Fortunate to have enjoyed a February 2013 vertical of the best vintages back to 1982 of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron second growth Pauillac.
Property with a long history realizing substantial improvements since the eighties under AXA first under the guidance of the indomitable Jean-Michel Cazes and now Christian Seely. Wonderful terroir expressed in the wines from those great gravelly vineyards next to Chateau Latour and the stricter selection for their Grand Vin.
Even torridly hot 2003 is successful in a riper more forwardly softer style because of their older vines with deep roots in that gravel having the same beneficial effect as the more moisture retaining clay soils of St. Estephe.
1996 Highest cabernet sauvignon at 80% but much lighter colour with prominent acidity. Needs time?
1995 Darker than 96 with much richer fuller fruit. A surprising delight!
1988 Herbal greener stemmy notes but a more elegant balanced character.
1986 Shows the opposite styling to 1982 with those more backward and tougher hard old style tannins.
1982 In that same sweet attractive 2003 style but more rustic as the selection then not as rigorous as now.
Clearly my top three:
2000 Less severe modern style still showing some oak. Admire the intensity and structure here. Still needs cellar time.
1990 Wonderful cedar-cigar developing bouquet with a palate of almost overripe concentrated fruit. Very impressive!
1989 My winner! Love the balance, elegance and the deliciousness! Deserves that Wine Spectator 1992 Wine of the Year selection. Hope you have some of the 1989 tucked away for a special treat to see what this chateau does spectacularly!
What is the best vintage of Pichon Baron for you?