2012 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac

Only13% natural alcohol, it offers up scents of black currants, white chocolate, berries, cedar and forest floor. Sweet tannin, a round opulence and medium body result in a classic, supple-textured Pauillac that should drink well young and keep for the next 10 years. It is very much in keeping with what most readers would consider the 'house style' of Pichon Lalande, despite the fact that they are moving toward more Cabernet Sauvignon and less Petit Verdot in the final blend, where the final blend was 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot lie on deep gravel beds underpinned by clay and then sandstone and limestone. Part of these vineyards actually reside in the St-Julien appellation, hence the elegance. The 2012 is fermented in stainless steel cuvées and then matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months. Pichon-Longueville Lalande is not as powerful or as tannic as some its Pauillac neighbours and this is mainly because of its relatively high Merlot content. This is particular so for vintage 2012, which moves away a little from the petit verdot in flavor for more dash of merlot.

Very lively and elegant style endorsed by lifestyle magazine Wine Enthusiast as follows:

96 points Wine Enthusiast

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. (4/2013)

The other scores are consistent too:

93 points 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) (4/2015)

92 points James Suckling

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. (2/2015)

92 points Vinous

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) (1/2016)

92 points Wine Spectator 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.— (1/2015)