Monday, August 14, 2006

Pavie 2003 - No Ordinary Wine

Chateau Pavie 2003 is no ordinary wine; a big wine from a big vintage, it has come to epitomise all that is either good or bad about Bordeaux depending on which side of the Atlantic-shaped fence you sit on. To Robert Parker it is a 98 point work of wonder full of “charcoal, creme de cassis, melted licorice, espresso roast, and blackberries” but to Jancis Robinson it was quite the opposite, with JR famously calling it "ridiculous wine more reminiscent of a late harvest Zinfandel than a red bordeaux with its unappetising green notes...".

Controversial stuff. And there is nothing The Juice likes more than a good dollop of controversy over dinner.

It was a simple recipe. Take one bottle of Pavie, one late harvest Zinfandel hide them in amongst some top ‘03s from Bordeaux and around the world and invite the great (and the Goode) to come and taste them blind.

Bold, rich and full of fruit, the ‘03s are a funny bunch. Typical Bordeaux? Hell, no. Cracking bottles of wine? Some of them certainly are. Pichon-Baron was TJ’s pick of the line-up, though Cos d’Estournel and Kirwan picked up a few votes too.

Yet despite all these lovely left-bankers, this night was all about one wine. Did Pavie really taste like late-harvest Zin? Was it an abomination, an insult to its terroir? Or was it the best wine released since, ooh, Pavie 2000?

The answers: no, no and no.

Late-havest Zin it was not (though the Turley Tofanelli Vineyard 2003 served alongside it was a thrilling piece of kit) and it did taste a lot like the other big, ripe, oaky Bordeaux 2003s on the table. A contender for nose of the night with an extraordinary mass of plum, chocolate and blueberry notes, the attack was juicy, plush and ultra-rich but then the tannins, extract and oak rather took over at the end, leaving the finish a touch on the hard side. Great wine, but not 98 points. Worth another look in a decade or so.

As the debate raged around the table, controversy well and truly stirred, TJ slipped back into the shadows clutching the dregs of the Pichon-Baron….


Post a Comment

<< Home