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1989 Pavie Decesse

1989 Pavie Decesse

From the critics:

91 WS

Critic Reviews

Lively and exciting. Black cherry, violet, dark chocolate character. Full-bodied, with firm silky tannins and a long, fresh and fruity aftertaste.--1989 Bordeaux horizontal.

Wine Spectator | 91 WS

Wine Details for 1989 Pavie Decesse

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.

Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Right Bank
Appellation Saint Emilion


Producer Chateau Pavie Decesse : Although the reputation of Chateau Pavie Decesse exists in the shadow of its glorious older sibling, topography has nonetheless set it above Chateau Pavie, situated as it is on Saint-Emilion’s limestone plateau. The two estates share an intertwining history in which their vines have witnessed the sharing, separating and selling of vineyard parcels over the course of history. The vineyard of Pavie Decesse can be traced back to the time of the Ancient Romans, when the land was first cultivated in the 4th Century. This long and winding path has guided Pavie Decesse towards its own enormity, securing its own place in history, earning its own status and today, is one of the top producers in the Right Bank.

During the late 1800s, Ferdinand Bouffard, a well-known Bordeaux negociant, spent years acquiring all the surrounding vineyards to create a unified whole. This mighty endeavor awarded the Chateau Pavie vineyard with 50 hectares of prime real estate. For unexplained reasons, Bouffard decided to separate the “Pigasse” part of his holdings and in 1855 Pavie Decesse was born.

Pavie Decesse would witness a shuffle of ownership, beginning at the end of the First World War, when Bouffard sold the estate to Albert Porte. It was quickly re-sold a few years later to the Marzelle family in 1943. Major reconstruction of the property and vineyards took place; these ambitious endeavors would be rewarded, as Chateau Pavie earned the coveted title of Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classe during the years of the Marzelle family ownership. After the death of her husband, Madame Marzelle chose to delegate operations of the vineyards to the Valette family, owners of Chateau Pavie. The vineyard would continue to prosper under the meticulous care of Alexandre Valette. Eventually, the Marzelle family heirs would sell the property to the Valette family in 1990.

The estate would once again be sold in 1997 to Gerard Perse (one year prior to his purchase of Chateau Pavie). Perse, well-known for his ambitious nature and “spare no expense” attitude, hastily ordered extensive work in the vineyards and in all the winemaking facilities. To pay tribute to the original owner, Gerard Perse invested a great deal of money and time restoring the barrel cellar to the design that was originally created by Ferdinand Bouffard in the 1800s.

Winegrowing and making would continue to prosper under the direction of Perse; however the estates of Pavie and Pavie Decesse, which seemingly have shared parallel destinies, terroir and ownership throughout their long and illustrious history would once again see an intimate exchange. In 2002, Perse decided to cleave 6 hectares from Pavie Decesse, adding them to Chateau Pavie, leaving the former with a miniscule 3.5 hectares. Due to its proximity and similarity in terroir, Perse’s request was authorized by INAO (French organization charged with regulating agricultural products with protected designations of origin).

Despite its minute holdings, Pavie Decesse’s 3.5 hectares under vine are uniquely situated entirely on Saint Emilion’s prized, limestone plateau. The vineyard is situated close to the peak on steep hillsides, reaching 85 meters in elevation. The terroir is comprised of “starfish” limestone, remnants of an ancient seabed, which contributes to the growth and development of the vines. The soil also possesses rich clay; a vital component of the terroir that allows Merlot to truly and fully express itself.

The predominant grape variety of Merlot occupies 90% of the vineyard, while Cabernet Franc inhabits the remaining 10%. The vines of Pavie Decesse are old, averaging over 50 years, with some vines being much older. Yields are kept low to aid in the concentration of the wine; this, and the fact that the vineyard is quite small, allows for only a mere 1,500 cases produced each year.

Despite their obvious, incestuous relationship, Chateau Pavie and Chateau Pavie Decesse are truly different properties, each with its own unique terroir and style. Although Pavie Decesse enjoys the same care given to Pavie, the estate continues to lie in the shadow of its prestigious sibling. This should be celebrated by collectors and enthusiasts alike, as its obscurity allows for a less expensive bottling. In a loosely synonymous view… it’s similar to purchasing a Porsche without the emblem; it performs just as well but without the prestigious name. For savvy, unpretentious buyers, this wine would be a tremendous acquisition.

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