Château Pavie

The slopes of Château Pavie were planted as far back as the fourth century by the Ancient Romans and it has been a well-known producer in Saint-Émilion since the middle of the 19th century.

Château Pavie

About Château Pavie

One of the most well-established Châteaux in the Bordeaux appellation of Saint-Émilion, Château Pavie went through a huge period of change, when the new owner Gérard Perse purchased the estate in 1998. Perse, who also owns Château Monbousquet, Château Pavie-Decesse and  Château Bellevue Mondotte, brought with him a huge amount of expertise, and big plans to revolutionise the estate and the wine-making at Pavie.

The vineyards of Château Pavie comprise 37 hectares and are made up of three completely different terroirs each with their own microclimates, which give the wine huge depth and complexity.

The three different terroirs benefit from poor soils, good drainage - as all are located on slopes - and southern exposure. The three different terroirs consist of the Pavie limestone plateau, situated around 85 meters above the Dordogne with white lithic limestone (white limestone soil on "starfish limestone”).

The hillside, situated around 55 meters above the Dordogne with finely-textured brown limestone on Fronsadais molasse (heavy clay-limestone soil) and the foothills, situated around 35 meters above the Dordogne. with colluvial brown limestone on non-limestone fluvial sands (clay-limestone soil at the bottom of the slope) and brown, large-grained soils (sandy clay).

All the vineyards face due south benefiting from full sunshine throughout the growing season. The vineyards are planted with 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and this is reflected to varying degrees in the final blend of the wine. A lot of effort is expended in order to achieve low yields, thus encouraging the grapes harvested to be of the best quality and intensity, and the sorting process of the grapes is meticulous to ensure that only the best grapes contribute to the final wine.

When Gérard Perse bought the estate the vineyards were in extremely poor condition and required extensive replanting. Along with this, Perse also extended the vineyards at Pavie by 2.5 hectares when he purchased the vines of Château La Clusière, an integration which was allowed as the terroirs were judged to be similar enough, and a small part of the vineyards at Pavie-Decesse were also incorporated into the vineyards at Pavie.

Perse renovated the entire estate, with work finishing in 2000, and in 2011 he began a complete renovation of the winemaking facilities to an extremely modern state of the art facility which was completed in 2013. 

The characteristics of the wine produced at Château Pavie changed dramatically when Perse took over control of the estate. Previously, the wine had been a much lighter style than what is being produced now, and arguably more subtle and elegant, with some saying that the pre-1998 wines had been a truer expression of Saint-Émilion.

The style produced now is deeply coloured and flamboyant, with notes of dense dark fruits, chocolate, truffle and spice. Because of the intensity of this wine, it often needs around 15 years to mature. A comparison of pre and post-1998 vintages would show just how drastically different these two styles truly are. Pavie is a clear favourite of Neal Martin and Robert Parker, with a big shift in their scores being seen from the year that Perse took over.

Since then, no vintage has received fewer than 90 points, with the 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010 vintages all receiving a perfect 100 points. As Parker writes: “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.”

The estate also produces a second wine called Les Arômes de Pavie. Originally called Château Tour Simard, the first vintage of Les Arômes was produced in 2005. Mostly made with the juice from young vines, Les Arômes is made with more Merlot than the Grand Vin and has some of the elements found in the top wine, although it is much softer, making it an excellent starting point from which to explore the wines of Château Pavie.

Gérard Perse also creates another wine, called Esprit de Pavie. The wine is aged in barrels previously used in making his other wines, including Château Pavie, and is made up of grapes originating from a variety of Perse-owned sources in Saint-Émilion, bringing together the various estates and styles into one wine.


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