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Chateau Pavie Decesse (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017

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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
There was no frost in this vineyard in 2017, due to its elevation. One-hundred percent of the fruit comes from the limestone plateau. Composed of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc and sporting a very deep purple-black color, the 2017 Pavie Decesse has a drop-dead gorgeous nose of crushed blackcurrants, red roses, black plums and blueberries with touches of tapenade, cigar box and wood smoke plus a hint of cast iron pan. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and incredibly structured with grainy tannins and a lively line supporting the tightly wound fruit, finishing on a lingering mineral note.
Barrel Sample: 95-97
JS 96
James Suckling
This is very compacted and tight with firm and silky tannins. A focused and intense center palate with excellent dark fruit and a long finish. Tightly wound.
Barrel Sample: 95-96
JD 96
Jeb Dunnuck
From a terroir located just above Pavie, the 2017 Château Pavie Decesse reveals a glass-staining purple color to go with full-bodied aromas and flavors of black raspberries, cassis, liquid violets, and hints of oak. Powerful yet elegant, with building minerality that develops with time in the glass, it stays tight and focused on the palate but has a blockbuster finish. It’s another wine from the Perse family that will check in near the top of the vintage.
Barrel Sample: 94-96
WE 95
Wine Enthusiast
This wine is structured and concentrated, with powerful dark fruits and a strong mineral texture. It is rich but firm, dominated by a dry core. The ripe fruit will come through later. Drink from 2025.
Barrel Sample: 93-95
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Solid, with boysenberry and raspberry puree notes at the core backed by licorice and fruitcake accents. Offers a fleshy feel, with slightly prominent toast on the finish but enough fruit to soak it up.
Barrel Sample: 90-93
D 93
Decanter
From 3ha located just below La Mondotte on the higher part of the plateau, there was no frost at this estate (although they managed to select it down to 14hl/ha), and it's showing extremely well. This is a big wine, and there's no question that those shoulders are ripe for carrying - a linear conductor of minerality. It's silky and persistent, with plenty of punch to the liquorice and dark chocolate. Those low yields come from careful selection, and I would have loved to taste this with just slightly higher yields and a touch more juice, but that's quibbling. No second wine here.
Barrel Sample
TA 91
Tim Atkin
Incredibly deep inky purple-black colour. Massive extract of juicy black fruit with some kirsch and cassis liqueur scents. Super-rich and concentrated extract with sweet juicy fruit, some bramble jelly and sweet peppermint-crème. Very concentrated with rich tannins, just enough acidity and a liqueur like finish.
Barrel Sample: 89-91
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Chateau Pavie Decesse

Chateau Pavie Decesse

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Chateau Pavie Decesse, France
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Chateau Pavie Decesse belongs to Gerard Perse, a man whose dogmatic pursuit of "modern style" Bordeaux wine, borrowing techniques advocated by the garagiste estates but on a larger scale, having entered the region in 1993 when he acquired Chateau Monbousquet. Although Chateau Pavie remains his flagship estate, Chateau Pavie Decesse was actually purchased one year earlier in 1997, in some ways a stepping-stone towards his consequent acquisition. Although in some ways Pavie Decesse is overshadowed by the more illustrious Chateau Pavie, this is a wonderful estate and many prefer it to Perse's jewel in the crown.

Pavie Decesse is a much smaller vineyard than its grander sibling Chateau Pavie with just 9.1 hectares of vines perched further up on the crest of the slope on a chalky/limestone soil. Unlike Pavie, the wine is more of a Monocepage with 90% of the vines being Merlot, the remaining 10% Cabernet Franc. The vines are a respectable 43 years old on average. A similar draconian level of green harvesting is practice at Pavie Decesse as at Pavie, with vines pruned down to six buds. The grapes are picked by hand, sorted and then fermented in nine temperature-controlled wooden vats for three weeks. Approximately 2,000 cases are produced per annum with no second label.

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St-Émilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

JOAF422851_2017 Item# 422851