Château Pavie-Decesse 2019 (Futures)
• Domaine: Château Pavie Decesse
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Many consider Château Pavie-Decesse to be in the shadow of its sister estate – the illustrious Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Crus Classé A property, Château Pavie. Though there is significantly more press about the latter, the former Grand Crus Classes vineyard is not to be disregarded. Château Pavie-Decesse hosts enviable limestone terroir that is considered to be the best in the entire Right Bank. Wines from Château Pavie-Decesse are opulent, sensual, and full of freshness with quality almost equal to Château Pavie – yet they are still being sold for a fraction of the cost.
The history of Château Pavie-Decesse is inextricably linked with Château Pavie because they were a part of the same vineyard. In the 4th Century, the Romans saw the potential of the limestone terroir and knew it would be the perfect spot for viticulture. Both estates received their names from the peach orchards that grew around the property as “pavie” translates to an older French word “peach.” The vineyards were separated during the same year as the 1855 Classification by Ferdinand Bouffard. And thus, Château Pavie-Decesse was born.
Fortunately enough, Château Pavie-Decesse only changed hands between a handful of families until it was purchased by Gérard and Chantal Perse in 1997. This power couple had begun to make a name for themselves in the exclusive and tightly knit circles of Saint-Émilion by overseeing Château Monbousquet in addition to Château Pavie-Decesse. They were new to the wine trade in Saint-Émilion and it was initially challenging for them to make their way as owners of Grand Crus estates. But after their successes with Château Pavie and Château Pavie-Decesse, they finally earned a seat at the table. The Perses ended up acquiring Château Pavie in 1998 and the two properties were under the same ownership once more – one big happy family of vines.
Gérard Perse invested a significant amount of money in renovating the cellar and restoring it to Ferdinand Bouffard’s original design. The wooden vinification vats used in the new facility are exactly the same as the ones at Château Pavie. In 2002, Château Pavie-Decesse ceded 6 hectares of vines to its sister property, Château Pavie at Gérard Perse’s behest. The 3.5-hectare vineyard is planted with 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. The vines are 40 years old on average – with some vines even older. At Château Pavie-Decesse, they prefer to keep yields low to increase concentration of the wine. Production here is significantly smaller than the sister property, and generally speaking 1,500 cases are made each year.
The wines at Château Pavie-Decesse have increased dramatically in quality since the 2000 vintage. Unlike their more concentrated counterparts at Château Pavie, the wines at Château Pavie-Decesse can be enjoyed a bit younger after two to three hours of decanting. They are softer and more approachable – largely due to the absence of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is prevalent in the wines of Château Pavie. With all that in mind, in very strong vintages it is recommended that the wines of Château Pavie-Decesse be aged for at least 10-12 years before it shows off its colors.
"The 2019 Pavie-Decesse is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, harvested on the 5th of October. The yields this year were 17 hectoliters per hectare, and the alcohol came in at 14.51%, while the pH was 3.51 (remarkably low!). Very deep purple-black in color, it has an intoxicating nose of plum preserves, blueberry tart, kirsch and molten chocolate with nuances of licorice, lilacs, clove oil and cedar chest. The full-bodied palate is built like a skyscraper, with a soaring structure of firm, finely grained tannins and brazen freshness supporting the decadent black fruit and spicy layers, finishing very long and fruity." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (6/10/2019, Bordeaux 2019 Issue) Ratings: 95-97
"From a site sitting just above Château Pavie, the 2019 Château Pavie Decesse is based on 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, from 50+-year-old vines, brought up mostly in new French oak. It's always an elegant wine and the 2019 is no exception, with an incredible minerality in its black raspberry, cassis, spring flowers, crushed rock, and graphite-driven aromas and flavors. Rich, full-bodied, and beautifully balanced, it's another brilliant wine from this team. While it shows the pretty, finesse-driven style of this vintage, it has enough structure to warrant 4-6 years of bottle age." Jeb Dunnuck, BORDEAUX 2019: A Modern-Day Version of 1982? (6/11/2020) Rating: 95-97+