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Pichon Lalande

The Pichon Longueville estate dates back to the 17th Century when in 1646 Bernard de Pichon married Anne Daffis de Longueville and became Baron of Longueville. They had two sons François and Jacques.

In 1694, Jacques now Baron de Longueville married Thérèse des Mesures de Rauzan. Her father, Pierre des Mesures de Rauzan a wealthy landowner in Margaux bought an estate in St Lambert (later absorbed into the Pauillac appellation), planted vines there and his St Lambert wines were soon recognised for their quality. In 1694 this St Lambert estate became part of Thérèse dowry and the Pichon Longueville was born.

After Jacques death in 1731 his son Jacques inherited and consolidated the reputation of the wine, while also expanding the land holding. Firstly, Jean Pierre inherited and then Joseph (1755-1850) had the tricky task of guiding Pichon Longueville through the French Revolution. This he managed, but the inheritance laws quickly changed under Napoleon ensuring no single person could inherit any estate. As a result Joseph who had five children, split the estate. Raoul the only surviving son received two shares (28 hectares), with the remaining three shares going to each of Joseph’s daughters; Sophie, Marie Laure Virginie and Gabrielle (42 hectares).

The estate continued to be run under the leadership of Raoul and in 1855 it was classified as Deuxième Cru Classé. On Raoul’s death in 1860 it was finally divided with Pichon Baron being run by Raoul’s cousin also named Raoul and the sister’s shares run by Marie Laure Virginie who married Comte Henri de Lalande in 1818 and thus became the Comtesse de Lalande.

In 1840 they commissioned Duphot to restore the elegant château. While it does not have the grandeur of the château at Pichon Baron it is a beautiful example of restoration and second empire design that has also been a home over the centuries.

After the death of Sophie and Gabrielle, both childless, Marie Laure Virginie took sole control of wine production at Pichon Lalande. On her death in 1882, also childless, the estate was bestowed to her niece Elizabeth de Narbonne Pelet who was married to Comte Charles de Lalande and their children Sophie and Henriette inherited the estate.

When Sophie died in 1926, Henriette and Sophie’s five children – like so many after the first world war – decide to sell. The vineyard owners and negociant Louis and Edouard Miailches headed a consortium who bought Pichon Lalande for 700,000 francs. The reputation for making stylish quality wines continued and when Edouard died in 1959 the estate became fragmented with Edouard’s youngest daughter May Eliane de Lecquesaing inheriting 55% of Pichon Lalande.

William Alain Miailches ran Edouard’s estate from 1959 to 1975 but was forced to resign, due to family disagreements. Michel Delon of Château Leoville Las Cases then ran the estate for the next three years. In 1978 May Eliane bought out the other four family members and with 84% of shares, she takes control of the company. She brought in new staff such as Gildasd’Ollone, her nephew as Manager, Thomas DôChi Nam as winemaker. She invested in the chais by increasing its size in 1980, installing stainless steel fermenting tanks and then in 1986 building an underground storage facility, while with every vintage improving the vineyard practices.

Château Pichon Lalande’s superstar status is secure, it consistently makes great wine. It is considered a Super Second with an elegance that sits at odds with the austere richness of its neighbour Château Latour with the wine exhibiting characteristics more akin to those found in the wines of Château Lafite. It could be the high percentage of Merlot, that supplies these silky textures to the wine, or that the vineyards holdings are located on the border of St.Julien with 11 hectares actually inside the appellation.

In 2007 May Eliane retired, selling the estate to the Rouzand family, the proprietors of Louis Roederer Champagne. They have brought additional investment to Pichon Lalande and heralded a new era for this great estate. The director of the estate today is Sylvie Cases, the younger sister of Jean Michel Cases who in 1978 with AXA bought Pichon Baron. She calls on oenologist Hubert de Boüart, owner of Château Angelus and Jaccques Boissenot the wine consultant to four of the five first growths. With such a team Pichon Lalande looks an exciting prospect for future.