Chateau Pavie Saint Emilion Grand Cru 2003
JS97: This controversial wine is fresh and bright still, unlike many of the overrated 2003s. Full-bodied, tight and polished with beautiful intensity and verve. Blackberry and sweet tobacco. Wet earth. Subtle and complex. Straight and direct.
WS97: 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.
This 92-acre vineyard, which enjoys an impeccable southern orientation, is composed of limestone on the upper slopes, clay and limestone in the middle, and sand and clay at the base. Proprietor Gerard Perse, who has done a brilliant job since acquiring the estate in 1998, continues to push the envelope of quality to higher and higher heights. Planted with 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, the grapes receive kid glove treatment with hand-harvesting into small plastic lugs, two triage tables, and aging for 28 months in 100% new oak that is purchased in advance, then air-dried and coopered according to Perse's specifications. In short, the man is a perfectionist, and the quality of all the estates he owns has soared dramatically. - Robert Parker