Pavelot is a family run domain, perched on the hillside in the village of Pernand-Vergelesses, directly across from the church. Pernand has seen many generations of Pavelots – indeed the village has its own Rue Louis Pavelot.
This is a domaine that extends to nearly 9 hectares – part red, part white – mostly in Pernand, and indeed with Les Fichots, En Caradeux, Les Vergelesses, Ile des Vergelesses and Sous Frétile they cover most of the 1er Crus of the village. I’ve met and enjoyed the occasional bottle from this domaine before, and chatted with Lise Pavelot at the Grands Jours de Bourgogne earlier this year, so I was looking forward to this visit!
The domaine is run since the early 1990s by the brother and sister team of Luc and Lise Pavelot who continue the family business of their father Regis and grandfather Maurice. Converting to ‘bio’ in 2006, they have been certified ‘AB’ by Ecocert since 2009; so no herbicides are used, only ploughing between the rows. Luc has worked in California at Navarro Vineyards and Lise spent time at Domaine Dagueneau in the Loire.
Lise notes that “Pernand is a relatively discrete appellation – it’s not that well-known.” That said, the domaine sells-out reasonably quickly – perhaps contributing to that is the relatively modest ~35,000 bottles that they commercialise each year, at least modest considering that they have almost nine hectares at their disposal.
The grapes are hand-harvested and transported back to the domaine in old-style wicker baskets. Grapes are usually destemmed at this address – certainly they were in 2011 – but Lise notes that a ripe vintage such us 2009 might see them incorporating up to 15% whole clusters. The grapes then ‘enjoy’ a 4-5 day cold maceration before fermentation begins, without added yeasts, in their cement fermentation tanks. The total time in the tanks would be about 18 days with occasional pigeage or remontage – depending in the raw materials. Elevage in barrels tends to be at least 11 months. The wines are usually racked once in the summer, the second racking comes when they are assembled for bottling.
The white grapes are slowly pressed, the juice then racked into barrels for fermentation – only their Aligoté is fermented in tank. There can be some stirring of the lees, but there is no rule.
The oak treatment here varies between zero for the aligoté and 50% new barrels for the domaine’s Corton, 40% for their Charlemagne and 25-30% for the premier Crus. Villages wines see 10-20% new oak. Medium toast Remond, Damy and Chassin help to ‘furnish’ the cellar.
Tasted with Lise Pavelot in Pernand, 29th November 2012.
At this stage in their elevage, these are clean and interesting 2011s; the reds with plenty of tannin, concentration and flavour dimension. This is a very good address with attractive pricing – assuming they still have bottles to sell! The reds would soon be bottled, the whites had been bottled in September 2012.
“We like finesse, but we like a little structure for longevity too!”
Prices ex-domaine are excellent – you could load-up on any of the 1er Crus for €20 or less. Grand Crus are also good value, but sell out quickly…
2011 Pavelot, Aloxe-Corton
From Les Combes. This had an 11 month elevage.
This is a relatively shy nose, at first I think there’s a faint pyrazine note, but eventually settle on a little ‘malo’ aroma instead. The textural impression is of a fleshy wine with a supple base of ripe tannin. This will be very nice.
This has a note of reduction. Narrower in profile after the Aloxe – there’s a bright sour-cherry mid-palate – if it was a dessert I might reach for the sugar! As the reduction lifts, the fruit profile brightens and lightens. This has a straight and quite mineral aspect in the finish. Good!
Lise notes that Fichots is typically the most tender and delicate of Pernand’s 1ers.
A deep, dark red depth of aroma, accented with faint herbs. Round, more concentrated, rather supple with fine tannin – a beautiful presentation here. Finally a dark mineral element in the finish. Lovely.
Here the aromas remind me of the 2011 Aloxe, perhaps a little more subtle. Another wine with lovely, comforting silkiness before the ripe tannins decide to exert themselves a little. The fruit flavour holds well in the finish.
The nose begins coyly but builds aromas in the glass, even a little musky depth which I usually associate with ‘Ile’. Again there is a base of tannin that asserts itself without being overbearing. Very faint red berries. Yum.
Another wine that has a reductive note mixed with the fruit, there is density here that seems ‘cushioned’ – the last drops in the glass offer strawberry and floral notes. The structure adds a little to the texture here but the extra flavour leaching from the gaps in your teeth is palpable. Clearly a wine to wait a little longer for but it’s a compelling package.
From the lower slopes that could also be Charlemagne if chardonnay.
Deep, faint musk yet with a very clean impression. Direct, very pretty fruit. The tannin is very finely textured. Super controlled and understated – too much understatement for a grand cru? Maybe, but the finish is long and mineral.
2011 Pavelot, Bourgogne Aligoté
This has a very pretty fruit-led nose but with an interesting aniseed element. Mouth-filling, ebullient, fun. A lovely fresh wine – it’s hard to resist another sip…
Good aroma impact. This is a hint ‘lush’ but has a great personality. The acidity gently grows – in the mid-palate there’s clearly enough for balance. Lovely finish!
This nose is more mineral and more interesting too. Clearly more intensity – still quite cushioned – like the villages the acidity slowly wells as the flavours grow in the mid-palate before a fine burst of energy. I like this.
This is a mix of Le Charlemagne and En Charlemagne.
The nose has good depth, faint baked bread as an accent. This seems a little bulky but the suddenly clears and brightens as acid-led grip and pretty fruit flavours come to the fore. Lovely focus and delicacy. The flavour slowly decaying. Lovely wine.