Chateau Pichon Lalande
Classification: Second Growth
Chateau Pichon Lalande, or to give it the full name, Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, tells the story of the great women behind the great wine. Over 300 years ago the estate belonged to Pierre de Mazure de Rauzan who was head of a viticulture empire, owning vineyards in Margaux as well as Pauillac. In 1700 his daughter, Thérèse, inherited the estate as a dowry when she married Jacques de Pichon-Longueville, the first President of the Parliament of Bordeaux. The estate remained in the family until 1850 when Baron Joseph de Pichon divided the estate among his 5 children. However only two of the children survived to inherit, Raoul and Virginie, resulting in the halving of the estate into Chateau Pichon Baron and Pichon Lalande.
Anticipating the split Virgine married Count Henri de Lalande, gaining the title of Comtesse de Lalande, her independence and the control of her domain. Virgine was a woman with spirit and her passion for vines and the quality of her management made her a strong personality in the Médoc. She ordered Duphot, an architect from Bordeaux, to design a chateau inspired by the Hôtel de Lalande in Bordeaux where her husband had spent his childhood and the result was the breathtakingly beautiful building that we see today. Virgine left her mark on her vineyards as well – in 1855, Chateau Pichon Lalande acquired the status of Second Cru Classé.
In 1925 the château was bought by Edouard and Louis Miailhe, descendants of an old Bordeaux family of vineyard owners and Edouard’s daughter, May Eliane de Lencquesaing, became the owner and administrator of the Château Pichon Lalande. She quite naturally revived the traditions of Virgine, personally overseeing the management of the family domain with her passion for wine and strict management. May Eliane soon became a legend in her own life-time and is known by her peers as “Madame La Générale”.
In 2007 the chateau passed to another family-owned French institution, Louis Roederer Champagne and the estate is now managed by May Eliane’s nephew Gildas d’Ollone. Over 3 centuries only 2 families have worked with vigour for the renown of the Château and its wines.
Even the 150 acres of vineyard reflect the women behind the wines of Pichon Lalande, the parcels of vines around the chateau are named for them: Virginie, Sophie, Marie-Joséphine. . . They are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Petit Verdot. The vines neighbour Chateaux Latour and Leoville Las Cases and 27 acres of vines fall within Saint Julien, which account for the wine’s elegant and supple character. Pichon Lalande has an unusually high proportion of Merlot for a Pauillac property, which tends to make the wine slightly softer and more feminine than wines from many other classified Pauillac châteaux.
The wines themselves are a dense plum colour and are known for their voluptuous charm and are remarkably consistent throughout the vintages. The aromas are of smoky blackberries, plum liqueur, cherries and liquorice.
Owner: Louis Roederer Champagne Axa Insurance (also own Chateau de Pez and Chateau Haut Beausejour)
Château Website: www.pichon-lalande.com