Pichon Contesse de Lalande vertical
One of the best event of NYC Tasting guild is the semi-annual Bordeaux Vertical/Horizontal.
Pichon Longueville was on the menu tonight. We were tasting 97-96-95-94-89-88-86-85-83-82-78.
Charles Rubinstein was tutoring the tasting. He happens to personally know the owner, May de Lencquesaing (picture).
Baron and Lalande were originally the same chateau but the domain split after a family feud. They are now both second growth. Lalande qualifies as the castle using the most Merlot in Bordeaux, about 35% for 45% of Cab. Palmer gets about the same level. No wonder why I like them both.
My favorite were 89, 86 and 82.
The 82 had a tawny core and a brick rim. The nose was revealing some cassis, generous blackberry, some butterscotch and a light rose aromas. If the butterscotch and the cassis were prevalent in the other vintage, only the rose would differentiate this one. The palate showed a lot of finesse and a great balance. The medium tannins of the 96-95-94 on the mid palate were now perfectly integrated. The palate was articulating notes of meat juice and butterscotch.
The color of the 86 was more on the dark tawny with an orange rim. The nose was again on the butterscotch, exhibiting fine wood close to the cedar. Some red fruits were also there showing a good aromatic complexity. The palate was adding some spicy notes but the noticeable difference was a superb balance with some silky tannins.
The 82 was rated 100 by RP. This vintage was really hot and the grapes got picked really early. Because of the RP rating, Charles tried to turn us off from this vintage. But there was something to it not obvious on any other wine of the flight.
The color was brown and the rim dark orange. The nose was releasing a large palette of flavors; raspberries, red cherries, cedar and pepper. The attack was muted but the mid palate recouped the pepper and cedar flavor. The Finale of this bottle was, I thought the best of all the flight. The aromatic persistency was there and releasing this cherry and cedar aromas. And for this, it deserve to be ranked Best of the Flight.
Couldn't find an overwhelming body or a wine with an high alcohol degree. Never thought I would agree with a 100 RP but that was the case.