This tasting is not a selection. It is an illustration of the styles that Saint-Émilion is capable of producing.
More than any other appellation in Bordeaux – and perhaps in France – Saint-Emilion has transformed the style of its wines without ever denying itself. In the 1980s, the stone fruit and undergrowth notes heralded wines so delicate that they often appeared thin. Then came the ripe fruit and tannins well embedded in a new and demonstrative woodiness in the following decade, before the garage wines and “parkerisation” imposed a massive profile coated with generously jammy and woody black fruits at the turn of the century. Ten years later, the wines have gradually regained a more balanced naturalness of expression, while purity, freshness and Cabernet Franc have now become the alpha and omega of the Right Bank’s major cru.
Vintage tasted: 2009. 100/100
Pavie is a major estate in terms of its geography – the first on the east coast of Saint-Emilion, with an unrivalled southern exposure – and also because of the arrival in 1998 of Gérard Perse. With an incredible will and an impressive sense of wine, the man revolutionised the vineyard and immediately appeared as a stylistic leader of the appellation and of Bordeaux wines as a whole. Often caricatured by inattentive or simply ill-intentioned observers, the personality of Pavie de Perse is both faithful to this sunny terroir and very modern, respectful of its immense potential. If, for almost a quarter of a century, weak vintages have not existed here, 2009 nevertheless appears to be an absolute summit. An athlete with a sculptural frame that shines through its balance, freshness and finesse. Great art.