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Reserve De La Comtesse 2016

$140.00
Sale price

Regular price $140.00

The 2016 Réserve de la Comtesse has a delightful bouquet of black fruit infused with sous-bois and pencil shavings – classic Claret through and through. The medium-bodied palate delivers crunchy black fruit laced with tobacco and cedar. This is a correct, quite “linear” wine, but one that I find well balanced, with a welcome pepperiness that emerges toward the grippy finish. It might not warrant superlatives, but it is clearly well crafted and endowed with understated nobility. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. 2021 - 2040

92
Neal Martin, vinous.com, August 2020

The Producer

This Pauillac second growth has plenty of admirers, but it also has equally illustrious neighbours...

Location

AOC Pauillac, opposite Château Pichon Baron, and next to Château Latour.

Production

85 hectares, producing 30,000 cases of the grand vin and 6,000 cases of second wine Réserve de la Comtesse.

 

 

Plantation and vineyard work

Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and Petit Verdot (8%), planted at 9,000 vines per hectare. This is a fairly low proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon for such a prominent Pauillac estate, and explains why it has a reputation for such feminine, elegant wines.

Average age of the vines are 35 years. A replanting programme has been underway since Roederer took over however, and they hope to end up 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.


Vinification

In the vat cellars there are 33 temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks which have both heating and cooling systems. Blending is carried out in late December to early January. The wines spend 18-22 months in oak barrels, with around 50% of new oak each year. Around 25% new oak is used for the second wine.

 

 

Terroir

Garonne gravel on clay, containing an iron-rich layer of subsoil. The plots circle the château and lead down to the river alongside Latour.

History

At first, the history here exactly mirrors its neighbour Pichon Baron, as they were one and the same estate. A document in the archives refers to ’40 very gravelly plots’ that were used to first plant the estate by Pierre de Rauzan.

His daughter Therese married into the Baron de Pichon-Longueville family, and the Pauillac estates became known under the family name of her new husband (hence why in Margaux the name Rauzan continues, whereas in Pauillac they are Pichon Longueville). It was to remain in the hands of this family for 250 years.

As befits its name, Pichon Comtesse had its history mapped out by three influential women – first Therese de Rauzan, then Germaine de Lajus and Marie Branda de Terrfort – who looked after the estate up to the French Revolution (another influential woman came along in the 20th century in the form of Dame May Eliane de Lencquesaing).

As we know from Pichon Baron, from around 1850 the estate was divided between his sons (Pichon Baron) and his daughters (Pichon Comtesse). They have remained separate ever since.


In 1920, Pichon Comtesse was sold through auction to the Miailhe brothers Edouard and Louis, and it was Edouard’s daughter May-Eliane who was to become the defining owner of the property in the 20th century. In 2007, as she looked to retire and knew that none of her children wanted to take over, she sold her château to the Louis Roederer Champagne house.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir. 

The 2016 Réserve de la Comtesse has a delightful bouquet of black fruit infused with sous-bois and pencil shavings – classic Claret through and through. The medium-bodied palate delivers crunchy black fruit laced with tobacco and cedar. This is a correct, quite “linear” wine, but one that I find well balanced, with a welcome pepperiness that emerges toward the grippy finish. It might not warrant superlatives, but it is clearly well crafted and endowed with understated nobility. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. 2021 - 2040

92
Neal Martin, vinous.com, August 2020

The Producer

This Pauillac second growth has plenty of admirers, but it also has equally illustrious neighbours...

Location

AOC Pauillac, opposite Château Pichon Baron, and next to Château Latour.

Production

85 hectares, producing 30,000 cases of the grand vin and 6,000 cases of second wine Réserve de la Comtesse.

 

 

Plantation and vineyard work

Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (35%), Cabernet Franc (12%) and Petit Verdot (8%), planted at 9,000 vines per hectare. This is a fairly low proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon for such a prominent Pauillac estate, and explains why it has a reputation for such feminine, elegant wines.

Average age of the vines are 35 years. A replanting programme has been underway since Roederer took over however, and they hope to end up 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.


Vinification

In the vat cellars there are 33 temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks which have both heating and cooling systems. Blending is carried out in late December to early January. The wines spend 18-22 months in oak barrels, with around 50% of new oak each year. Around 25% new oak is used for the second wine.

 

 

Terroir

Garonne gravel on clay, containing an iron-rich layer of subsoil. The plots circle the château and lead down to the river alongside Latour.

History

At first, the history here exactly mirrors its neighbour Pichon Baron, as they were one and the same estate. A document in the archives refers to ’40 very gravelly plots’ that were used to first plant the estate by Pierre de Rauzan.

His daughter Therese married into the Baron de Pichon-Longueville family, and the Pauillac estates became known under the family name of her new husband (hence why in Margaux the name Rauzan continues, whereas in Pauillac they are Pichon Longueville). It was to remain in the hands of this family for 250 years.

As befits its name, Pichon Comtesse had its history mapped out by three influential women – first Therese de Rauzan, then Germaine de Lajus and Marie Branda de Terrfort – who looked after the estate up to the French Revolution (another influential woman came along in the 20th century in the form of Dame May Eliane de Lencquesaing).

As we know from Pichon Baron, from around 1850 the estate was divided between his sons (Pichon Baron) and his daughters (Pichon Comtesse). They have remained separate ever since.


In 1920, Pichon Comtesse was sold through auction to the Miailhe brothers Edouard and Louis, and it was Edouard’s daughter May-Eliane who was to become the defining owner of the property in the 20th century. In 2007, as she looked to retire and knew that none of her children wanted to take over, she sold her château to the Louis Roederer Champagne house.

The best place to start when you are pairing food and wine is to think about the structural elements of both the food and wines. These elements are: sweetness, acidity, bitterness, umami, chilli heat and fat.

We have listed these elements in foods and how you can add wines with similar or contrasting elements to help create harmony in your matches.

Sweetness 

Sweet foods can overpower dry wines, white or red, making them appear acidic, neutral or bitter. In order to reduce this effect you should pair sweet foods with sweet wines. 

Acidity

Acidic foods, like fresh citrus, tomatoes or salads laden with vinaigrettes, will overpower the acidity in a wine making them appear flabby or less acidic than they were. In order to reduce this effect you should pair acidic foods with wines that have a higher acidity such as Champagne, Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Acidity is a key element in creating balance in a dish or a food-and-wine match. If the foods are going to reduce the acidity in the wines then you need to add your own bit of acidity by bringing a more acidic wine to the table. It is the same principle behind adding lemon juice to seafood dishes, as seafood tends to have quite low natural acidity.

Bitterness

If a food is high in bitterness then it will make the wine appear bitter, or it will increase the perception of bitterness (tannins) in the wine. In order to reduce this effect you should pair bitter foods with wines that are not lean with high acid.  Rather choose wines with some sweetness, fruit or viscosity.

Umami (Savoury)

Foods that are highly savoury, like mushrooms, will increase the bitterness or acidic perception we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair umami rich foods with wines that are fruity and do not have medium-high tannins. 

Often foods that are more savoury are best matched with white wines like Chardonnay or Soave as these do not big tannins but have lots of fruity flavours.

Chilli Heat

Chilli heat is similar to umami-rich foods.  They will increase the bitterness or acidic perception as well as the alcoholic burn we have in wines. In order to reduce this effect you should pair chilli heat rich foods with wines that are fruity and/or have higher sweetness levels.

Wines that are off-dry like many Gewürztraminers or Rieslings could work best with chilli foods like a curry as they will be both a bit sweet but also very fruity. If you aren't a white wine drinker then you could consider red wines that have lower tannins such as a Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. 

Fatty

Foods that are high in fat will make the wines feel flabby and less fruity. In order to reduce this effect you should pair fatty foods with wines that have high acidity. This is similar to the rule of adding in acidity (in the form of citrus) to seafood to help to cut down the perception of fattiness.  

These suggestions (there are no rules that apply to everyone) will help you to think about how to create pairings. It often isn't helpful to think about 'red wine and red meat' or 'white wine and fish' because it is actually the structural elements of the wine and food that need to be balanced. It is the acidity in white wines that works well by cutting through the fattiness of a piece of fish but you could get that acidity in a Pinot Noir.