2027 - 2055
The 2019 Pavie Macquin has turned out very well indeed, unwinding in the glass with aromas of blackcurrants, cherries, burning embers, black truffle and licorice, framed by a deft framing of new oak that's more discreet than was the case even a few vintages back. Full-bodied, layered and concentrated, it's deep and layered, with a strikingly vibrant core of fruit, powdery, chalky tannins and a long, penetrating, youthfully firm finish. Tasted alongside older vintages, it's clear that the Thienpont team have eased off extraction, which allows the quality of fruit that this fantastic vineyard produces to express itself all the more completely, delivering the finest Pavie Macquin since 1998.
This 15-hectare vineyard, perched on the edge of Saint-Émilion's limestone plateau above Château Pavie, is a labor of love for Nicolas Thienpont and Stéphane Derenoncourt. It was here, in the 1990s, that they pioneered biodynamic farming, then considered eccentric. And it's here that their viticultural ideas have been put into practice: cover crops, high canopies and higher planting densities are all the order of the day; and the vineyards are gradually being restructured, Cabernet Franc displacing Cabernet Sauvignon and some Merlot (it will augment to around 25% of the blend in the years to come), and Merlot being repositioned to more appropriate locations, generally higher up the slope. In the cellar, winemaking displays more refinement than a decade ago—when pushing the boundaries, one sometimes exceeds them. There's less saignée (tank bleeds) these days, though I wonder if—given the quality of the site and its farming—any are required at all? And extraction is perceptibly gentler, oak better integrated. The result is a perfect storm in the great 2019 vintage, which has delivered the best Pavie-Macquin, to my palate, since the benchmark 1998 that showed the world just what this site could achieve. I can't wait to taste the vintages to come.