea, Markus!

This is a very encouraging report, mainly because the change in ownership at PLL (after 2010?) made me curious if the style would get amped up. Sounds like it’s still a classical wine being made there.

I also concur about the 2014, except I think it’s probably even better than 04/06/08 (though 08 could give it a runs for the money if the tannins integrate well).

Sorry to hear about your bride, Robert. ACL is a bitch. Looks like you’ll be slaving over the summer kitchen stove to feed the family for the next few weeks.

I think 2001 is a bit overrated and have never quite understood its reputation with critics. Yes, it has a lot of substance and will last but it’s a “tough” vintage in certain ways. I think 2004 has more charm and even if it won’t last as long I’d rather have the 2004s than the 2001s now. And the top left bank wines in 2003 are just better (granted, 2001 is a lot better than 2003 on the right bank).

There was some weird process where 2001 was underrated in the early stages and then when people realized it was a solid vintage they overrated it.