The 2020 vintage of Château Pavie marks a turning point for one of the benchmark estates of St. Emilion. Scored 99-100 points by James Suckling and released at slightly below the price of the 2019, the style is moving in a new direction, emphasising terroir and elegance over concentration.
To us, this is a very welcome move and James Lawther MW and Jane Anson both celebrate it too, the latter commenting that the 2020 "shows the limestone terroir in a way that, with the best will in the world, the more concentrated style of Pavie just didn't do."
This is, without doubt, a vintage in which Merlot has shone and a year in which right bank wines will excel.
Château Pavie is a PremierGrand Cru Classé (A) estate in the commune of St. Emilion. The land here has been farmed since Roman times and the estate takes its name from the peach orchards which once stood here ('pavie' is still used as the name for a type of peach; also Latin 'Pavia' from peach). It is one of three estates that share the Pavie name (the others being Pavie Macquin and Pavie-Decesse). The modern estate began in the nineteenth century with various parcels of land later sold and incorporated into Macquin and Decesse.
Pavie has been owned since 1998 by former supermarket chain owner Gerard Perse, who also owns Pavie-Decesse, Bellevue-Mondotte and other estates on the right bank. Extensive replanting and investment have put Pavie back at the top of the estates in the commune. An impressive new chais was built in 2013. The vineyard extends to 37 hectares in unified plots. The heart of the estate is on the famous 'Pavie slope', a south-facing terroir of limestone soils. The grape varieties planted are Merlot (60%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%) and Cabernet Franc (25%).
Perse was for many years an exponent of a very concentrated, dense style of wine at Pavie, but very recent vintages have followed the broader trend in St-Emilion toward a fresher style which is more expressive of the limestone terroir...a move which we welcome.
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