Hit Where it Hurts: 2016 Pavelot

Posted on: 07/19/18 12:00 PM


Hugues Pavelot is among the most consistent and talented winemakers in Burgundy, and 2016 is no exception. Nonetheless, it was a very difficult year for him, as the hardships of the vintage were particularly unkind to Savigny. Still, it is precisely this difficulty that proves just how talented the Pavelot family really is. For despite the struggles, these are attractive wines of great energy and fruit. Neal Martin puts the vintage well in context:

“Parking my car in Savigny-lès-Beaune, the question was not whether Hugues Pavelot’s wines had been hit, but how severe their loss was. Eighty percent was the answer. Imagine losing 80% of your income for a year, imagine your boss apologizing because next month’s salary has been frosted over. That means there is no Savigny-lès-Beaune Serptentières or Lavières—both extirpated, while those that survived were acutely diminished in quantity. That did not dissuade the domaine from doing the best they can with what little they received, and harvest duly commenced on 22 September, with average yields a paltry 10-12 hectoliters per hectare. With such small quantities, Hugues told me that he did not extract too much. His entry wines had just been bottled while the premier crus will be bottled at the beginning of next year. Generally, the quality was good, as I expected given the quality of this talented winemaker.”

From previous offers: Tasting from barrel chez Pavelot remains a special memory. I am lucky to barrel taste with many producers and the barrel tasting at Pavelot is always among the most stunning showing for red Burgundy every year. The combination of vintage, terroir and producer is always fascinating at this exceptional estate. Simply put: the wines are irresistible!

Of course, you all know this. You’ve been beating down our door for more Pavelot since we first brought it back into the market. For good reason: the address offers some of the most accessible wines of Burgundy, both in regards price and quality. These are hearty, but refined wines of pure sensuous joy. Sure, there is the delight of terroir here, with Gravains offering perhaps more structure than Lavieres, or Guettes more fruit than Peuillets, but, really, these wines offer pleasure, unadulterated richness and gustatory pleasure, slap-you-on-the-back, belly-deep-laughter-like pleasure. If Falstaff were alive today, he would be a known quantity at the Pavelot cellar door and his famous speech on Sack might instead be known as the “Soliloquy on Savigny” or the “Paean to Pavelot”: “Addict yourselves to Savigny …!”

It always astonishes me how resilient wine growers are, and just how talented the best of them are. With the odds stacked against them, the best still produce excellent wines and at great financial loss. The monumental achievement in the face of such long odds will always be more memorable to the grower who had to brave them. But you can experience just how special this achievement is every time you come from the cellar with a bottle of 2016 Pavelot in your hands.

Posted in Burgundy List By Ian Halbert