1978 Pavie


Meeting a friend for lunch at the bustling “Brutto” Italian restaurant near Farringdon Station last February, my generous host served a wine blind that epitomized everything great about “old school Bordeaux”. Ironically, it was from an estate that later became the paragon/pariah of modern winemaking depending on your views: Château Pavie. Older vintages under the ownership of Jean-Paul Valette were disparaged over the years and consequently ignored by wine cognoscenti. When I say disparaged, it received a desultory 78-points from Parker who lamented its “one-dimensional charm” and “vegetal bouquet” (albeit four decades ago). Well, err, it must have improved since then.

This 1978 Pavie is exquisite. So fresh on the nose, it offers vestiges of black fruit, seaweed and cedar aromas, quite Left Bank in style, wonderfully focused with touches of dried rose petal emerging with time. The palate is extremely well balanced, not powerful but driven by its thread of perfectly-judged acidity. There is a touch of salinity towards the finish, this Saint-Émilion coalescing and gaining wait over the course of 90-minutes in the glass. Savoured down to its very last drop, this is just a wonderful mature Right Bank. 93/2022-2035.

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