This morning has seen the release of two Right Bank powerhouses, Chateau Pavie and Angelus. In 2016 both Chateau have produced spellbinding wines, with potential 100 points scores. Pavie in particular has received stunning accolades this vintage, awarded 98-100 points from Neal Martin, who calls it an ‘impressive follow up to the 2015 Pavie and may surpass it once in bottle’. James Suckling awards it 99-100 points and Antonio Galloni 97-100 points. These scores place it on par with the 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000 vintages. The price this morning is £3,580 per case of 12, or £1,790 per case of six which represents a 16.7% euro increase and a 33.6% sterling increase. While Pavie is clearly exceptional in 2016, the price is not. It makes it more expensive than the 2010 and 2009, the same price as the 2005. The only discount is to the 2000 vintage which trades at £5,000 per case. The 2016, however, has to be registered as one of its greatest ever wines.
Like other vineyards in Saint-Emilion such as Château Ausone, the Pavie vineyard dates back to Roman times. It takes its name from the orchards of peaches (“pavies”) that used to stand there. The modern Estate was assembled by Ferdinand Bouffard in the late 19th century by buying plots from several families. The plots were still managed separately, and the 9 hectares bought from the Pigasse family retained a separate identity as Château Pavie-Decesse. However, Bouffard struggled in the vineyard with phylloxera, and at the end of World War I he sold it to Albert Porte, who sold it to Alexandre Valette in 1943. His grandson, Jean-Paul Valette sold it to Gérard Perse in 1998 for $31 million.
Perse is a Parisian millionaire and former cyclist who sold two supermarket chains to fund his entry into the wine business. He bought Château Monbousquet in 1993, Château Pavie-Decesse in 1997, and Pavie in 1998. He ripped out most of the old equipment, building new temperature-controlled wooden fermentation vats, a new cellar, and a new irrigation system in the vineyard.
Chateau Pavie 2016, 12×75 – £3,580 EP
98-100 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Pavie is a blend of 60% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 18% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped at 38 hectoliters per hectare between 10 and 20 October. The alcohol this year is 14.55%, and it is matured in 80% new oak and 20% one-year-old wood. As Gérard Perse explained, this is a Pavie that has taken stock and shifted in direction in recent years, reflecting more of its exceptional terroir instead of winemaking. It has a very intense bouquet that is extremely well-defined and shrugs off that higher alcohol level. You can find the graphite vein courtesy of the Cabernet Sauvignon and the underlying tension, while a second bottle had a soupçon more florality. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent, ripe, supple tannins that gently caress the mouth. It feels beguiling and charming, totally different in style compared to say Cheval Blanc, offering a more sensual take on the 2016 growing season. It is a very impressive follow-up to the 2015 Pavie and may surpass it once in bottle.
99-100 Points, James Suckling
This is more compressed and tighter than the 2015. It’s full-bodied, but very tight and focused. So linear and long. Love the gorgeous finesse. Goes on for minutes. All about finesse…new profile.
Angelus and Pavie have competed on price since their joint re-classification to St.Emilion Grand Cru Classe A in 2012. As such, Angelus has also released this morning for £3,580 per case of 12. Angelus 2016 is exceptional, awarded 96-98 points from Neal Martin and 99-100 from James Suckling. Martin says ‘once in bottle it is destined to give pleasure over many, many years…I expect it to land towards the top of my banded scale.’ James Suckling says ‘what a young wine! We will see if 2016 is better than 2015.’ The price increase is the same as with Pavie, which makes it aggressive given the price of back vintages. We can expect Angelus to end up as 98 to 99 points from bottle which will put it on par with the great modern day years from Angelus, although there is little discount currently to recent greats, only the 100 point scoring 2005, which trades at £4,200. We thought Angelus 2016 was exceptional.
There is also another price driver with Angelus and Pavie 2016 and that is the 2017 vintage which can be seen on the horizon. In 2017 frost has greatly damaged both crops and as such, the Estate has kept back further 2016. We expect 2017 to be a difficult year for both these powerhouse Chateau and they are certainly keeping this in mind with today’s release.
Aromes de Pavie and Carillon d’Angelus, their respective second wines have also released in turn for £876 per case of 12, or £438 per case of six.
George de Boüard started buying up land in Saint-Emilion in the 1560s and it was in the 18th century that Catherine de Boüard de Laforest began living on the property in Château Mazerat. Comte Maurice de Boüard de Laforest inherited Mazaret in 1909 and extended the Estate with the purchase of Clos de L’Angélus in 1926 and part of Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot to form what became Château L’Angélus. The name of the Estate is so called from the sound of the daily bells that come from three local churches.
Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, the current owner, started working for the Château in 1976 and implemented modernisations of both the chai and vineyard practises that improved L’Angélus from a wine that did not stand out from the crowd to one that broke 90 Parker points in 1988, moved to 96 points in 1989 and has achieved high 90’s in all the classic Saint-Emilion vintages since. In 1990 Hubert de Boüard cleverly dropped the L’ from the name of the wine to allow it to show up first on alphabetical lists and his vision and hard work was rewarded when Angélus was promoted to Premier Cru Classe (B) during the 1996 reclassification of Saint-Emilion and then in September 2012 to Grand Cru Classe A.
Chateau Angelus 2016, 12×75 – £3,580 EP
96-98 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Angelus is a blend of 40% Cabernet Franc and 60% Merlot with much of the production zoning in on the more clayey soils that are ideal in a dry growing season like this. Picked from 4 to 21 October and matured entirely in new oak, it has a very intense bouquet with multilayered blackcurrant, blueberry and floral notes, very refined and precise, not unlike the 2010 in some ways, but I would argue this is more sophisticated. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, symmetrical in terms of focus with just the right amount of sappiness on the saline finish. It is a superb Angelus from the de Boüard family, destined to give pleasure over many, many years. Once in bottle, I expect it to land towards the top of my banded scale.
99-100 Points, James Suckling
Incredible depth of fruit to this Angélus, which is dense yet also agile and energetic. There’s just so much dynamic fruit and tannin structure. Makes you want to taste and taste. What a young wine! We will see if 2016 is better than 2015. Both are great.
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