Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Pavie


Address: 33330 St Emilion

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 55 43 43



Sold by the Valette family to Chantal and Gerard Perse in 1998, Château Pavie is one of the best known properties of St Emilion and makes big bold extracted wine that has caused some disagreement amongst the critics. Famously writers Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker have been at odds over the quality of the wine in certain vintages [the 2003 especially]. In their youth the wines do have huge levels of extract and concentration and ferocious levels of tannin. I’ve not had the experience of mature vintages to see how they develop, or, as yet, a chance to visit the property. There is certainly the dedication and ambition here to make the best wines possible as well as the financial wherewithal, effort that paid off in late 2012, when Château Pavie, alongside Château Angélus, was admitted to the exulted ranks of the St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ category, joining Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone. The 2015 vintage here is extremely impressive.

Vineyard/Terroir: 37 hectares, one third on compact clay soil on lower slopes, one third clay gravel and one third limestone plateau. Planted with 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Classified St Emilion Premier Grand Cru.

Winemaking/Elévage: Aged in 70% new oak and 30% one year old oak barriques.

  • 2015 Deep and saturated colour; dark; tight to the rim; sweet ripe black fruits; intense but also has a beauty; layers; very plush; some mocha notes; very focused seam of fruit on the palate; concentrated but not in the least jammy; this is excellent. Lovely focus on the palate; real concentration but precise; structure and depth; lots of length on the palate; very long indeed. [60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alc, 36 hl/ha, TA 3.50 pH 3.72 80% new oak]. Drink 2025-2040. 96-100
  • 2014 Deep and saturated colour; black at centre; floral tones on the nose; very nice Cabernet elements; purity; layered and pretty dense; very good plummy fruit beneath; minerally and textured on the palate but has a roundness and sweetness too the fruit; glossy; excellent fruit quality; dense; extract; lots of matter; this feels impressive; mineral; lots of matter; density; plums and black cherry; strong tannins on the finish. This will work out very nicely. Masculine and bold. [60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.2% alc, 3.85TA, 3.59pH, 34hl/ha 80% new oak]. Tasted Pavie 3 April, 2015. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95+
  • 2011 Deep, saturated colour; ripe marzipan notes; thick and big Merlot; quite unctuous; lots of extract and tannin on the palate – wow! Lots of fruit admittedly but very chewy tannic finish. Must be Pavie? Amazing fruit but extreme tannin too. How will this settle? 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 70% new oak. Tasted blind at Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion at Chateau Canon 6/4/12. 89-91?
  • 2010 Deep and very saturated look; ripe and smoky, quite jammy and dense; lots of fruit and concentration; some pruney notes; feels very ripe, but lacks the complexity and freshness of the best; almost a rasiny note; clean palate entry; quite rasiny, primary fruits; dense and tannic; increasingly tannic; blimey too tannic and extracted surely? Overdone, extremely drying at the end. Maybe 90-92?/100 if it settles, but no idea how to rate this properly. Tasted April 6 Groupement de Premiers Grands Crus Classes de Saint-Emilion.
  • 2006 Similarly deep; intense, tarry notes with figs, coffee and extract; palate sweet and big initially and very big with density – then come the tannins like a runaway train. Very extractive and inky feel. Blimey these tannins are big and chewy. No idea how this will turn out so being generous. 90?/100 MW Institute Nov ’10.
Arômes de Pavie, St Emilion Grand Cru
  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; colour tight to the rim; quite seductive; violet lift; black fruits; nicely interwoven oak; provençale olives; spices; depth; lots of material; quite elegant mid palate; nice chew and sap on the finish. Olives and black fruits on the finish. Length. [66% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Franc, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.3% alc, 36hl/ha, pH3.73, TA 3.18 50% new oak]. Drink 2021-2030. 91-93+
  • 2014 Deep at centre; redder at edge [less purple]; black cherry; morello cherry; wet rocks and some minerality; attractive fruit beneath; purity; nice sweet texture; layered on the palate; some spice; balanced; nice freshness and tension; good length on the finish. Needs to fill out a little. Elegant. [70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.6% alc, 3.85pH, 3.25TA, yield 36hl/ha 80% new oak]. Tasted Ch Pavie 3 April 2015. Drink 2018-2025. 87-89

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