Cabernet Sauvignon at Château Pichon Baron and Château Pichon Comtesse
Château Pichon Baron and Château Pichon Comtesse were part of the same estate until 1850 when it was divided into the two current estates. They are both classified as 2ème Grand Cru Classé (Second Growth) of Pauillac in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of Médoc and Sauternes made in 1855.
Now, Château Pichon Baron belongs to AXA, a French multinational insurance firm and Pichon Comtesse belongs to the Rouzaud family, which also owns the Champagne house Louis Roederer.
Both estates have modern cellars, and benefit from an excellent terroir. Pichon Baron comprises 73 hectares of soil planted with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petit Verdot.
Pichon Comtesse covers 92 hectares and it is planted with 65 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 25 % Merlot, 7 % Cabernet Franc and 3 % Petit Verdot.
Usually, the two Châteaux mature their wine 15 to 18 months before bottling.
Pichon Baron uses 80% new oak while Pichon Comtesse uses 50% to 60% new oak.
You can see below the evolution of the Cabernet Sauvignon proportion for each Château over 20 vintages.
As you can see above, apart from a few vintages, Pichon Baron use a greater proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than Pichon Comtesse.
In 2003 and 2005 the Chateaux have used the same proportion, respectively 65% and 64% of this grape variety. In 2009 Pichon Comtesse used 75% of Cabernet Sauvignon while Pichon Baron used 70%. For the challenging 2013 vintage, Pichon Comtesse put only 33% in the crop in the grand vin and it was 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
For all other vintages since 2000, Pichon Baron use a greater proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon than Pichon Baron.
The biggest proportion of Merlot in the final blend makes it more approachable in its youth thanks to the rounder tannins. The harsher tannins of the Cabernet Sauvignon need more time to smooth.
Although counterintuitive because of their respective names, after a few years of ageing you might find Pichon Baron more “feminine” than Pichon Comtesse thanks to the finesse of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Pichon Baron and Pichon Comtesse are both great wine and age very well whatever their final blend is. They are made in different style but rank among the 5 top wines of the Pauillac appellation just after Lafite, Latour and Mouton.
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