The 2018 Pichon-Longueville Baron is made up of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon and 22% Merlot. The Merlot was harvested September 24-25, and the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested October 3-10. The wine is to be aged 18 months in barriques, 80% new and 20% one year old, and production represents 50% of the harvest this year. Very deep purple-black colored, it begins a little coy, rolling slowly and languidly out of the glass with notions of baked raspberries, blueberry coulis, crème de cassis and incense plus nuances of lilacs, truffles, damp soil and garrigue with wafts of lavender and wild sage. Full-bodied, voluptuous and oh-so-seductive, the palate reveals layer upon layer of savory, earthy and black fruit preserves, framed by wonderfully ripe, velvety tannins and lovely freshness, finishing very long and perfumed. Beautiful.
“If you compare 2018 with 2016 in Pauillac, we had similarities with the Cabernets—that’s what you get with a long growing season,” commented Christian Seely, Managing Director of AXA Millésimes, which owns Château Pichon Longueville-Baron and Château Pibran in Pauillac, among other estates in Bordeaux and around the world. “But it is the Merlots that were so extraordinary—magnificent, in fact! Not to say that they were better than the Cabernet Sauvignons, they weren’t, but they were right up there.”
He has a point about the caliber of the best Merlots coming out of Pauillac in 2018. There is a level of density and a structure coming from the Merlot components this year, at these estates and elsewhere, which truly kicks expression and overall quality up a notch in many of the wines.
Deep and dark young wine that takes you down, deep down to its center palate of blackberries and blueberries, firm and very silky tannins and a vivid finish. Wonderful palate and depth in this with such class and finesse. So many layers of polished, fine tannins. Great wine.
Straight from the nose you feel the wave of power with the wine uncurling through the palate, starting with tight notes of cassis then gently softening into sweeter brambled hedgerow fruits alongside a ton of ink and pencil lead.
The tannins are present but seductive, and as is often the case this year, they're concentrated without being remote. It’s less monolithic than the 2010 with some of the seduction of 2009 at this property but with higher levels of extraction.
The harvest took place between 24 September and 11 October. Again, we see here a Pauillac with the highest alcohol ever but it carries it extremely well. There was one week less of maceration than normal, so 21 days instead of 28, which will have helped control extractions. 86IPT.
Drinking Window 2026 - 2040