One of our favourite 2017s, the brilliant Pichon Lalande, has just been released at GBP 1116. Pichon Lalande has long been a real claret-lover’s claret, delivering extraordinary perfumes, precision of fruit, incredible minerality and velveteen textures. It’s no surprise, given its location directly adjacent to Chateau Latour’s venerable terroir, that it produces wines right from the very top drawer; famous vintages such as the 1996 or 1982 (or even the 1966, for those who have been lucky enough to encounter it) live long in the memory. However a relatively lean period in the 2000s knocked it somewhere off the radar, especially as this coincided with the resurgence in form of its sibling and neighbour Pichon Baron.
The good news is that form is temporary and class, as the saying goes, is permanent: since 2014 the Chateau, in the hands of the genial Nicolas Glumineau and with the benefit of a truly magnificent new winery, has delivered year after year and the 2017 is once again bang on the money. It certainly has more restraint, more mineral, almost saline notes in the finish than in the last two vintages, but it retains that silk-like texture that characterises the best of the estate. The tannins are wondrous and the combination of freshness, fruit and finesse of structure really brings the 1996 (GBP 2400) to mind.
As Neal Martin opines “this will mature into a supremely gifted Pichon Lalande”. The other key critics are in full agreement, all delivering a score spread with the potential for 95 or 96 points.
Alongside it comes perhaps the best second wine of the entire campaign: Reserve de la Comtesse at GBP 360. This was a wine of such beautiful aromatics and precise fruit definition that it stopped us in our tracks.
Yesterday saw the release of the first wines from the Clarence Dillon (Haut Brion) stable, with the ever-impressive white Clarte de Haut Brion at GBP 720 and the St Emilion pair of Quintus at GBP 1070 and Dragon de Quintus at GBP 330.