In Denmark there have been some discussions about wines low sulphur wines – will they keep or are they somehow fragile and fall apart when they are stored for 5 to 10 years.
I must admit that I have rarely seen problems with bottles from my own cellar, but I have heard about problems from other collectors and restaurants.
Amongst others to test the hypothesis that the low sulphur wines develop quite rapidly and will not keep – the Danish importer of Philippe Pacalet, Vinrosen, set up a tasting with Pacalet wines from 2011 back to 2003.
Perhaps I’m simplifying the discussion by making this a sulphur issue – but I think sulphur is a big part of the questions raised … but of cause the vinification as a whole does also influence the longevity of the wines.
Always a good idea to have a academic purpose when one have a empty glass and a lovely lineup of bottles … in other words very hard work!
Philippe Pacalet himself was present to explain about the wines and the vintages, as was his wife Monica – always great to meet them both – and always interesting to hear Philippe explain the wines of Burgundy.
The Pacalet wines tasted
We tasted wines mainly from the period 2011 to 2007, with one wine from the hot year 2003. The following wines were served:
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2011 MG
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2009 MG
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2008 MG
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2007 MG
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2003
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges 1er cru 2011
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges 1er cru 2010
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2009
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuis-Saint-Georges village 2008
Lets take first things first – all wines were alive and kicking and while the Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges 2007 now is quite mature – also from my own cellar – it still have a nice freshness and offer fine matured notes.
So no problems detectable in any of the wines served – and even the 2003 showed well for the vintage, and did not show a higher level of maturity than expected – on the contrary actually.
So far so good … do the wines then develop fast or rapidly then?
The speed of maturing
When one try to explore if the wines develop/matures rather quickly the first question that pops up is – relative to what?
It’s pretty clear that the wines of Philippe Pacalet develops more rapidly compared to the wines of Domaine Henri Gouges, Domaine Georges Roumier, Domaine Dugat-Py, Domaine Meo-Camuzet, Domaine Claude Dugat … and other producers that require quite a long time in the celler to unfold mature notes.
But is it a special quality that a wine need many years in the cellar before its matured and ready? And what is the appropriate ageing time for a village Burgundy?
The first question is pretty easy – in my view it’s not a “special” quality that a village wine can keep for 30 years and that it require 20 years to unfold at least some mature complexity. I would rather be able to enjoy the wines earlier than later – and also love to see the wines enjoyed at a matured stage – rather than being consumed very early just after release.
There is however a balance, as developing complexity and mature notes require time and cellaring. In this case, the Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges 2007 village is quite advanced in it’s development – mature notes and unfolding fully at the moment. It has the mature wines fragility but still freshness and quite some fruit left. I would say its at it’s peak in magnum now, and it would presumably not improve with further cellaring – as it probably would swap the fruit for some more mature notes ..
So at age 10 this village wine from 2007 is at it’s peak. Is that reasonable? – In my view yes, as many other 2007 village wines now are showing clear signs of development – and some are even quite developed. So the Pacalet Nuits-Saint-Georges 2007 is in this case quite advanced yet nothing out of the ordinary.
I would say this is also the case with the village wines from 2011 and 2009, and the 2003 seems actually quite fresh for the vintage – they are all developed but nothing out of the ordinary for type of wines and for the vintages.
Looking at the 1er crus – both the 2009 and 2010 still require quite some cellaring to reach their optimum in my view. The 2008 Nuits Saint Georges 1er cru is showing very well now and is forward with some maturing notes. The wine is now 9 years old – and while some 2008s are still quite youthful and tight – the tendency seems to be that the red 2008s develop rather quickly even from producers that normally require some time in the cellar.
I would personally drink the 2008 NSG 1er cru from Philippe Pacalet now, as it’s very expressive and offer a tremendous lively drinkability. It’s a vintage with moderate tannins and a fresh and vibrant acidity – a vintage that I would rather drink on the way up towards maturity – than on the way down! – and this apply to all producers.
So the conclusion – or should I say my conclusion is: The low sulphur wines from Philippe Pacalet do belong to the group of wines, that develop rather quickly – yet not differently from a quite large group of other producers that produce wines that show well early on and develop rather quickly.
So this tasting confirmed my opinion and my personal experience, the Pacalet wines keep well, although they are not build for 20 years of cellaring of a village wine. For my preference they keep sufficiently long, and I really enjoy this type of wine for pleasure drinking and that there still is a chance that the wine actually mature quicker than me!.
They do however require cool cellaring – i.e. preferably below 15 celsius (that is my recommendation for low sulphur wines) and low sulphur is here defined as red wines with below 25mg/l. of free sulphur at bottling!
With global warming the natural cellars and storage facilities gets hotter, and what was sufficiently cool 20 years ago is suddenly reaching 20+ celsius in the summer. That is in my view dangerous with most wines, and can be a disaster with low sulphur wines.
So so keep the cellar cool, dark and humid .. thats the way to go!
And the wines … perhaps more importantly
The Nuits-Saint-Georges wines from Pacalet are a bit overlooked, as many other wines from this appellation. This is sad, as I really think that the light-footed style of Pacalet is quite ideal for the relatively robust terroirs of Nuits-Saint-Georges.
The village wine often boast a lovely mid-palate fruit with a vibrant red and dark berry fruit – a fruit with a lovely depth and complexity. It does not offer the same mineral intensity as the Chambolle village, but I have come to enjoy them on their own terms.
The 1er cru comes from the terroir Aux Argillas (a terroir that is divided into a 1er cru part and a village part extending further into the valley towards Vergy.
This area (next to Aux Thorey and Aux Bousselots) is very interesting due to the cool climate induced by the “ventilation” from the valley.
It has a lovely minerality and a airy and effortless presentation of the fruit – and none of the somewhat dense and rustic expression found in some NSG terroirs and wines.
The 2011s tasted – both village and 1er cru showed delightfully … a lightfooted vintage – a bit along the lines of the 2007 vintage – but better and a bit more vivid. I would give them 3 – 6 years more to see how they perform. Not wines for many years of ageing .. and they are just so lovely now.
The 2010 1er cru is with some margin the best wine at this tasting – the lightfooted intensity of this wine is tremendous – a Fine glass – need at least 5 – 7 years more to unfold fully. The 2010 vintage is the best I have tasted from Philippe Pacalet so far (although the 2015s looks great too from bottle).
The 2009s were never my favourites from Pacalet – but now that the reduction is gone, they shape up nicely. It’s a hot year … and until 2015 I never preferred the hotter years from Pacalet. The 2009s have more weight and substance than the 2011s, 2008s and 2007s – but they have some hot and ripe notes that I find less attractive – especially the village wine. That being said – let them unfold fully.
The 2008s are atypical with the acidity driven fruit – they are very expressive and flamboyant with a vivacious acidity … either you love the drama – or…. They are quite matured – and should in my view be consumed over the next years … I already enjoyed my bottles.
The 2007 village is at it’s peak from magnum – indicating that it’s descending … I still enjoy it … but from a hot cellar .. perhaps not!
So here we are – only one rating … the rest is ranging from Good+ to Very Good … translated to around 87 to 89 – in the name of global warming translated to Fahrenheit – between 186F and 194F – which no longer is equivalent to the price in French Franc!
Tasting Notes for this producer
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2009 July 26, 2018
- Philippe Pacalet, Corton Charlemagne 2011 May 15, 2018
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2015 September 7, 2017
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne-Romanee Les Chaumes 2014 August 25, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2014 July 24, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 2002 May 17, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2004 May 17, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Chablis Beauroy 2005 May 9, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Chablis Beauroy 2004 May 9, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2010 April 28, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2010 January 17, 2016
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne Les Chaumes 2013 November 12, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2013 September 18, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru 2010 August 21, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Corton Charlemagne 2010 February 5, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne Romanee 2012 February 4, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Puligny Montrachet 2013 January 16, 2015
- Philippe Pacalet, Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013 November 13, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle-Musigny 1er cru 2009 September 17, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin, Laveaux St. Jacques 2013 September 13, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin, Bel Air 2013 September 11, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne Romanee, Les Chaumes 2013 September 9, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2013 September 5, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-George 1er cru 2013 September 4, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Pommard 2013 August 19, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2013 August 16, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle-Musigny 2013 August 15, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne-Romanee 2013 August 13, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin 2013 August 12, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle-Musigny 2012 August 10, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Charmes Chambertin 2013 August 5, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Ruchottes-Chambertin 2013 August 2, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2013 July 31, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 2012 July 26, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin Lavaux St. Jacques 2012 July 20, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2012 July 19, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2012 June 18, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin Bel-Air 2012 June 12, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Puligny-Montrachet 2012 June 11, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2012 June 7, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Aligote 2012 February 20, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2011 February 19, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes 2012 January 17, 2014
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru 2008 November 21, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey-Chambertin Bel-Air 2010 November 20, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 2010 November 19, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Bourgogne Vieilles Vignes 2012 October 21, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Pinot Noir 2012 October 15, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2011 September 10, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2007 July 27, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Ruchotte Chambertin 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Charmes Chambertin 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne Romanee Les Chaumes 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin Laveaux St. Jacques 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin Bel Air 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 1er cru 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin Les Perrieres 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Pommard 1er cru 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Vosne Romanee 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Pommard 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin 2012 June 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Corton Charlemagne 2011 June 12, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Saint Aubin Les Murgers des Dents 2011 June 11, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Pommard Les Arvelets 2011 June 10, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Ruchottes Chambertin 2011 June 9, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin Bel Air 2011 June 6, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Nuits-Saint-Georges 2011 May 22, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Echezeaux 2011 May 20, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2004 April 5, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2005 April 4, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Gevrey Chambertin Bel-Air 2010 March 17, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2006 February 11, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2008 February 8, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Puligny Montrachet 2011 January 20, 2013
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 2007 December 24, 2012
- Philippe Pacalet, Chambolle Musigny 1er cru 2002 November 29, 2012
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