St Emilion premier grand cru classe Chateau Pavie has released its 2003 vintage at nearly £1000 per case.

Pavie was the subject of an extraordinarily personal war of words between Robert Parker and UK critic Jancis Robinson earlier this year. The latter said it was ‘ridiculous’ while Parker gave it 96-100 points – ‘a first growth score’, as one wine merchant said.

Simon Staples, sales director at London merchant Berry Brothers and Rudd, which is selling the wine at £83 per bottle said the price is ‘the result of the Parker score and the wine’s notoriety. It is a first growth score, and those that follow Parker will buy it.’ He added it is a ‘hot but controversial’ wine.

In The Wine Advocate, Parker says Pavie is ‘another off-the-chart effort…it is a wine of sublime richness…representing the essence of one of St Emilion’s greatest terroirs. Along with Ausone and Petrus it is one of the three greatest offerings of the right bank in 2003.’

Robinson, Steven Spurrier, Clive Coates and other influential UK critics were less positive.

Scoring the wine 12/20, Robinson said, ‘Completely unappetising overripe aromas. Why? Porty sweet. Port is best from the Douro not St.Emilion. Ridiculous wine more reminiscent of a late-harvest Zinfandel than a red Bordeaux with its unappetising green notes.’

The price of Pavie this year is at least double that of most Bordeaux chateau so far released en primeur, though it is lower than 2000 (£1200) and 2001 (£950) .

The first growths and many of the ‘super seconds’ – Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Ducru Beaucaillou, Cos d’Estournel and Montrose – have not yet been released but major announcements are expected this week.

Written by Adam Lechmere