Reserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac – Second wine of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
In the Bordeaux region the classified crus have mixed soils, but large enough tracts of land to make very rigorous selections. It is only the quest for excellence during the XVIIIth century that led the owners to elaborate several wines of different quality. Severe selecting is the guarantee of quality of a great wine, but also of a second wine.
Today, the second wines represent between 20 and 50 % of the total production of the Chateau. From the same soil, the second wine benefits from the same technology as the great wine, and also its reputation. They are generally excellent wines, though less robust and long lasting than their elders.
The archives kept at Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande mention the existence of a second wine as early as the XIXth century:
27 April 1890, shipping of four bottles of the vintage 1874 second wine to the Moscow exhibition.
In addition, the accounts book for the year 1874, that details the production of the year confirms that the second wine was rigorously selected.
The second wine of Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, The Réserve de la Comtesse, was created and sold for the first time in 1973.
`The finest second wine they have made, the 2009 Reserve de Comtesse is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. Flavorful and full-bodied with loads of texture and opulence, it offers up aromas of forest floor and black fruits. The surprisingly high tannin level is barely noticeable given the sweetness of the fruit and abundant glycerin. Nevertheless, the 13% alcohol is right in line with that of the Pichon Lalande. Drink the Reserve de Comtesse over the next 10-15 years. `
(Robert Parker – Wine Advocate -Apr 2010 – 91-93pts)