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.