Really delicious wine, and Chateau Pichon Longueville is enjoying a great comeback after AXAs investment. The stories of the Chateaux in Bordeaux is more intriguing than any best selling novel, with properties undergoing periods of incredible prosperity and fame, and for various reasons (war, lack of heirs, inheritance issues) falling into neglect.
I tasted the 2003 in a verticle at the Chateau and it was fabulous … I was one of five Master of Wine students lucky enough to win an AXA scholarship that took us to Pichon-Longueville and several other AXA properties. We spent several hours with Technical Director Jean-Rene Matigon and AXA (overseeing Chateau Pichon Longueville and other AXA properties) in the vineyard and in the cellar.
Very exciting times as we toured during the Harvest, actually picking grapes and seeing them brought to reception. The optical sorter was incredible! The grapes arrived on the belt, were sorted twice by humans, and the optical sorter managed to find the very best berries so that the final result looked almost like a composition of glistening, perfect, uniformly-sized berries a celebrity pastry chef might use as an ornament for a tempting dessert.
After the berries, we climbed steep steel stairs to the top of the vat, where we could see gravity in action. Grapes were gently led to what I can only describe as an "escalator" of sorts that took them to the top of the vat. There, a man with a mini-crusher gently crushed the grapes at the top of the vat so as to continue the gentle treatment of these perfect grapes as long as possible.
Then, we crowded into Jean-Rene’s "spaceship" shaped control room (a circular office, glass encased, that had various high tech computers) and learned about all the ways he and his team keep controls on the wine.
Exciting news and Congratulations Ch Pichon Longueville!
You can read more of these adventures here