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A great showing for this wine in the mini-vertical, the 2001 Pavie has a slight lightening at the edge of its dark garnet/plum/purple color and a big, sweet kiss of cedar wood, incense, licorice, blackberry and lead pencil shavings. The wine is dense, very rich, multilayered and finishes with at least a 40- to 45-second aftertaste. This wine seems to be close to full maturity, but should hold there for easily another 15-20 years. It’s a sleeper of the vintage.
Pavie is widely acclaimed as one of Bordeaux’s greatest terroirs, of largely limestone and clay soils. Brilliantly situated with a sunny, southern exposure and exceptional drainage, Pavie potentially rivals nearby Ausone, the oldest and possibly the most famous estate in Bordeaux. Pavie’s other nearby neighbors include, Pavie-Macquin and Troplong-Mondot to the north, Larcis-Ducasse to the southeast and La Gaffelière and Saint-Georges Côte Pavie to the west.
Until 1978, previous owners rarely produced great wine, but of course that all changed with the acquisition of the 92-acre, single vineyard by Chantal and Gérard Perse. In short, they dramatically raised the quality. Currently, the vineyard is planted with 60% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, but the actual blend for each vintage tends to possess slightly higher amounts of Merlot. A perfectionist, owner Gérard Perse is flexible with the percentage of new oak, as well as how long the wine is aged in cask. Great vintages can get 100% new oak and spend up to 32 months in barrel. Lesser years are bottled after 18 months and see at least 30% less new oak.
There is no fining or filtration. The resulting wine has been considered one of the superstars of Bordeaux since 1978.
One of the candidates for wine of the vintage ... again, the 2001 Pavie, from a magnificent south-facing vineyard planted primarily on limestone soil, is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. After a six week maceration, it spent nearly 24 months in new oak prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Some Bordeaux brokers think it might be even better than the 2000 Pavie, but I do not agree. The inky/ruby/purple-colored 2001 exhibits a tight but promising nose of crushed stones, a liqueur of blackberries, cherries, and black currants, and subtle smoke and licorice in the background. Powerful, with impressive elegance, fine harmony among its elements, a multi-layered texture, it has a finish that lasts for 50+ seconds. There is considerable tannin, but it is well-integrated. Give it 3-4 years, and drink it over the next two decades. A profound effort for the vintage, it is an example of a perfectionist proprietor pushing the envelope of quality.
Richly enveloping nose. Borderline overripeness. Hot chocolate! Thick and sweet and sort of carved out of stone. Quite porty but with some freshness of fruit. Exaggerated but pleasurable. Drying tannins on the finish. Pretty luscious.