Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 28/08/2015
96-100/100 pts. (Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - April 2004)
About this WINE
Château Pavie is the largest St.Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé, with over 35 hectares of vineyards located exclusively on the St-Emilion Côtes. Pavie is situated south-east of the village of St-Emilion and its vineyards lie on a south-facing slope of the famous limestone plateau.
Pavie's vineyards are bordered by those of Château La Gaffelière and Château Pavie-Decesse. For many years the property was owned and run by Jean-Paul Valette. In 1998 Gérard Perse, who also owns Pavie-Decesse and Monbousquet, purchased it.
Pavie's wine is typically a blend of 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Since 1998, the grapes have been fermented in spanking new wooden vats with the wine then being aged in 100% new oak bariques for 18 months. It is bottled unfiltered.
Pavie produces elegant, harmonious and stylish St-Emilions that typically display a fine bouquet with good depth of fruit on the palate. Under the Perse regime Pavie has become richer, more intense and more concentrated.
St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank.
St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel.
Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol. Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.
In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices. The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.
St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.