2010 Chateau Panchille Bordeaux Superieur
 
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Pascal Sirat and Chateau Panchille "If I'm Not True to My Word, What Am I?

If we were to name one quality that we find most impressive about France's artisanal winegrowers, it's their stubborn pride. At the end of July and then again in August, Bordeaux's Right Bank was ravaged by hail. The first storm wiped out 40 percent of Pascal Sirat's crop at Château Panchille. The second destroyed more than half of what remained.

With 150 cases remaining on our Redux allocation of what Robert Parker, Denis Dubourdieu and others have called the greatest vintage since 1961, it would have made perfect sense for Sirat to raise his price on the last of his superb 2010s. We even suggested as much when we met that afternoon. Sirat was having none of it. "If I'm not true to my word," the brilliant winegrower said, "what am I?"

When Robert Parker weighed in on the 2009s, handing out numerous 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 had to come down. Then, one more time, The Wine Advocate came out blasting, with a 2010 vintage report that put those guys in Shanghai right back in business.

Had something come over the critic who makes or breaks a Bordeaux harvest with a few strokes on a keyboard? Was Parker drinking the Gironde Kool-Aid when he awarded ten 2010 Bordeaux 100-point scores? Or could 2010 be just as winegrowers like Pascal Sirat always claimed it to be: the finest, most complete vintage in 49 years?

The 2010 growing season got off to a tumultuous start. Flowering was spotty with plenty of shot berries. After a fairly plentiful harvest in 2009, it was clear by mid-June that the 2010 harvest would be off as much as 30 percent. But, as importers worldwide would soon learn, that small crop size would pay triple dividends in September.

The summer was unusually dry, much like 2005. While July was even hotter than '05 or '09, the remainder of the summer was far milder. As temperatures cooled, the growth cycle slowed down. Sugars climbed incrementally, allowing the Château Panchille Merlot and Cabernet extended time on the vine. Sirat waited and waited, watching as most of his neighbors picked. Like the top châteaux of Pomerol and St.-Emilion, Pascal held out until the first week of October, finally hand-harvesting a tiny crop of small-berry clusters. Sugars readings were the highest in 25 years, seeds were perfectly mature, yet acids remained brisk and firm.

The 2010 Château Panchille is deep purple in color, with beautiful aromas of blackberry and black cherry. Just beginning to come out of its shell, this 2010 Right Bank knockout is compact and finely muscled. Almost chewy in texture (due to the small berries of the vintage), almost New World-ish black fruit opulence is buttressed by fine, dusty tannins. Drink now-2018.



Tasting Notes

2010 Chateau Panchille Bordeaux Superieur
"The 2010 Château Panchille is deep purple in color, with beautiful aromas of blackberry and black cherry. Just beginning to come out of its shell, this 2010 Right Bank knockout is compact and finely muscled. Almost chewy in texture (due to the small berries of the vintage), almost New World-ish black fruit opulence is buttressed by fine, dusty tannins. Drink now-2018."
– WineAccess Travel Log

 

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