An eternal wine, the 2010 Pichon Lalande is a total showstopper. The first impression is one of explosive power, but time in the glass brings out the wine’s more delicate, floral side. Violet, graphite, crème de cassis, licorice and menthol overtones recall the 1996, but the tannins here are much softer, sweeter and more polished. In two recent tastings, the 2010 has been positively stellar. The alternation of hot days and cool nights led to a late harvest. The Cabernet Sauvignon harvest did not start until October 7; by that date in 2009 all the fruit was in. Readers who can still find the 2010 should not hesitate, as it is a modern-day classic. That’s all there is to it.
The 2010 Pichon Lalande is performing extremely well and at the top of the range I predicted several years ago. A final blend dominated much more by Cabernet Sauvignon than usual (66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot), the wine is a tighter, more tannic and structured version of this famed Pauillac, which often tends to have more of a St-Julien-like personality than most Pauillacs. Structured, backward and tannic, yet showing a fat mid-palate that is more savory, broader and more expansive than I remember from barrel, this wine is somewhat reminiscent of the 1986, given the Cabernet Sauvignon domination of the blend. Full-bodied, impressively endowed, and less sexy and velvety than normal, this is a somewhat different style of Pichon Lalande than most readers have been used to. Whether you like it more or less will depend on your point of view, but this wine, unlike most Pichon Lalandes, needs a good 5-7 years of cellaring and should keep for 30+ years.