La vie en rose or Pavie en rose….
As I intimated in my previous blog, Pavie
is probably the most controversial wine in the whole of Bordeaux right now. It’s the ‘marmite’ label, which people love or hate. As some of you will remember, back in 2003, Jancis Robinson loathed it and Parker loved it.
Why such a furore? Well, the simple answer is whether Pavie and the rest of Perse’s Right Bank wines accurately represent their terroir or are simply too ‘modern’ and extracted for their own good. So it was fascinating to see how winemaker Henrique da Costa
had coped with the vintage. Would the merlots be over-ripe and over-alcoholic with a wall of tannin?
Clos les Lunelles
had a lovely lifted aroma and bouquet with strawberries and raspberries. On the palate though, more black fruit emerged – as did a some hefty tannins. I gave it 15.
came equipped with good fruit and notes of coffee and liquorice. But what I didn’t like were the brutal tannins. To me, they were over-extracted, tough and austere – even a little vegetal. Again, another 15 points.
Much better was Pavie Decessse
. Perhaps it was the older vines and the fact that it is situated on the limestone plateau. Certainly, this was much more successful. The fruit was full, sweet and attractively forward – full of damsons and mulberries with a touch of mocha too. Moreover, it was fresher and softer – voluptuous rather than tough and tannic. The alcohol is big at 14.5% but it is not so noticeable and is hidden by the fruit and ripe tannins. I gave it 18. Only, 500 cases were made, I wonder if, after the huge crowd of tasters in Bordeaux this week, there will be any to sell? I think this will go like hot cakes this year.
And what about Pavie?
My feeling is that the 2009 will once again radically divide opinion. As for my own opinion, it is certainly impressive in its way. The colour is completely opaque and the nose is equally intense. There’s also no lack of black fruit and cigar box. But I’m afraid that when you put the wine in your mouth you meet a wall of tannins. In fact, make that a mountain of tannin. Will it come round? I am sure it will, but not for another 15 years at least.
For instance, winemaker Henrique da Costa told me that he is just broaching the 2000 now – but it needs decanting for a couple of hours at least.
Finally, we also tasted the Monbousquet Blanc 2009
which is a blend of two thirds sauvignon blanc and on third sauvignon gris – a variety which very few people are familiar with, even in Bordeaux Henrique told me.
Personally, I was very excited by this wine which really impressed me. On the nose, it was full of citrus and lemon notes. And on the palate, it was rich and fat, but with streak of clean refreshing acidity running through it. The fruit was melon, pineapple and some savoury oatmeal, which rounded it off nicely. Very long too. I gave it 17 points.
If you haven’t tried this wine, it’s certainly unusual and distinctive as well as rare. In St Emilion, the only other white wine producer of note is Bernard Magrez at Fombrauge
, where the wine also has to be labelled as Bordeaux Bordeaux Blanc because the appellation laws do not permit white St Emilion.
But we may see more white St Emilion Gerard Perse is even thinking of planting some white grapes in the hallowed soils of Pavie. ‘It makes sense,’ says Henrique. ‘You can create great white wines on limestone soil – after all, look at burgundy!’
Well, that’s it for now. My teeth are once again completely stained and my dentist would probably have a fit. But the show must go on.