Château-Pavie Saint-Émilion 2003
|France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion
This is a stunner, with the warmth of the vintage marrying ideally with the relative coolness of the terroir to deliver a wide range of vivid plum, boysenberry, raspberry and cherry paste flavors that have energy and drive, carried by a long graphite note and backed by a roasted apple wood accent that has been fully absorbed. Powerfully ripe, but not heady, with a sense of poise through the finish. A jaw-dropper.--Non-blind Pavie vertical (March 2017). Best from 2020 through 2040. 7,500 cases made.
Certainly this was a wine born under considerable controversy, receiving accolades and kudos from me and several of my American colleagues, but generally excoriated by the British press. The French wine critics were very positive. This wine has calmed down considerably as it was a blockbuster, somewhat of a Bordeaux fruit bomb in its youth, and now has toned itself down to a serious candidate for one of the wines of this rather bizarre, but interesting, vintage. 2003 offered everything, from pathetically dilute and thin wines to some massive blockbusters. That was true especially in the Northern Médoc and from the limestone hillsides of St.-Emilion (where Pavie is situated). The color is a dark garnet, with a touch of amber beginning to appear on the edge. The wine has a stunning nose of roasted herbs, grilled meats, charcoal, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit, with some oak still present. Dense, full-bodied and very succulent and lush, this wine seems to be in late adolescence, ready to enter a relatively mature stage. There is always a suspicion because of the extreme heat in July and August that these wines will crack up very quickly, and certainly that will always be a worry, but this one looks set for at least another 10-15 years of drinkability.