Located in Pauillac, sandwiched between Chateau Latour and Chateau Pichon Baron, emerges Antonio Galloni's “single hottest château on Bordeaux’s Left Bank right now:” the resplendent Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, affectionately known as Chateau Pichon Lalande. Its origins trace back to the 17th century, blossoming into a coveted "super second" Bordeaux gem. Acquired by Louis Roederer's proprietors in 2007, the chateau uplifted its already esteemed wines. Since 2010, it has garnered four perfect scores from global critics. In this 21st-century dawn, Chateau Pichon Lalande reigns not merely as a paragon of Bordeaux, but also worldwide.
Mirroring the history of its kin, Chateau Pichon Lalande shares a lineage akin to Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron. In the distant past, these domains were united within the vast Pichon estate, presided over by Bernard de Pichon-Longueville. Upon his death in 1850, his legacy splintered and the estate was divided among his five children. Two-fifths transmuted into Chateau Pichon Baron, passed to his sons; three-fifths, the core of Chateau Pichon Lalande, inherited by his daughters. Unity held briefly, even throughout the1855 classification, before eventually parting ways.
After the split, Pichon Lalande's reins passed to Virginie de Pichon Longueville, also known as the Comtesse de Lalande. In 1850, she summoned an illustrious architect to erect the Chateau that stands tall today. Under her stewardship, the Chateau flourished, yielding a sensual expression of Bordeaux compared to the more masculine notes of its counterpart, Chateau Pichon Baron. Her legacy is forever attached to the Chateau’s name.
In the Footsteps of the Comtesse
With no heir, the years wore on and the estate passed down from one relative to another. Until 1925, when the Mailhe family, with a majority stake, assumed control. In 1978, May-Eliane Mailhe, a leader who laid the foundation for the estate's modern success, took control. An ambassador of Bordeaux, she traversed the globe, advocating her estate. She invested heavily and expanded the vineyard, transforming it from 99 acres to 220. Once again without an heir to bear the mantle, Chateau Pichon Lalande found new shepherds in the Rouzauds, owners of Louis Roederer, concluding two and a half centuries of familial guardianship.
Following the 2008 acquisition, the Rouzaud family heralded a renaissance and initiated a comprehensive transformation. By 2012, a $15 million overhaul unveiled a gravity-centric vat room, controlled stainless steel vats enabling meticulous vinification, and an underground cellar. Vineyard began replanting in 2012, a quest for harmonizing varietals and terroir, momentarily curbing the size of the grand vin’s production.
Guided by Nicolas Glumineau, a seasoned veteran of Haut-Brion, Margaux, and Montrose, spearheaded the estate's 21st-century sojourn under the Rouzaud family. Pichon Lalande, led by this union, continues to produce its most distinguished wines to date.
Pichon Lalande's 247-acre vineyard tapestry is planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot with vines averaging 40 years old, some as ancient as 90. Divided into six blocks and 65 individual parcels, the terrain melds deep gravelly soil intertwined with clay and limestone underpinning their growth. Biodynamic and organic methods were introduced in 2014, culminating in a fully biodynamically farmed vineyard in 2021.
Culmination of Quality
As the estate has evolved, so too has its wines, currently scaling its zenith. May-Eliane Mailhe's tenure laid the bedrock for future triumphs. The Rouzaud family ushers Pichon Lalande into uncharted heights, christening it a "super second," rivaling esteemed first growths. Pichon Lalande is an exemplar Bordeaux offering premium quality at a fraction, an imperative for collectors and connoisseurs. A compelling opportunity, juxtaposed against its esteemed counterpart, Chateau Latour.