Spotlight on Red Burgundy: Philippe Pacalet Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru 2009

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Inspiration comes from the desire to be more. To strive, and sometimes fail, to express. I feel the drive to be more, to research better, to be more poignant, more truthful, more individual. I am inspired by those who dedicate themselves to a craft as an ethic. Such choices are not ideological, nor idealized, but rather the manifestation of a profound self-awareness. And so full circle I realize the key to passion is not drive, but humility.

The Analyst

In another voice, place, I might be inspired. But this is my job. And jobs require precision. Amorphous aromas that seem overly simple. Basic fruit, cherry pop, not distinguishable as Chambolle. Though I acknowledge the prettiness, I can’t help but notice a sameness that feels like a winemaking trick of Marcel Lapierre (the uncle) rather than Burgundian soil. Pretty, but lacking structure. Do I sound like a ponce yet?

My point is that I want more, more sense of place, more complexity, more basis for analysis. I struggle with the wine’s contradictory simplicity and ease that is both the same as and slightly different from a certain approach to Gamay. I feel unsure. This is not Burgundy as I know it.

The Believer

Just f’ing delicious. Why think. If you must, I can easily assert this as vessel for pure, unfettered expression of a vision. But not as we might know it. This sort of wine is deceptive. It seems at first to fall in a certain camp, a certain range of expression. But that changes over time, over company, over air, over deep nuanced thinking.

And that’s the key, this is about nuance. It’s not obviously distinct, it’s not clearly profound. It just is. And undoubtedly there are no flaws, no masks. Just …


Chambolle. Delicate, Pure, Emotional. Chambolle is to Burgundy as breath is to us. Humble necessity.

The Analyst: Very Good+, not worth the price

The Believer: Excellent

$135 at Kits Wine


  1. matt
    April 10, 2014

    Every time I leave Pacalet’s cellar or drink a bottle at home I have the exact same reaction. So well put. I find myself shaking my head in confusion and then laughing in disbelieve and eventually joy. I learn something about myself with every one of his wines. Great post.

  2. Peter Van
    April 10, 2014

    Though you say it wasn’t necessarily worth the ticket price, this is making me want to pick up a bottle. Going to settle for some JP Brun Moulin-a-Vent, as it’s open and beside me right now. Love the blog Shea.

  3. Shea
    April 10, 2014

    Matt and Peter, thanks for the comments. This wine makes me think it is crucial to reevaluate why we care about wine, and (for me) why it is worth writing about. There is so much that goes unthought and unsaid.

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