2012 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Barrel sample. Intense black currant fruitiness makes this wine unabashedly forward. The palate bears weighty tannins behind that fruit, resulting in a wine that is already quite balanced and structured.
Wonderful nose of wet earth, mushrooms and berries. Full to medium body, fine tannins and a fresh finish. Sleek and polished. Needs two to three years of bottle age to soften.
The 2012 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is a wine built on finesse. Intensely aromatic and nuanced, the 2012 is decidedly medium in body and structure, yet all the elements are nicely balanced throughout. Sweet tobacco, spices, new leather, cedar, flowers and savory herbs add lovely shades of dimension. The 2012 is a very pretty wine, even if a bit of excitement is missing. At the same time, the 2012 turns darker and more brooding in the glass as the tannins tighten up, which suggests the wine is still settling into its personality. It will be interesting to see how things shape up with more time in bottle. Winemaker Nicolas Glumineau describes 2012 as a challenging and inconsistent growing season that saw high temperatures in the summer alternating with periods of heavy rain. The blend is 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, aged in 55% new oak. (AG)
A gutsy, terroir-driven style, with briar-edged grip carrying notes of macerated black currant fruit, fig and plum sauce. Shows lots of dark anise through the finish, along with roasted apple wood and a hint of cassis bush. Delivers excellent range, purity and energy. Best from 2018 through 2027.—
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Good dark red. Dark plum, raspberry, graphite and violet on the nose. Smooth, fine-grained and sweet, with a floral quality to the plummy fruit. Has the middle to support its tannins and acids, and finishes with good length. Despite the difficult vintage, this struck me as a slightly more concentrated Pichon than the 2011. Talented Nicolas Glumineau was called over from Montrose to be the new technical director in the wake of Sylvie Cazes's departure. (ID)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The grande dame, the 2012 Pichon Lalande represents only 50% of their harvest production. It has soft, round tannins, endearing elegance, and up-front fruit. It is not a blockbuster, but its lush, richly fruity style is charming and seductive, with raspberry, blueberry, mocha and blackcurrant fruit and a deep ruby/purple color. This medium-bodied, supple-textured wine is surprisingly precocious and forward, and therefore best drunk over the next 15 years. The final blend was 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. (RP)