Velvety and polished, absolutely silken in texture, beautifully bracketed by mouthwatering acidity.
We evaluate thousands of wines each year, most in the cellars where they were made. Few make the cut (when we last counted, it was about one in 14). Despite the daunting arithmetic, we continue to contact each supplier after tastings, with both good news and bad.
The most difficult emails we have to send are the ones informing our suppliers, sometimes even our friends, that we’re not interested in their latest offering — especially when WineAccess members have snapped up entire allocations of previous vintages. We’re obliged to listen patiently when winemakers call us “cherry-pickers,” buyers interested only in wines from the best years. We empathize.
But then we do what we’re paid to do. We dig our feet in.
We cherish the relationships we’ve built up over 40 years on the world’s wine trails. But WineAccess’s focus is and always has been on serving our membership — you. So that’s why a year ago, we had to make an uncomfortable call to Pascal Sirat, the brilliant and indefatigable Right Bank winegrower at Château Panchille.
We met Pascal in the summer of 2011 at a cafe in Bordeaux. Over espresso and squares of bitter chocolate, he spoke passionately of the resolve that went into the creation of an estate that has stolen the hearts of so many NYC sommeliers. We tasted Pascal’s 2009 Château Panchille, a rich, suave, supple blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc, and cut a deal on the spot. A month later we wrote an offer that struck a chord, lighting up the WineAccess scoreboard like a one-armed bandit in Vegas.
The following year, hundreds of you bought cases of Pascal’s even more sumptuous 2010. Almost 40% of those pulling the trigger on the 2010s had also bought Pascal’s 2009s! By the time the dust had settled, WineAccess members had purchased nearly 10% of the production off of Sirat’s 25 acres. Pascal could be forgiven if he started imagining an annual stampede of WineAccess members padding his bottom line.
But, as seasoned Bordeaux collectors know, all vintages aren’t created equally on the Right Bank. 2009 and 2010 are now considered the finest back-to-back campaigns in the history of the Gironde. 2011, on the other hand, was challenging. The 2011 Château Panchille was beautifully crafted, and as always, refined and elegant, but we found it a bit dry and angular.
When we hit the SEND button, informing Pascal that WineAccess would not be buying his 2011, we didn’t feel good about it. We worried about our budding friendship, but in the end, we underestimated the inimitable M. Sirat.
In Robert Parker’s 2012 vintage report, he admitted that he’d underestimated the 2011 vintage, and posted dozens of upgraded reviews. As for the 2012s? Many outpointed both 2009 and 2010! Such was the case at Château Panchille, and when we inquired about the 2012, Pascal chided us. “Why didn’t you ask about the 2012s when you wrote me about the 2011s? How much do you want?”
We had 1,800 bottles of his 2012 shipped stateside and they sold out in a matter of hours.
The recently released 2014 Château Panchille is a gorgeous wine. Writing for The Wine Advocate, Neal Martin contends that the 2014s are marked by “plenty of freshness” thanks to ample acid levels and are possibly Bordeaux’s best vintage since 2010. Wine Spectator agreed, calling it a “Goldilocks vintage” that produced “pure and precise reds.”
A near perfect spring and fruit set gave way to a humid summer with pockets of rain. The Bordelais prepared for another year of intense vineyard and canopy management. But then a sunny September and October ushered in perfect conditions. Benefiting the most were the Right Bank’s red varieties, particularly near Libourne, as grapes experienced even, slow ripening through to harvest that made for deeply concentrated wines.
Inky black with ruby hues at the rim. Gorgeous red cherry, currant, and underbrush aromas. Supple and juicy on the attack, featuring an attractive core of sappy red currant and a plush mix of cherry and crushed black fruits tinged with tobacco spice. Velvety and polished, absolutely silken in texture, beautifully bracketed by mouthwatering acidity. Drink now for its youthful hedonism or lay day until 2024.
$22 on release. Just $14.99 on today’s Direct Import, straight from the cellars of Pascal Sirat’s Château Panchille. This time 200 cases are up for grabs — and we suspect our next email to Pascal will be telling him how quickly those cases disappeared
we thought this lovely, mild mannered, and delightful
This wine was a bit disappointing the description sounded great but I felt like it just did not hold up in the end
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