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Burgundy and me
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·The magic of old burgundy
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Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Nice city.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

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The lady behind Pichon's fame

The lady behind Pichon's fame
Inside BordeauxThe fame of Chateau Pichon-Longueville, Comtesse de Lalande, can be attributed without any doubt to one person, Madame May-Eliane de Lencquesaing.
The history of Pichon Lalande or Pichon, as it is affectionately called, goes back a long way, more than four centuries to be precise, but as I pointed out in an earlier essay, the significant milestone in the history of this great Chateau was the day in 1978 when May-Eliane took personal charge of it.

Although she inherited the estate from her father Edouard Miailhe who died in 1959, she had been unable to take charge because the military career of her late husband kept her away from Bordeaux.
In the interim, Pichon was run by her brother Alain Miailhe from 1960 to 1972, and by Michel Delon, who was himself a Chateau owner (Chateau Leoville LasCases), from 1975 to 1978. She has directed the Chateau virtually single-handedly since 1978 and Chateau Pichon Lalande's standing amongst the 'Super-Seconds' is entirely due to her.
Some facts and figures first. It may be a surprise to some that not all the 60 hectares of Pichon's vineyards are in Pauillac. Quite a bit is situated in the neighbouring commune of Saint-Julien, which may be one of the factors which make Pichon an atypical Pauillac. The other factor is its high proportion of Merlot (34 per cent) in its plantings - Cabernet Sauvignon accounts for 46 per cent, Cabernet Franc 12 per cent and Petit Verdot 8 per cent.

There is a third factor. It is not an accident that Pichon the wine tends to reflect the personality of the owner/wine maker. Pichon is warm and generous, a wine of great class and finesse, never flamboyant. It is a wine that is often underestimated when young. The 1982 is a famous case in point. To quote Robert Parker (1991): 'My first impression of this wine was that it lacked structure and probably would not turn out to be as good as the 1981.
How wrong I was. It is magical. There is no other word for it.' His score in 1991 for Pichon? 99! May-Eliane said about her 1982 that when it was young it seemed to her almost Californian in character, but as it became more mature, 'it is now definitely Bordeaux'. Pichon 1982 was then some 15 years old when she said that.

Recent tasting notes

Pichon 1978: May-Eliane's first vintage. Red mahogany, fabulous bouquet very cedary and cassis; very well balanced, smooth, silky, round, harmony and balance. Very ripe with lovely smooth acidity, very fresh.

Pichon 1982: Very deep red-mahogany. Mature bouquet, cedar, tobacco and over-ripe berry fruit. Very rich and lush, almost opulent but great complexity and fine elegance.

Pichon 1959 Jeroboam: May-Eliane's father's last vintage. Deep-brown mahogany; lovely bouquet with secondary aromas. Very ripe fruit, elegant and balanced. A glorious wine, extraordinarily fresh, very intense and concentrated, with lovely long finish.

Cellar tasting at Pichon

Chateau Bernadotte 2004: Deep purple red; not much bouquet. Very intense wine very ripe fruit, good structure, long tannic finish. Very closed. Will be very good buy.

Pichon 2004: Even blacker in colour. Light nose, almost delicate, with touch of vanillin. Very intense very backward huge wine, very rich and ripe. A classic.

Pichon 2003: Purple-red, black almost. Light delicate nose. Super-ripe fruit, chocolaty, very dense. A huge intense wine.

Bernadotte 2005: Deep purple-red, opaque centre; very sweet nose, ripe fruit, and vanillin. Good fruit ripeness, very fresh, a little oaky, dry finish.

Reserve de la Comtesse 2005: Deep red-black; cassis and cedar on nose. Medium concentration, lovely easy drinking at this stage. High quality.

Pichon 2005: Opaque black-red; light nose, vanillin and ripe fruit. Medium-bodied, very dense flavour, very ripe concentrated fruit underneath, very backward, very solid. Very good length, almost chewy. Great, long-distance runner.

Pichon 1996: A great vintage in Bordeaux. Lovely deep red colour, just beginning to brown a little; mature nose ripe cassis and cedar. Dense powerful wine still very young.

Pichon 1986: A very big wine; very very ripe fruit, very dense intense, still not fully mature. A great vintage in Bordeaux and for Pichon.

As if running a great Chateau is not enough, May-Eliane is currently president of the Academie du Vins de Bordeaux.

May-Eliane de Lencquesaing's place in destiny is secure. She follows in the great tradition of the great wine women of the past - Madame Bollinger, Widow Veuve Clicquot - she is already a legend in her own life-time.

N K Yong - August 11, 2006; The Business Times
Posted on Tuesday, November 21 @ 18:43:22 MST by pierre
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Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.
Colmar. Capital of alsacian vineyards.

Colmar. Nice city.
Colmar. Nice city.

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