A few words from Gerard Perse, owner of Château Pavie, on the 2019 vintage.
The 2019 growing season was incredibly dry and hot. How did you cope with the drought and heat spikes and other climatic pressures during the growing season?
The excellent cool soils of the Saint-Émilion limestone plateau, as well as its deep clay soils offer ideal conditions. Like a sponge, the limestone absorbs rain during the winter and spring and while the season was hot, the vines were able to self-regulate, going deep to find the necessary mineral and water reserves and protect themselves from any hydric stress due to the heat. On the clay soils, the vineyards were worked differently than usual in order to preserve all their coolness. The welcome September rains brought the grapes to full maturity.
What do you feel had the biggest effect on the final taste profile of the 2019 vintage?
The periods of light rainfall in September greatly contributed to achieving a perfect balance between alcohol and acidity for this vintage.
Tannins play such a vital and defining role in the quality of Bordeaux red wines. How did you manage extraction in 2019?
The softer the extraction, the more delicate the tannins. Contrary to 2018, the extractions in 2019 were more easily achieved, over a shorter period.
What do the wines look like at this early stage?
The samples give promise of a great vintage with great fruit. The wines are particularly balanced, showing richness without being heavy. The black fruit aromas have a rare intensity. The tannins are elegant and supple. There is a very attractive length with a lot of freshness.
Tell us a little about the characteristics of each of the varieties in 2019.
The Merlot is less exuberant than in 2018, and has produced an unexpected freshness. The Cabernet has contributed very balanced wines by imparting a good, tight crispness.
How do you think 2019 compares to other vintages?
This vintage is reminiscent of other exceptional years. It is clearly less austere than 2009 or 2015 with tannins that are fresher, more elegant and less massive than 2010 or 2016.
For you, what continues to make top Bordeaux wine so unique, so age-worthy and so relevant in today's fine wine market?
The regulations are constraining (no irrigation, etc.), but each vintage is unique since it is the true reflection of the weather conditions of a given year. Contrary to other wines and other appellations, Bordeaux is not a single-varietal wine, but rather the result of an assemblage of three or four main varieties. All of this contributes to making wines with a greater capacity for long aging and a more complex aromatic profile.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview