The 2001 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron was the Bordeaux that hooked me on fine Bordeaux wines. What to do, however, when one craves for that great house style of elegant force and finesse, structured tannins, earthy texture and powerful length but is not willing each time to delve into the triple-digits in cost? You have a few bottles of CHATEAU PIBRAN Pauillac in reserve. The winemaking process of the Pibran is managed by the Pichon Baron team, so this is the best that second-best gets. It’s an extremely selective process in deciding which grapes go into the grand vin of Pichon Baron, and then, lucky for us, a good amount of “leftovers” goes into the Pibran. The vineyards of Chateau Pibran also get an assist terroir-wise by being a neighbor to revered Mouton Rothschild and Lynch-Bages. The 2010 bottling is a reflection of both one of the greatest vintages in Bordeaux history and the gargantuan efforts of the estate to upgrade and improve their vineyards and facilities. And, hells bells, this Pauillac is back in black as AC/DC. Notes of black currant, black licorice, black coffee, black olives, dark balsamic and earthen wood drive forward along a solid spine to a powerful, clean, direct finish. Like an electric guitar riff from Angus Young. No hesitation to pick up the Chateau Pibran in any modern vintage for a go-to Bordeaux. For those about to rock, we salute you. –J.M.