2016 Chateau Paveil de Luze Margaux
Unsung Bordeaux States its Profound Grand Cru Classe Case
Bordeaux on the Left Bank is classified by the 1855 Grand Cru Classe system. This system was designed to clearly state which wines were The Best. It produced an easy raking system of 1 to 5, with 1 being the best. Since 1855 the system has never been changed (with one exception).
Curiously enough, this system was put in place by wine merchants, and they made it easy on themselves. Whichever wine was selling for the highest price – that became the best wine. You can smell the tautology.
Now I can’t be sure – because the de Luze family spans back to the 17th century as wine merchants and winemakers in Bordeaux – but I kinda wonder if things got just a little bit political. After all, there are almost 14,000 chateaux in Bordeaux and only some 60-ish of them became Grand Cru Classe. And the winners win big – in the 2015 vintage 1st Growths (number ones) sold for $700 a bottle and even some 5th Growths (number fives) sold for a buck twenty-five a bottle. Meanwhile, some “petites chateaux”, as the diminutive is expressed, sell for far less.
Which brings me back to this guy. The de Luze family, being both merchants and estate owners, straddled the aisle, and maybe the wine got the shaft for it. Or maybe a political compromise was realized – the merchants gets to stay merchants, but their own wine doesn’t get to be in the classification system. I’ll admit, that line of reasoning is a bit tenuous – except for when you taste what is in this bottle:
There is simply nothing more you could ask for from a bottle of 2015 Margaux. ’15 was a hallmark vintage across Bordeaux – a vintage where Mother Nature gave the perfect conditions to make perfect wine. In the glass: profound aromas of blackberries, cassis, and rich succulent fruit are set off by graphite, sweet vanilla pod, baking spices all against a background of ripe Bing cherries. There is utterly nothing not to love here. From the first glass straight to the last, the wine is fantastically compelling. Have friends who can’t understand Bordeaux?
This beauty will give them everything they need to understand. Have friends who cellar and mature Bordeaux for decades? This one will blow them away from the moment you open it. Again, there is simply nothing more you could ask for from Bordeaux in 2015.
The 1855 Grand Cru Classe system rules Bordeaux (and its prices) to this day. Why Paveil de Luze wasn’t included in that ancient, never-changing system, I do not know. But what I can tell you is that here is a dramatic case for reconsideration – a wine that in your glass is nothing short of Bordeaux’s best.
“Wonderful fruit and brightness to this this Margaux. Full and silky textured. Flavorful finish.” –James Suckling