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Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse De Lalande

The 4 seasons
of the 2023 vintage

Tasting this 2023 vintage will call on all your senses: sight, smell, taste… but also your hearing. The 2023 vintage is best discovered with music.

Chick Corea – After the cosmic rain

Nicolas Glumineau
presents the 2023 vintage at Pichon Comtesse.

Act 1

Facing challenges
in spring

In its third year of conversion to organic viticulture, Pichon Comtesse prepared to write a new chapter in the estate’s history, with mild temperatures recorded in the first few months of 2023.


Alongside the use of mating disruption and the absence of herbicides, a combination of copper and sulfur and anti-botrytis bio-control products were applied to the 80 hectares of vines under production. 500P and 501 preparations and plant infusions were also applied to the 72 hectares that are now managed biodynamically.


However, this was not enough. Spring brought with it unprecedented challenges, including sudden rainfall and some very cold nights in early April. Fixed and mobile candles and wind turbines were used to prevent frost in vines with exposed buds, following early bud break during the middle of a mild winter.


Act 2

in summer

While the meteorological data from our weather stations classified the 2023 growing season as one of the hottest and driest in modern history, the actual picture was far more mixed. A series of rainy spells followed on from one another until mid-July, requiring us to redouble our vigilance and attention given the threat of vine diseases.


Downy mildew – which is omnipresent in the Bordeaux region – was present, but contained, thanks to well-drained soils and the drying of foliage between showers, combined with our constant efforts to spray numerous copper-based treatments whenever necessary. A combination of natural green cover and plant cover, which are now almost universally used at Pichon Comtesse, proved to be invaluable allies in ensuring the load-bearing capacity that the tractors need, allowing us to respond quickly and implement an increasingly precise protection strategy, beneficial to both soil life and vine nutrition.


While the 2023 vintage had its fair share of challenges, it is clear that we have learnt a great deal over the past 10 years, not least from the terrible adverse conditions imposed on us by nature in 2021. Without taking anything for granted, we can therefore congratulate ourselves on successfully scaling the human and material resources that soon led us, following welcome scattered rainfall between mid-July and September, to a 2023 harvest boasting high-quality, plentiful yields.

Act 3

Setting the pace
in autumn

After the Cosmic Rain plays in the background and the harvest nears… Could more rainfall be on the horizon? Not at all! The weather conditions were ideal during the harvest, which lasted from 6 to 30 September – virtually the same dates as the 2022 vintage. A symphony of three teams of fifty people harvested the grapes according to the ripeness of each plot.


When they arrived in the cellar, the Merlots and Cabernets Francs, which are sensitive to extreme temperatures and humidity, required our utmost vigilance to prevent them from turning into fruit jelly. The weather conditions had accelerated the ripening of their berries and seeds, compressing and levelling out the time available for picking. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were slower to mature, giving us more leeway to pick each plot at perfect ripeness.

The result was a perfectly-balanced harvest! In the cellar and vat room, the challenge was now on to fully express the aromatic potential of the grapes. From gentle extraction to limited use of pumping over and meticulous attention to detail, there was a fierce determination not to mask the aromatic expression of the wines that would soon reveal their high-quality potential. Rich and juicy, but also powerful, precise and well-balanced, with a creamy and fleshy tannic structure. To avoid over-extraction, we also kept the vats at a relatively low temperature (25°C). We added sulfites during bottling, and not beforehand.



Act 4

Looking ahead in winter

The time had come to blend the vintage. The Merlots were particularly juicy, combined with the tension, precision and minty freshness of the Cabernets Sauvignons… The final blend is a nod to the not-so-long-ago past, reminiscent of the 2005 and 2010 vintages.  2023 Château Pichon Comtesse is clearly a well-balanced, very classic wine.


The cellar was now quiet, aside small talk about the weather. But the weather is, of course, a fascinating and important topic of discussion! Can the Bordeaux climate now be described as hot and dry? We should not get ahead of ourselves… Yes, bud break is earlier and the vines are more vulnerable to spells of hot, cold, and dry conditions that seem to have lost all sense of proportion… But the rain is still present, and not just in small proportions: with over 1,200 mm throughout the year, it was also extreme in 2023.


There is no recipe for making a fine wine. It is a signature. A culture. A learning process over time. Balance, freshness and aromatic expression. In the short and long-term. 2023 also marks the 50th anniversary of ‘Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy’ by Return to Forever. Accompanied by this jazz fusion classic, we are left to wonder… What does this vintage tell us? Are we at a crossroads? Will our knowledge, experiments, intuitions and anticipations ever outrun climate change? Will we still be here tomorrow? Will we always be able to reveal this terroir, pass it on, and shape it as it has shaped us?


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