Aromes de Pavie 2020
• Domaine: Château Pavie
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé A
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
The story of Château Pavie is in many aspects an underdog story. It’s a story of persevering in spite of setbacks. Yet despite all of this, the wine this St-Émilion powerhouse produces is simply a phenomenal expression of Right Bank Bordeaux, and proof that this Château more than deserves its classification of Premiere Grand Cru Classé A status. Les Arômes de Pavie is the second wine of this top tier Saint-Émilion estate. This wine provides oenophiles and lovers of Right Bank terroir the opportunity to experience the wonders of Château Pavie at a more affordable cost.
The vineyards of Château Pavie share a similar history with Château Ausone – they were both planted in the Roman Era, during the 4th Century. The limestone terroir with heavy sun exposure proved perfect for Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Château Pavie was a respectable producer during the 19th Century, and it was one of the largest estates in the Right Bank. It changed hands many times throughout the centuries: weathering wars, phylloxera, and economic setbacks. But it wasn’t until 1998 when Gerard Perse – a millionaire and former cyclist – purchased the property that the wines of Château Pavie began their meteoric rise in terms of quality.
Though Gerard Perse was new to the wine world, he was very committed to the property. He purchased Château Pavie for 31 million in 1998 and invested significant sums of money in a renovation of the tasting rooms and Vat Rooms. The latest renovation caused a bit of controversy – as some critics did not appreciate the lavish marble entryway of the new tasting room. This did not discourage Perse, and he continued to do whatever he could to make Château Pavie a top tier St-Émilion producer. He hired Michel Rolland as a consultant. Stylistically, the wines shifted from the more delicate versions of the past to more powerful, richly hued wines with heavier tannins.
The vines at Château Pavie all grow in one block – something that is highly unusual for St-Émilion producers. Les Arômes de Pavie is made from the younger vines at this estate, and they grow in some of the highest portions in the vineyard in terms of elevation. Château Pavie practices sustainable viticulture and is hoping to convert to organic farming in the future. Under the reign of Gerard Persé, the team is not afraid to break the mold and make radical changes to ensure top quality wine . His efforts paid off in 2012 when Château Pavie received its St-Émilion Premiere Grand Crus Classé A ranking. The estate had finally achieved the recognition it deserved.
Though Les Arômes de Pavie is a Second Wine, that does not mean meticulous care and attention hasn’t been implemented in crafting this Saint-Émilion stunner. Les Arômes de Pavie is a layered, complex and powerful wine that has arguably as much aging potential as some grand vins tend to have. The wine is often packed with energy, vitality, power and hosts a long, lingering finish.
"Composed of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Franc, the 2020 Arômes de Pavie has an alcohol of 14.78% and a pH of 3.57. It is aging in French oak barriques, 70% new. Deep purple-black in color, it needs a little swirling to unleash its exuberant scents of stewed black plums, black cherry compote and boysenberries, plus hints of tar, sautéed herbs and chargrill. The full-bodied palate packs in the black fruit layers, framed by soft tannins and tons of freshness, finishing long and earthy." - Lis Perrotti-Brown, Ratings: 91-93, Drink: 2024-2041
"Powerful and upfront, with a thick layer of liquorice and clove, blueberry and blackberry fruit. A little more of a monolith than the main estate wine of Pavie - something that you find often this year, where the tannins seem to go to the second wines. 70% new oak, 3.57pH. A yield of 35hl/ha." - Jane Anson, Decanter, Ratings: 90, Drink: 2024-2036
"Always in the running for the best second wine in Bordeaux, the 2020 Aromes De Pavie is brilliant and surpasses any number of estates’ Grand Vins. The blend of the 2020 is equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and it has solid tech numbers, with an alcohol of 14.7% and a pH of 3.57. Dense purple-hued with a great nose of jammy black cherries, cassis, flowers, and chalky minerality, it’s medium to full-bodied and has a supple, up-front texture, ripe tannins, and brilliant balance. It tastes just like a second wine should, like a mini-Grand Vin that will drink beautifully while you give the top wine bottle age." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020 En Primeur: Part 1 (05/23/2021) Rating: 92-94
"The 2020 Arômes de Pavie represents a major step up in quality vis-à-vis previous vintages. It is a deep, statuesque wine endowed with tremendous power, richness and resonance. Plum, mocha, licorice, espresso and spice all flesh out in the glass. I can't wait to taste this in bottle. This is the first year in which the blend is equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc, both increasingly from plots dedicated to the Arômes, a departure from the past, when this wine was a selection of younger-vine fruit and lots that did not make it into the Grand Vin." Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Rating: 91-93