Premier Grand Cru Classé "A"
Producer: Château Pavie
Pavie is widely acclaimed as one of Bordeaux’s greatest terroirs, of largely limestone and clay soils. Brilliantly situated with a sunny, southern exposure and exceptional drainage, Pavie potentially rivals nearby Ausone, the oldest and possibly the most famous estate in Bordeaux. Pavie’s other nearby neighbors include, Pavie-Macquin and Troplong-Mondot to the north, Larcis-Ducasse to the southeast and La Gaffelière and Saint-Georges Côte Pavie to the west.
Until 1978, previous owners rarely produced great wine, but of course that all changed with the acquisition of the 92-acre, single vineyard by Chantal and Gérard Perse. In short, they dramatically raised the quality. Currently, the vineyard is planted with 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, but the actual blend for each vintage tends to possess slightly higher amounts of Merlot. A perfectionist, owner Gérard Perse is flexible with the percentage of new oak, as well as how long the wine is aged in cask. Great vintages can get 100% new oak and spend up to 32 months in barrel. Lesser years are bottled after 18 months and see at least 30% less new oak.
There is no fining or filtration. The resulting wine has been considered one of the superstars of Bordeaux since 1978.
While the Perses may think the 2005 is the summit of winemaking at Pavie, this vintage certainly gives serious competition to both the 2005 and 2000. It is certainly the most opulent and luxuriously rich wine Pavie has ever made (and that is saying something). Pavie’s style of low yields, ripe fruit and serious extraction does produce, even in lighter vintages, a very concentrated and dense wine, but in the great years, the results are legendary.
This wine has an inky purple color and a stunningly sweet, ripe nose of mulberries, blackberries, blackcurrants, licorice and incense. The oak still has some presence in the aromatics, as well as in the full-bodied, very concentrated, skyscraper-like mouthfeel and texture. This wine feels almost as if you could lose your palate in it, it is so dense and deep, yet at the same time it possesses silky tannins and rather remarkable purity, balance, and a good 60-second-plus finish. This is an amazing wine and probably will be drinkable in 5-10 years (although actually it could be drunk now because of the vintage’s voluptuous texture), and again, seems to have 50 or more years of longevity. It is clearly a modern Bordeaux legend.
Robert Parker Rating: 100
Grape Variety: 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol percentage: 14.5%