I have followed the wines of Philippe Pacalet since his first vintages, more than 15 years ago. I have furthermore followed the wines he made at Domaine Prieure-Roch before he began on his own.
Let me be prefectly clear – Philippe Pacalet is a tremendously gifted winemaker, with a quite unique talent for producing very drikable and forward wines .. in my view at least.
The style with low sulphur, no new oak and 100% whole cluster does give hedonistic and expressive reds … wines that I have consumed by the cases over the years.
The style and purpose
In recent years I have however been a bit in doubt – I adore the wines, and while they have become expensive, they are not more costly than other fine Burgundies that provide the same amount of pleasure.
The sneaking doubt is related to the fact that the Pacalet wines seem to be build more for early pleasures, and that the ageing of these wines is relatively quick – or should I say that the drinking window develops differently than with more traditionally made wines – wines made with more new oak and more sulphur.
The essential question is however – does it matter? – as I anyhow tend to drink these wines within the first five to ten years. And thinking more about this made me realise that I adore drinking these wines – young, relatively young, and even maturing. I’m perhaps not necessarily looking for the mature notes they will get when they age longer. Or should I say this differently – I do perhaps prefer the midterm qualities still with the vibrant energy in the fruit.
The above being said – even lesser vintages from Pacalet still keep surprisingly well – maturing in a more conventional way – although one need to store these wines properly in cool conditions.
So in essence I need some Pacalet – to enjoy, for my hedonistic pleasure without regrets of not keeping the wines in the cellar for maturing. They serve this purpose – and they have served me well over the years.
Pacalet 2016 – limited quantity fine quality
Philippe Pacalet was quite badly hit by the April frost and other problems that hit the 2016 vintage – bringing yield significantly down in some appellations.
In general the intensity and concentration is excellent in the 2016 vintage – and of cause especially in the areas with extraordinary low yields – i.e. hit by the April frost or the early summer mildew.
The low yield intensity is making this a rather special vintage for Pacalet – as the wines often are somewhat on light-footed side – and the extra concentration does add another dimension to some of the Pacalet wines.
I must say I really like the 2016s here, and find the level impressive – offering a nice challenge to the delightful 2015s here. They are cooler that the 2015s – and perfectly balanced … but then again – I thoroughly adored the 2015s … such delightful wines.
To the 2016 notes…
Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 2016
The Gevrey village is a very large cuvée (even in 2016) and is showing beautifully – perhaps a bit of extra oomph due to the low yields. The nose is classic Pacalet – red fruit with darker forest berries – spiced with cinnamon an allspice. On the palate transparent and energetic fruit – nice mid-palate intensity and length for this level – lovely airy feel – with a nice fruity character.
(Drink from 2022) – Very Good (88 – 89p) – tasted from cask 10/11/2017
Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saints-Georges 2016
The Nuits-Saint-Georges is a step up in focus and intensity – very sappy and energetic. The nose is brimming with red and dark berries – spiced with a nice chalky note and cinnamon from the stems. On the palate lovely rich fruit – with nice support of the oak (not new oak) – very fine depth and length for this level. Very enjoyable.
(Drink from 2024) – Very Good (89 – 90p) – tasted from cask 10/11/2017
Philippe Pacalet, Aloxe-Corton 2016
The Aloxe-Corton is new wine in the Pacalet lineup – and a delightful wine – plenty of stuffing and intensity. The nose is crammed with intense red and dark berry fruit – deep earthy minerality – clay – spiced with a nice note of cinnamon and white pepper. On the palate lovely acidity – lovely vibrant fruit – fine intensity and depth. A magnificent energy in this wine ..
(Drink from 2024) – Very Good (88 – 90p) – tasted from cask 10/11/2017
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