Philippe claims not to be a dogmatist (“Taliban”) but by farming biodynamically, insisting on 100% whole bunch fermentations, only natural yeasts, no additional sulphites and with a marked preference for old oak, his wines are unusually distinctive. His philosophy is all about preserving the integrity of the grapes and avoiding oxidation but as naturally as possible and he owns some great parcels of vines across the Cote d’Or (concentrating on Nuits reds). His flagship wines are Corton-Charlemagne, Charmes-Chambertin and Ruchottes-Chambertin, but the quality is equally spread across all appellations.
Philippe's career started in Prieuré-Roch before he established his own maison, pursuing a similar low-intervention biodynamic philosophy, though the resultant wines are uniquely his own. He has quickly reached cult status worldwide, producing viscerally exciting wines characterised by energy, intensity, authenticity, complex tannins and a “funky purity” that takes you to the very heart of each vineyard.
Putting senior Premier Crus and Grand Crus in decade old oak (constantly filled) is a classic example of how, like everything about his wines, Philippe marches to the beat of his own drum. He is one of Burgundy’s true mavericks. His Burgundies are distinguishing, with exciting aromatics, seductive freshness and elegance. He doesn’t worry about sorting the grapes as recent dry harvests ensure the grapes always arrive in perfect physiological health. He also appreciates the hot summers when out working the vines. “We used to have cold, wet summers like in England, being in the vineyards was shit, I prefer it now.” And should those summers ever return, we’re sure Pacalet would have the same amount of vigour – this is a man that flows against the ever-changing tide and does so with style.