The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Château Pavie and…Château Pavie!

Posted on | June 16, 2015 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

Crystal 2014Bordeaux is where I began my love affair with wine. While in culinary school, I won an award and a trip with the Commanderie de Bordeaux to spend a season traveling and tasting through the different areas of Bordeaux. I found it thrilling to make my way through each appellation, meeting the winemakers, spending time in the cellars and tasting through the wines of the region. I was very much in awe of the Left Bank royalty, or Grand Cru Classé wines, of Pauillac, Margaux and Haut Brion, but I found my sweet spot on the Right Bank, the land of Merlot. If I had to narrow it down, my fondest memories from the trip were in Fronsac, Canon Fronsac, Pomerol and, lastly, St-Emilion. If I should be forced to choose only one of those areas to retire, it would have to be St Emilion.

The charming town of Saint-Emilion holds over 900 individual producers. Growing grapes since Roman times and the source of some of the world’s greatest Merlot and Cabernet Franc based wines, Saint-Emilion makes some of the most magnificent wines I’ve ever tasted—Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Troplong Mondot being a few examples of wines at the top. These are names that carry huge reputations and, as to be expected, large price tags. There are, however, delicious wines available from this region for a fraction of the price of the top names, Château Pavie being one of my top picks.

Château Pavie has become a fabulous first-growth quality estate, offering gorgeous complexity and richness. Located along the hillside cotes of St. Emilion, Château Pavie’s beautifully situated vineyard lies just southeast of the town. It is the largest vineyard among the St. Emilion Premiers Grands Crus Classé properties and also one of the best-known St. Emilions, made in a slightly lighter, more elegant style that some of its neighbors. Today I chose to highlight two fantastic vintages, 2010 and 2011.

Château Pavie 2010 $409

A blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, this powerhouse Pavie is bold and super concentrated and shows incredible structure and character. Certain critics and writers rated this vintage just behind the incredible 2000 vintage. A tremendous wine for the cellar, the key is patience here. With time to soften, this wine will be an absolute knockout!

Château Pavie 2011 $199

The 2011 Pavie is also composed of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it possesses surprising approachability in its infancy, which is somewhat disarming because it goes against the big, broad-shouldered style of wine that Pavie is known for. Complexity is the name of the game here, and one of the standouts from the region in my opinion. This awesome vintage shows off gorgeous texture and brilliance while maintaining great balance and harmony.


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