1940 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande


On a recent visit to the estate, director Nicolas Glumineau probably risked his own job when he invited me down to the cellar to choose a bottle. I decided upon an esoteric and forgotten vintage, one that Glumineau himself had never tasted before.

The 1940 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande comes from a completely forgotten wartime season. Apart from mildew in July, the weather conditions were not as terrible as those that beset the Bordelais throughout most of the previous decade; however, châteaux were burdened by the occupying German army and shortage of both supplies and personnel. I was crossing my fingers that the 1940 might be drinkable, but in fact, this bottle is a revelation. Clear in colour with modest bricking on the rim, to my surprise the aromatics leap from the glass with shimmering red cherry and strawberry fruit intermingling with light minty aromas. It completely belies its age. The palate is not concentrated, yet it is unequivocally balanced and fresh, underpinned by a fine bead of acidity. There is sour cherry and a touch of piquancy on the finish with a lingering tang of seaweed on the aftertaste. An absolute delight from start to finish, it is a pertinent reminder to be open-minded about every bottle, irrespective of vintage reputation. 92/Drink 2022-2030.

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