Dating back to Roman times, and being one of only four Saint-Émilion producers elevated to the status of Premier Grand Cru Classé, it would seem Chateau Pavie has rather a lot to live up to - and by all accounts, they are holding up their end of the bargain with this year’s vintage.
Since coming under the consultation of renowned Bordeaux-based oenologist Michel Rolland, the Chateau has gained a reputation for vintages of higher concentration and intensity than were yielded in the past - but this year’s release seems to indicate this historic Chateau still has the power to surprise.
Retaining the glamour and panache of recent years, the 2016 has been thrilling and charming critics thus far, with many praising its superior balance and restraint. It is expected to cellar spectacularly, suggesting further delights yet to be discovered.
Deep colour. Intense yet lively and complex wine with fresh blackberry, liquorice, aniseed mocha aromas. Beautifully balanced palate with plush, dense dark plum, black currant fruit, chocolaty yet ultra-fine supple textures, fine long acidity and superbly integrated savoury oak. Finishes with an inky minerally plume. This is the most exciting Pavie in at least 15 years. What a statement!
The 2016 Pavie is simply magnificent. Gracious, perfumed and exquisitely beautiful, the 2016 has it all. I can't remember seeing a Pavie with this much translucent energy and nuance. Black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and menthol all infuse this explosive, young wine with tremendous character. In the glass, the 2016 is vivid, aromatically deep and full of saline-infused energy. It is without question one of the wines of the vintage. As it turns out Gerard Perse also opened the 2008. Although the two vintages (2016 and 2008) in question are quite different in style and quality, the trajectory Pavie has taken in recent years is evident. The 2016 is a thrilling wine. That's all there is to it. The blend is 60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. Tasted two times. 2026-2056
Merlot has been reduced from 80% to 60% (will be 50% soon) and there's some Cabernet Sauvignon. Extracted 10 days less than in 2015, and in 2015 seven days less than the average before. No longer using 100% new oak - just 70%. Same philosophy in 2016 for both Bellevue Mondotte and Pavie Decesse. Dark crimson. Rich, sweet nose. In the vineyard there's just 50% Merlot! Very sweet start and really hard work. But much less exaggerated than it used to be. Sinewy. Some appetising quality. Very juicy start but then it dries on the finish. These wines are very different from the others in the appellation and I have to conclude that the owner and team taste differently from me and don't mind the drying finishes. For drama this deserves my score and it may well settle down to something lovely eventually.
17/20 Jancis Robinson
The 2016 Pavie is a blend of 60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped at 38 hectoliters per hectare between 10 and 20 October. The alcohol this year is 14.55%, and it is matured in 80% new oak and 20% one-year-old wood. As Gérard Perse explained, this is a Pavie that has taken stock and shifted in direction in recent years, reflecting more of its exceptional terroir instead of winemaking. It has a very intense bouquet that is extremely well-defined and shrugs off that higher alcohol level. You can find the graphite vein courtesy of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the underlying tension, while a second bottle had a soupçon more florality. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, ripe, supple tannins that gently caress the mouth. It feels beguiling and charming, totally different in style compared to say Cheval Blanc, offering a more sensual take on the 2016 growing season. It is a very impressive follow-up to the 2015 Pavie and may surpass it once in bottle.
This is more compressed and tighter than the 2015. It’s full-bodied, but very tight and focused. So linear and long. Love the gorgeous finesse. Goes on for minutes. All about finesse...new profile.
"The 2016 Pavie, matured in 80% new oak, has a thrilling bouquet of layers of small black cherries, boysenberry, fig and a hint of licorice, all very well defined; the oak is nicely integrated. The medium-bodied palate offers ripe, sappy black fruit, grippy tannin, a smooth texture and crisp acidity toward the finish. This is a seamless Pavie, but backward compared to its peers, and it needs several years in bottle before it even entertains the prospect of drinking pleasure. 2026-2070"
98 Points, Vinous
"Spectacular aromas of crushed berries, such as blueberries and raspberries. Fresh flowers with hints of sandalwood. Exotic. Saturated palate of so much fruit, yet remains agile and energetic. Great length and texture. Fills your mouth. This needs time, but a classic. Twin brother of the perfect 2015."
100 Points, JamesSuckling.com
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.