2010 Chateau Panchille Bordeaux Superieur
 
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Pascal Sirat and Chateau Panchille No Kool-Aid on the Gironde

When Robert Parker weighed in on the 2009s, handing out eighteen solid 100-point scores, American collectors were quickly priced out of the market. Nearly every bottle of Lafite, Petrus and Mouton made a beeline for Shanghai and Beijing.

The dust seemed to be settling a year later, with the Chinese finally figuring out that they were bidding against themselves. Prices eased. Then, out of nowhere, The Wine Advocate again came out blasting, alerting readers to a 2010 vintage that many believe to be the greatest harvest since 1961. Those Shanghai buyers were back in business.

On his first vintage summary, Parker awarded ten 2010 Bordeaux hyphenated 100pt scores, with follow-up tastings and ratings still to come. Particularly on the well-drained soils of the Right Bank, RP raved, dumbfounded by the lush, almost New World sumptuousness of these richly textured, age worthy 2010s.

Had something come over Bordeaux's greatest champion? Was he drinking the Gironde Kool-Aid? Or could 2010 be just as winegrowers like Pascal Sirat at Chateau Panchille claimed it to be -- the finest, most complete vintage in 49 years?

After lunch in Libourne and a speedy doppio, the quiet, unassuming Sirat gave us a blow-by-blow of what he calls 'le miracle de 2010.' The growing season got off to a tumultuous start, Pascal explained. Flowering was poor with plenty of shot berries. But as it turned out, that small crop size paid triple dividends as the growing season played out.

The summer was dry and drought-like, much like 2005. While July was even hotter than '05 or '09, the remainder of the summer was far milder. "The growth cycle slowed," Pascal said. "Sugars climbed incrementally, offering extended hangtime and an opportunity for tannins to fully mature." Sirat waited, as did most of the top properties in Pomerol and St. Emilion, until the fruit reached historic natural sugar levels. Then in early October, the small berry clusters at Chateau Panchille were hand-harvested. Despite the ultra-concentration, not a gram of acidity had been lost.

Deep purple in color, with beautiful aromas of blackberry and black cherry, this knockout 2010 is rich, compact and finely muscled. Dense and chewy in texture, the almost New World opulence is buttressed by fine, dusty tannins that explain why Sirat and so many others are calling this the vintage of their lifetimes.

Drinking beautifully on release, Pascal added one word of caution. The underlying structure of the 2010 Chateau Panchille is masked by gobs of primary fruit density. Over the next 12-15 months, this one will remain gloriously quaffable, Sirat suggested, but sometime in early 2014, expect the 2010 Panchille to 'shut down' and go into hiding. The real coming out party is likely to take place two years later when this Right Bank beauty awakens, poised for a 10-year ride into the Gironde sunset.


Tasting Notes

2010 Chateau Panchille Bordeaux Superieur
"Deep purple to the edge. Beautiful aromas of blackberry and black cherry, laced with sweet herbs. Rich and ultra-concentrated on the attack, packed with black fruit muscle, all buttressed by the fine, dusty tannins of the vintage. One word of caution. Drink now-early 2014 for its primary fruit bombast, then lay down for two years, before the 2010 Chateau Panchille's 2016 coming out party."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

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    • This is a Pre-Arrival Offer: Weather permitting, wine will begin shipping upon arrival, in February, 2013.

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