From Our Cellar

Christophe Pichon Côte Rôtie La Comtesse en Côte Blonde 2016

Our tasting impressions

Magisterial is what comes to mind but honestly, I have trouble finding words that do justice to this profound wine.  World-Class in every way and still a fine value compared to other top cuvées of Côte Rôtie.  Like most Pichon wines, you can try it now but I would bury these away for several years at least and let it develop more complexity.


About this wine

The Flagship! 100% Syrah from vines planted in 1933 in schist on a south-facing slope. The juice from handpicked grapes with yields of 35 hl/ha is aged 18 months in new oak.  They own less than a hectare of the 12 in Côte Blonde and produce just 2300 bottles. The price on this great wine has risen considerably since our last offering.  We will pass it on gradually rather than all at once.  Our allocation is small but growing despite the intense demand for it in Europe.


About the grape

Syrah is the sixth most planted grape worldwide.  It thrives on steep slopes because of the dry climate and soil that enable deep root penetration.  The grapes are small and dark-skinned high in acid and tannins.


About the vintage

2016 Syrah production in the Northern Rhône was widely acclaimed but by no means easy. The biggest challenge was achieving requisite ripeness due to a rainy spring followed by a very dry summer. Those who waited long enough to pick were able to produce wines of great transparency. They are more compact and less rich than 2015’s but certainly more classically-styled.


On your table

Simple but elegant food is recommended.  Perhaps a beef tenderloin with a pan sauce of Syrah, shallots, marjoram and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve this wine at cellar temp.

Christophe Pichon

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Christophe Pichon

The Pichon family is a growing force in the Northern Rhône region. Christophe and Isabelle continue to steer the 18 hectare Domaine, but their sons, the third generation - Corentin, the principal winemaker and Alexis, who focuses on sales and marketing - are making their mark.

Based in Chavanay, the Pichons produce wines of elegance and finesse in a variety of appellations. Chemical treatment of the mostly Syrah and Viognier vineyards is kept to a bare minimum.


The joy of this family of eight is evident in their wines. VDLT has been visiting the Pichons for many years and is proud to include them as a foundation of the portfolio.  Last year, Alexis visited New York for the first time for a VDLT tasting event. We enjoyed introducing him to some of NYC’s finest, as well as bringing him to tour one of the best wineries on Long Island.