Winter precipitation was near normal until February, followed by a very dry spring. Unseasonably cool temperatures delayed bud break by about 10 days and slowed canopy development. Late spring wind and frost added to the early season challenges,leading to a smaller than normal crop. With diligent attention by the vineyard staff, the outcome was a positive one. Ripening took place in ideally mild conditions characterized by sharply contrasting daytime high temperatures and overnight lows. Harvest was surprisingly smooth, finishing a few days earlier than average on October 21. In the barrel, the 2008 wines displayed balance, massive structure, length and elegance. L’Esprit des Pavots literally means “The Spirit of the Poppies.”
This wine was grown in the original Les Pavots vineyard blocks that we completely replanted between 1996 and 1999 due to phylloxera. In replanting, we spared no expense, utilizing only the rarest and best clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The 2008 vintage wine made from these young vine blocks captures the “spirit” of the Les Pavots terroir. With all the features which characterize Les Pavots terroir: blueberry, vanilla beans, licorice, chocolate, cedar and coffee; the 2008 L’Esprit des Pavots is spectacularly rich and intense. Younger vines exhibit bright fruit like strawberry, black cherry, and plum in addition to red pepper, adding to its complex bouquet. The palate is full-bodied, rich and concentrated, exhibiting abundant, youthful yet supple tannins and a lingering finish. Fruit forward and enjoyable at release, this wine should age well for a decade.
Wine Advocate(2005 Vintage) Rating: (90-92) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 168 on Dec-06
Robert Parker(2004 Vintage) "The 2004 Les Pavots is ripe and is a relatively similar blend of 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine exhibits notes of forest floor intermixed with chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, espresso, and spice. It is strikingly more tannic, and closed compared to the 2005, which is almost the reverse of the vintage character. There were only 2,000 cases produced of the 2004, which needs 2-3 years of bottle age and should drink well for 15+ years."
Wine Advocate(2004 Vintage) Rating: (92-94) - As reviewed in Wine Advocate # 168 on Dec-06
Robert Parker(2003 Vintage) Rating: 94/100 - As reviewed by The Wine Advocate in Issue 162
Wine Spectator(1999 Vintage) "Deliciously rich, smooth and polished. Deeply concentrated, with layers of currant, blackberry, mocha and vanilla. Beautifully focused and deftly balanced, the flavors run on and on. Best from 2004 through 2013. 2,164 cases made."