Sunday, November 28, 2021
Pichon Lalande 1989
Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande (Pichon Lalande)
Over the last 4 months that I started in this new job, as a Senior Manager - Wine Management / Sommelier, working at the office by day and 2-3 times a week at the restaurant at night, especially Fridays and Saturdays, I had the immense pleasure to taste some incredible wines, some from our own cellars, some brought by our customers.
Although I cannot work full time as a Sommelier, due to a physical condition that has been bothering me on daily basis for decades (the reason I stopped working on the floor full time, 10 years ago), it is always a pleasure to occasionally put on my suit, proudly wearing the grape that was given to me in 1997, for my Sommelier certification, and help our restaurant team serving these amazing wines.
The other day, I opened 2 bottles of Pichon Lalande 1989. I had not tried it for a while, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well it showed.
Since it was acquired in 2007, by the Rouzaud family, owners of Louis Roederer, tremendous changes in terms of structure, blend, and taste have been made for the better. The wines gained in texture, complexity, taste, and quality. Yet, prior to this era, I must say that the wines of Pichon Lalande were more like a hit or miss, depending on the vintage.
Personally, and although I have always appreciated it, to a certain extent, I have always found Pichon Lalande to be a tricky and capricious old Bordeaux style wine, often austere, tannic, and dry, and not revealing much in its youth. Marked by a certain feminine elegance and character, but rather like an old bitter lady, especially in the 80s and early 90s (I'm not going to make friends by writing this).
Fortunately, time has a taming effect on this old lady and this 1989 is a great example of it. It showed rather well after 2 hours of decanting, while restraint on the nose and somewhat on the palate too at the opening. Exhibiting timid earthy notes of dark cherry, currants, leather, tobacco, smoke, underbrush, pepper, and a few other tertiary aromas. Gentle, supple, elegant, yet, a bit dry, with a moderate finish, slightly fading (not many tannins or acidity left, at peak?). Good with lamb and/or pigeon.
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