Although its reputation is somewhat overshadowed by that of Chateau Pavie, a Premier Grand Cru Classe, Chateau Pavie-Decesse’s vines, located on top of Saint Emilion’s limestone plateau, actually look down on those of the more famous estate. Wine is made there with the same care as at Pavie, which it borders, and with which it shared a very similar terroir. Both properties were previously owned by the Valet family until they were purchased by Gérard Perse, owner of Château Monbousquet, in 1997.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.