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Château Pichon-Longueville, Lalande--Vintage 1953

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Estimate: US$2,400 - US$3,500
Price realised:  US$3,600
Lot number 91, Views: 164

Château Pichon-Longueville, Lalande--Vintage 1953
1 Marie-Jeanne per lot
The following section of the catalogue celebrates the coming together of two of France's greatest wine families, one from Bordeaux, one from Champagne. Their wines are Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, deuxième cru classé of Pauillac, and Champagne Louis Roederer of Reims, the makers of Cristal. CHATEAU PICHON-LONGUEVILLE COMTESSE DE LALANDE A TIME TO CELEBRATE: MAY-ELIANE'S LIFE IN WINE In 2006, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, one of Bordeaux's greatest classed growths, changed hands. The property had for many years belonged to the Miailhe family, whose history as Bordeaux wine brokers dates back to 1783. The Miailhes were partners in Ch. Palmer, as well as owning Ch. Pichon Longueville, as well as Cru Bourgeois Châteaux Siran and Citran. The middle years of the 20th century were very tough for château owners, however. International demand was virtually non-existant during the 1930s, then the Germans occupied Pichon during the war. Many wines were unsold at the time, and properties in disrepair. There was little money to modernise wine-making facilities, indeed the rain often came in through the château's roof. May-Eliane de Lencquesaing, née Miailhe, was born in Bordeaux in 1925. As a child, she criss-crossed the Médoc by bicycle and horse, picking grapes at Pichon, and working on the family estates during her school holidays. After the war, she married a French Resistance fighter, half-Belgian, half French (from Saint-Omer, in the north). He was a military man, who was to become a General, and they had many postings in France, the USA and Algeria. On the general's retirement in 1974, May-Eliane expected to take up a political career in Saint-Omer, but fate decided otherwise. In 1978, the Miailhe family needed someone to revive Pichon, so lots were drawn to find an heir for the property. May-Eliane drew the winning lot, but it was a weighty responsibility, for she and her husband had no wine-making knowledge. They decided to live year-round at the property (which few Médoc owners were doing at the time). They enrolled in oenology classes, and vowed to transform the estate within 5 years. The vats, storage cellars, barrels, staff quarters, vines and château itself - all needed regeneration, repair and investment. A new vat-house was constructed in 1980, and an expanded barrel cellar completed in 1988. Additional quantities of wine were being set aside each year for the second label, Réserve de la Comtesse, which gained in reputation in its own right. Talented young people were recruited to join the teams in vineyard and cellar. This château has a higher proportion of Merlot grapes in the blend than is common in the central Médoc, which certainly contributes to its silky, plump, inimitable middle-palate character. Unusually, a number of vineyards which lie in the adjoining village of Saint-Julien are - perfectly legally - incorporated into the Grand Vin blend, and this too contributes to its seductive, fleshy texture, and its exceptional finesse. Unlimited attention to every possible detail by Madame de Lencquesaing, living at the property, resulted in her (Châ teau) Pichon-Lalande taking its place amongst the very greatest of Bordeaux's "Super-Second" châteaux. The style of the wine became defined and polished under her tenure, to create a unique, recognisable character. She travelled tirelessly to all the world's markets where great claret is appreciated, to promote her wines, while also raising the profile of Bordeaux. 28 years after she inherited the property, and having just celebrated her 80th birthday, May-Eliane de Lencquesaing decided to put her family affairs in order. Her husband, General de Lencquesaing, had passed away in 1990. She chose to hand Pichon on. "I did not want to sell to a financial group, bank or foreign investors", she said. "What is the personality of Pichon ?" she asked herself. "It's a family estate. None of my children are wine professionals, but we needed to g

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Rarities From The Cellars Of Mähler-Besse Followed By The Evening Sale: Finest and Rarest Wines
Date of the auction: 30 Oct 2007
Address: Christie's
30 October 2007, New York, Rockefeller Center