Something about Chateau Petrus
Pétrus, one of the world`s rarest and most expensive wines was virtually unheard of 30 years ago. It was only when the Moueix family bought a half share in the property in 1962 that its true potential began to be fully realised. Pétrus is now under the direction of Christian Moueix and oenologist, Jean Claude Berrouet.
The 11.4 hectare vineyard is located on a plateau on the highest part of Pomerol in the far east of the appellation. The topsoil and the subsoil at Pétrus is almost all clay (in neigbouring properties the soil is a mixture of gravel-sand or clay-sand) and Merlot flourishes in this soil. Pétrus’ vineyard is planted with 95% Merlot.
The vines are unusually old and are only replanted after they reach 70 years of age. The grapes are hand harvested only in the afternoon, when the morning dew has evaporated, so as not to risk even the slightest dilution of quality. The grapes are fermented in cement vats and the wine is aged in 100% new oak barrels for 22-32 months. It is bottled unfiltered.
Pétrus is extraordinarily rich, powerful and concentrated, often with characteristics of chocolates, truffles, Asian spices and ultra-ripe, creamy, black fruits. Petrus is usually approachable after a decade or so in bottle, but the wines from the very greatest years will continue improving for many more years.
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Proprietor Christian Moueix’s 1996s have turned out well in the bottle. However, I do agree with him that 1997 is a superior vintage for his portfolio, and he has hit the proverbial home run in 1998. The 1996 Petrus is a big, monolithic, foursquare wine with an impressively opaque purple colour, and sweet berry fruit intermixed with earth, pain grillé, and coffee scents. Full-bodied and muscular, with high levels of tannin, and a backward style, this wine (less than 50% of the production was bottled as Petrus) will require patience. It is a mammoth example, but without the sweetness of the 1997 or the pure exceptional richness and layers of the multidimensional 1995. Anticipated maturity: 2002-2018.