Rare Super Second From 99-point Vintage
We have just 20 bottles remaining of this “Super Second” 2009 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron Pauillac in our temperature controlled warehouse since arriving direct from the cellars in November. We had 21. But with 98 points from Robert Parker, such a rare opportunity to taste this “Super Second” proved impossible to resist. Tasted last week, it was utterly spectacular — filled with sumptuous black plum, boysenberry, vanilla, clove and cigar box, it was powerful and refreshing, with marvelous acidity and a dazzling finish. There’s little wonder Robert Parker declared it will “be at its peak between 2018 and 2045,” from “the greatest vintage I have tasted in Bordeaux since 1982.” It is perhaps the Pauillac bargain of the vintage.
This 2009 Pichon Longueville-Baron “Super Second” growth hails from Parker’s 99-point vintage, which he has said “is the greatest vintage I have tasted in Bordeaux since 1982.” In the heart of the Left Bank, Pauillac shined like rarely before: Château Latour ($1,200/bottle) earned 100 points from The Wine Advocate. Lafite Rothschild ($900) came in at 99+ points, and Mouton-Rothschild ($700) at 97 points. But at one critical point above Mouton-Rothschild — particularly given today’s prices — Pauillac’s drop-dead bargain of 2009 came from Château Pichon-Longueville Baron.
Technical Director Daniel Llose and his team crafted what many believe to be the richest, most lavish, and most finely structured wine ever to come off this historic estate. Parker’s 98 points may have been stingy. Parker calls it “Incredibly intense, pure and flawlessly constructed with extravagant layers of fruit and richness…This brilliant wine should be at its peak between 2018 and 2045.”
Wine Spectator has praised Pichon-Baron for being “a step ahead” of its neighbors — and specifically one notch above Pichon-Lalande across the street, “for a while now,” — all thanks to General Director Christian Seely, and Technical Director Daniel Llose. Their efforts to slash yields in half and focus efforts in the vineyards have paid off — especially in 2009.
In March 2010, Professor Denis Dubourdieu, who at the time was the faculty president of the University of Bordeaux’s school of enology, addressed an audience of 400 professionals in Bordeaux. Dubourdieu highlighted the five events that must take place in order to ensure an excellent vintage. First, flowering must come early. Second, the set must be healthy and regular. Third, veraison (when grapes change from green to red) must occur early as well, in late July. Fourth, Cabernet must reach optimal maturity, usually helped along by a few showers in August and September. Last, October must be sunny and dry, extending the growing season in the days before harvest, pushing the envelope on physiological maturity. 2009, the professor concluded, was 5 for 5.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
Contributing Writer, Food & Wine