Rivers-Marie Panek Vineyard 2016
Better informed farming continues to elevate not just the blocks in this bottling but also all the blocks we harvest at Panek. It makes our blending decisions more difficult each year but that extra work is certainly worth the extra quality in a wine like this 2016. The vineyard does best in muscular years so this version reminds me more of the 2013 as opposed to the 2014 or 2015. There’s more apparent fruit than in the 2013 to stand up to the structure of the vintage.
This wine has calmed considerably during its last 6 or so months in barrel. It was a bit brooding for the first year of its life (odd for Panek) but that character only hinted at the concentration contained within. Now that it has unwound a bit, the trademark brown sugar note has emerged but here joined by a blackberry/cassis note. Loamy black soil, dried herbs and sweet tobacco complete the experience by adding a strong sense of varietal character to the mix, another hallmark of the vintage. This is a structured Panek for sure but with all other great 2016s, there is a sense of balance across all components of the wine that provides good early drinkability.