The 2012 Pavie Decesse, a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, is a beauty. Crushed chalk, spring flower, blackberry and smoky cassis notes are all present in this deep, full-bodied, authoritative, rich, concentrated, soft wine. It is far more accessible than most past vintages have been. I suspect this 2012 should drink well upon release and last 15-20 years. It reminds me somewhat of their 2001. Much of Pavie Decesse’s vineyard was absorbed into its neighbor, Chateau Pavie, so this estate now consists of only 8.5 acres situated on the high limestone hillside above Pavie. Robert Parker, 92-94 points.
This really floral with blueberry and raspberry undertones. Very perfumed. Full body, with a medium center palate and a juicy fruit finish. Lovely aromatics to this wine. At this point, I have a slight preference for 2011. 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. James Suckling, 91-92 points.
Drink 2020-2030 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc. Black core and deep purple rim. Very ripe damson fruit and very powerful oak influence at the moment (80% new). Firm grip but not hard, just very powerful and concentrated, almost tarry. Impressive rather than refined, though perhaps that will come. Pretty impenetrable now. Jancis Robinson, 16.5+ points.
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 flavor 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 savory 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.