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May 20, 2015

Pavie 2014

pavie

Chateau Pavie has released this morning at an 8% euro increase on 2013, but a reduction of 5.6% ex-London on last year. In fact this morning’s release price is the same ex-negociant as 2012, yet with the favourable euro/pound exchange rate it represents a 15% reduction.

In 2014 Pavie made a wine that has impressed critics, scoring 94-96 from Neal Martin of the Wine Advocate, on par with Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild and Lafleur. It received an even more favourable score from the Wine Spectator with 94-97 points.  With the backing of the two most important wine publications in the world and besting its closest rival Angelus (91-93), today’s release price of £1,700 per case of 12 bottles is thought provoking.

There is an interesting vintage dynamic developing with Pavie and Angelus. These two great St.Emilion estates were promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classe A in September 2012. Therefore, since 2012, Pavie and Angelus can now, along with Ausone and Cheval Blanc, put St.Emilion Grand Cru Classe A on their labels. As such today’s release is very favourable compared to the 2012 vintage onwards, £400 cheaper than the 2012 today. From 2011 back and excluding the 2010 and 2009 vintages, which trade today at £2,670 and £2,375, the older Pavie vintages can be found for less, but then these don’t say Premier Cru Classe A on the label! Pavie is a darling of Robert Parker and is sure to hit the 96 point mark or greater from him from in bottle in two years.

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Like other vineyards in Saint-Emilion such as Château Ausone, the Pavie vineyard dates back to Roman times. It takes its name from the orchards of peaches (“pavies”) that used to stand there. The modern estate was assembled by Ferdinand Bouffard in the late 19th century by buying plots from several families. The plots were still managed separately, and the 9 hectares bought from the Pigasse family retained a separate identity as Château Pavie-Decesse. However Bouffard struggled in the vineyard with phylloxera, and at the end of World War I he sold it to Albert Porte, who sold it to Alexandre Valette in 1943. His grandson Jean-Paul Valette sold it to Gérard Perse in 1998 for $31 million.

Perse is a Parisian millionaire and former cyclist who sold two supermarket chains to fund his entry into the wine business. He bought Château Monbousquet in 1993, Château Pavie-Decesse in 1997, and Pavie in 1998. He ripped out most of the old equipment, building new temperature-controlled wooden fermentation vats, a new cellar, and a new irrigation system in the vineyard. He brought in the renowned wine consultant Michel Rolland, who has seen yields cut from 55 hl/ha to 30 hl/ha with severe pruning and green-harvesting and encouraged malolactic fermentation in the wine. The result has seen the wine become much more concentrated and intense.

Pavie 2014, 12×75 – £1,700 or 6×75 – £850 EP
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate, 94-96
The Château Pavie 2014 is a blend of 60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon picked between 3 and 10 October, a lower percentage of Merlot as the vineyard moves towards more Cabernet in the blend. Matured in 80% new oak and 20% one-year old, it has an opulent and delineated bouquet that is heads above the Bellevue-Mondotte. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, the Cabernet in sync with the Merlot, silky smooth in the mouth with a plush but not cloying finish. The mineralité shows through nicely, partly because of that higher percentage of Cabernet. This is a different style of Pavie compared to previous vintages and the team were clear in their emphasis on more Cabernet and less oak. The result is a Pavie that really exploits its propitious terroir and a wine that even compared to Gérard Perse’s other 2014s, demonstrates more complex, more class and classicism. This is one of the standout wines in Saint Emilion.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, 93–96
Well-packed, with ample boysenberry, blackberry and raspberry flavors that course along, carried by anise and singed apple wood notes that stay reserved through the finish. Squarely fruit-driven, but exhibits great purity and energy.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 93-96+
The 2014 Pavie is magnificent. Silky and finessed to the core, the 2014 Pavie captures the essence of this site, but with more restraint and silkiness than is often the case and less overt oak influence. Raspberry jam, wild flowers, mint and new leather are all finely-knit, but it is the wine’s perfume, aromatic nuance and overall balance that elevate it in 2014. The blend is 60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2014 spent 36 days on the skins, followed by malolactic fermentation in barrel. New oak is 80%. 

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