Peter Maude Fine Wines
2020, Château Pavie, SAINT-ÉMILION, 1er Grand Cru Classé
Bordeaux Blend: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2020 Pavie is very clearly one of the wines of the year. Rich, inky and wonderfully vibrant, it pulses with energy from start to finish. All the elements are well balanced. Soaring Cabernet Franc aromatics lead into a core of finely knit yet deep fruit in a wine that feels endless. Harvest for the reds started on September 17, paused briefly during some rain on the 25th and 26th, and then wrapped up by the end of the month. The blend is 50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, so more Cabernets than in the past, the result of a large replanting program that began in the early 2000s. A real head-turner. Magnificent! 97-99 Antonio Galloni, Vinous (2021).
The 2020 Pavie was picked September 21-30 at 31hl/ha and matured in 75% new oak, the rest one year old. It continues to see greater emphasis on Cabernets. This gradual rejigging of the blend is borne out on the nose, which features hints of damp loamy soil and bell pepper infusing vivid blackberry and wild strawberry fruit, becoming more and more citrusy with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with sautéed tannins that gently grip. Powerful, but the 14.82 alcohol is neatly disguised on the finish (at least in tasting measure) with fine delineation. Cohesive and focused. I would like to see a little more personality develop during élevage, but this remains an impressive Saint-Émilion and a Pavie with a long future ahead. 95-97 Neal Martin, Vinous (2021).
The Cabernets dominate the blend on the aromatics, and you can really see they are moving the needle on the architecture and sculpting of this wine. A ton of concentration on the nose and upfront, but it is well balanced by damson and blackberry, and has a sense of energy, uplift and clear minerality. The 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. There is density and glamour, with layers of black chocolate, graphite and liquorice. It is pretty disarming overall, and will age extremely well. 3.61pH. A yield of 31hl/ha, average age of vine 49 years. 75% new oak. 97 Jane Anson, Decanter (2021).
Smooth from the get go, still tense as you'd expect with a straight backbone, but the creamy texture is lovely with a beautiful balancing acidity and suaveness overall. More calm and quiet than I was expecting, certainly not shouting but with clear depth and length to the chocolate, blackcurrant, liquorice and graphite. Detailed and nuanced, not trying too hard with energy and plumpness yet retaining a serious, savouriness that brings you back to Pavie and to the terroir with clear minerality in the lick of wet stone on the finish. Well constructed with care. 97 Georgina Hindle, Decanter (2023).
Composed of 50% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Franc and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2020 Pavie weighs in with an alcohol of 14.82% and a pH of 3.61. It is aging in French oak barriques, 75% new. Opaque purple-black coloured, notes of plum pudding, blueberry pie and dark chocolate-covered cherries charge out of the gate, followed closely by hints of eucalyptus, star anise, unsmoked cigars and fertile loam with a hint of cedar chest. The full-bodied palate is built like a brick house, offering very firm yet wonderfully ripe, velvety tannins and seamless freshness to support the densely laden, muscular black and blue fruits, finishing very long and with loads of mineral-laced layers. As hedonic as it is cerebral this year, it is a beautiful paradox. 97-99 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (2021).
Drinking Window: 2035 - 2060