AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Château Pichon Baron
Wine region: Bordeaux
Standout points: Stunning ‘super seconds’ from one of the great historic Pauillac estates
Winemaker: Jean-René Matignon
Wine style: Muscular, Cabernet-dominant claret
Jewel of Pauillac
A jewel of Pauillac on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, Château Pichon Baron is immediately identifiable by its turreted 19th-century Renaissance-style castle and the ornamental pool stretching majestically before it. The pool’s silvery expanse conceals an underground cellar, reminiscent of Jules Verne’s Nautilus, with views of both the water and the sky above. Having a fraternal relationship to neighbouring Pichon Comtesse de Lalande, Pichon Baron produces the more broad-shouldered wines of the two estates, clarets that only begin to show their true colours after a decade, and which, in the right conditions, will age well for 40 years or more.
A vinegrowing paradise
The Pauillac appellation is located about 40km north of Bordeaux, on the left bank of the Gironde river. The vineyard land here, characterised by quaternary gravel deposits, large pebbles and sand, and with its proximity to the temperature-moderating Gironde estuary, represent a vinegrowing paradise. The subsoil composition allows the ideal retention of water to feed the vine roots, while the undulating relief of the vineyards makes for good drainage. All the right conditions to make one of the Médoc’s most prestigious wines.
Behind the scenes
For anyone looking to go behind the scenes of one of Bordeaux’s great estates, the good news is that Château Pichon Baron is open every day of the year by appointment. The standard tour begins in the immaculately presented vineyard, taking in the state-of-the art winemaking facilities and cellars, before tasting three Pichon Baron wines. For the ultimate tasting experience, guided verticals tastings give you the opportunity to taste some of Pichon Baron’s greatest and rarest vintages. Heady stuff indeed.