Deep ruby in colour. The nose is intense but lifted here, with a pure blackcurrant core layered with some exotic spices - cinnamon and clove - as well as a floral violet character. The palate is supple and generous, with velveteen tannins giving a rich and rounded structure that allows the fruit to shine. Elegant and polished, the black cherry and creamy cassis are lifted and elegant, giving an ethereal, fragrant intensity. Superb precision and finesse are on show, with an enduring, very long finish. A superb effort in 2018.
|Score: 18.5||Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019|
The grand vin represents 50% of the crop this year. The 2018 Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is made up of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot with a pH of 3.85, an IPT (total polyphenol index) of 87 and 14% alcohol. Very deep purple-black colored, it is like hitting a brick wall to begin, needing considerable coaxing to start to reveal notes of crushed black cherries, warm blackberries, ripe blackcurrants and chocolate cake with nuances of violets, rose hip tea, charcuterie, tapenade and incense with wafts of new leather and iron ore. Full-bodied, concentrated and completely laden with tightly wound black fruit and savory layers, the palate gives a rock-solid backbone of firm, super ripe, super fine-grained tannins and soft background freshness, finishing very long with a veritable display of mineral fireworks.
|Score: 97/99||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019|
A deep and intense young red with blackberries and blueberries, as well as green olives and hints of fresh tobacco. But really black fruit. Full-bodied, tight and integrated with a refreshing and harmonious finish. Just floating on the palate. Great tannin backbone to this. A classic. Another flying carpet.
|Score: 98/99||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019|
The 2018 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is powerful, dense and explosive, with a real sense of vertical lift that conveys energy. Grilled herbs, lavender, inky blue/purplish fruit and spice notes develop in the glass, but it is the wine's balance, purity of tannin and finish that stand out most. In 2018, so many wines lean towards extreme versions of themselves, but Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande remains very much within its classic parameters. The 2018 doesn't quite offer the visceral thrill of the very best recent vintages, but it comes very close. At its purest essence, the 2018 is very Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The en primeur sample is shown from 100% new oak, although the wine will have about 60% new wood. Tasted four times.
|Score: 95/98||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019|
71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot; 60% new oak. 35 hl/ha. Barrel sample.
Black core. Cedary cassis-leaf aroma, typically Pichon Lalande. Like the Réserve de la Comtesse, this is so gentle, charming, rounded, fresh and tender. Easy to underestimate. Extremely fine, intense but no show of power even with a long finish and even knowing that it has real depth. A gentle and surprisingly subtle beauty. (JH) 14%
|Score: 17.5||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019|
The top wine is the 2018 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse De Lalande, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Compared to the 2010 by director Nicolas Glumineau, this saturated purple-colored effort offers the classic elegance and regal style of the estate as well as plenty of pure Pauillac character. Crème de cassis, liquid violets, charcoal, and scorched earth nuances all give way to a full-bodied, deep, layered 2018 that has remarkable purity, building yet ultra-fine tannins, flawless balance, and a great, great finish. It's in the same class as the magical 2016, and while I suspect it will be approachable with just short-term cellaring, it's going to age for 40 years or more. This estate has been on a qualitative roll over the past 5-6 years thanks to the talents of Glumineau, and this is unquestionably another great wine from him and his team.
|Score: 96/98+||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019|
This one nails it in 2018, with saturated, almost sappy kirsch, plum and blackberry preserve flavors at the core, inlaid with sweet tobacco, singed vanilla, worn cedar and fresh earth notes. A bolt of graphite provides support. Concentrated, long and very complete. One of the high water marks of the vintage.
|Score: 97/100||James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, March 2019|
This has to be up there with one of the most seductive Comtesses on record with layers of alternating softness and concentration combined with a lot of 2016’s elegance and power.
The nose on this stands out a mile, getting it right up on the podium before you even take a sip. Rich raspberries combine with peonies and curls of woodsmoke while the appellation’s signature slate, cedar, liquorice and tannic grip slowly builds up on the palate.
I’ve tasted this several times with each conveying a juiciness and elegance that is quite different in style to many in Pauillac this year - it's a 98-100 for me, and I'm already looking forward to re-tasting it in bottle. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. 60% new oak used. 13% press wine. 3.75pH, 88IPT – higher even than the 80IPT in 2016.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040
|Score: 98/100||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019|
(71 Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 Merlot, 5 Cabernet Franc, 4 Petit Verdot) | 50% new oak (the sample I tasted was 100% new oak) | 14% alc | 3.85 pH | 88 IPT This is certainly more complex than the second label, as one would expect, but this is a more backward and more introverted wine, with less showy fruit and more graininess and density than I ever thought I would see in this vintage. There is obviously a lot of oak in this sample and there is also an amazing amount of skin tannin as the IPT figure suggests, but there is ample fruit here and given time it will most likely fall into harmony. Not the easiest of the wines to taste, this is a combative Comtesse and it will most likely be a long-lived wine, but I sense good potential here even if this sample seems rather tense and stern.
|Score: 18.5+||Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019|