Want to explore all about Chateau Petrus - one of the world’s most prestigious wines?
This exclusive red wine has nothing less than a star-studded fan-base, including members of the British royal family and the Kennedys!
But what makes the Chateau Petrus vineyard so unique, and why is Petrus wine so expensive?
Which Petrus wines should you buy in 2021?
In this article, you’ll find all the answers - from the grapes to the winemaking, and the best vintages to buy. You’ll also discover how to invest in a much-desired bottle of Chateau Petrus or any other Investment Wine for yourself!
This Article Contains
- An Introduction to Chateau Petrus
- A Brief History of Chateau Petrus
- Chateau Petrus Viticulture and Winemaking
- Terroir and Soil
- Merlot: The Grape used to make Petrus Wine
- Winemaking Process
- Petrus Wine Taste and Food Pairings
- Why is Chateau Petrus so Expensive?
- Why Should You Invest in Petrus Wine?
- The Best Vintages of Chateau Petrus
- 1947 Vintage
- 1951 Vintage
- 1961 Vintage
- 1968 Vintage
- 1982 Vintage
- 2000 Vintage
- 2005 Vintage
- 2010 Vintage
- 2015 Vintage
- 2018 Vintage
An Introduction to Chateau Petrus
The Chateau Petrus vineyard is located in the wine-growing region of Pomerol in Bordeaux, France. It is a small wine estate owned by the Mouiex family and is located in the eastern portion of Pomerol.
This Chateau produces one of the most exceptional red wines in the world using a single varietal - Merlot grapes.
The name “Chateau Petrus” comes from “St. Peter” (Petrus is the Greek spelling). St Peter was chosen because the name Peter means “rock”. During the warmer months, the soil at Chateau Petrus dries and becomes as hard as a rock.
Though the Chateau Petrus estate produces one of the world’s most outstanding wines, it is small and exclusive, with the estate measuring only 11.5 hectares.
Let’s take a quick look at the Pomerol appellation where this Chateau is located.
The Pomerol Appellation
Pomerol is the smallest of Bordeaux’s five main wine regions and is situated on the right bank of Bordeaux. It was granted AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) status in 1936.
It is also home to other great vineyards like Château Gazin, Vieux Château Certan and Château Trotanoy.
The Pomerol estates have been left out of more than one Bordeaux Classification, including the 1855 Bordeaux Classification and the Crus Bourgeois Classification, while regions like Medoc and Saint-Emilion were included.
Now, Chateau Petrus isn’t one of the oldest vineyards you’ll come across, but it has a rich and fascinating history!
A Brief History of Chateau Petrus
The very first owners of Chateau Petrus were the Arnaud family, who owned the Petrus estate for around 200 years.
Under the Arnaud family, Chateau Petrus won the gold medal at the Paris Exhibition in 1878. The win boosted the sales and the price of Petrus significantly.
Sadly, in the beginning of the 20th Century, the Arnaud family had to sell the vineyard. They created a share-holding company called La Société Civile du Château and sold shares of the Petrus estate.
Slowly but surely, a widow named Madame Edmond Loubat acquired these shares until she owned the entire estate by 1945. Madame Loubat’s family were the owners of Chateau Latour (another Pomerol estate) and other establishments like the Hotel Loubat in Libourne.
During Madame Loubats ownership, Petrus wine had a very successful vintage in 1945 that propelled it to its current success.
In the same year, Jean-Pierre Mouiex obtained exclusive selling rights to the wine. JP Moueix was a French winemaker who owned a négociant (wine merchant) house called Etablissements Jean Pierre Moueix.
In 1947, when the Lord Mayor of London visited the Pomerol estates for a royal wedding, Madame Edmond Loubat gifted him with two bottles of Petrus. This introduced the wine to British high society and raised its perceived status.
Madame Loubat was also the one who, after a dreadful winter in 1956, started the practice of coppice harvesting by cutting back the vines on the surviving rootstocks instead of replanting.
After the death of Madame Edmond Loubat in 1961, portions of the vineyard went to her family members - Madame Lacoste Loubat and M. Lignac. A share of the vineyard was also given to JP Moueix.
However, just three years later, Jean-Pierre Mouiex became the sole owner of the estate and he started working alongside esteemed winemaker Jean-Claude Berroeut.
The Mouiex family owns Chateau Petrus’ vineyard even today. It is run by Jean-Francois Moueix and Olivier Berrouet.
Chateau Petrus Viticulture and Winemaking
Chateau Petrus stands out from the vineyards around it because of the uniqueness in terroir and grape processing techniques.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Terroir and Soil in Chateau Petrus
- Merlot: The Grape Used to Make Petrus Wine
- Petrus Winemaking Process
Terroir and Soil in Chateau Petrus
The vines in Petrus’ vineyard are located on top of an ancient island mound, taking up roughly half of its area. This area is known as Pétrus boutonnière or Petrus’ buttonhole.
The clay soil in the buttonhole is over 40 million years old and is found nowhere else!
There are two layers of clay soil in the vineyard. The first is dark clay topsoil. The second is a highly unique subsoil - an iron-rich, dark blue, smectite clay. This clay is very hard, but it absorbs and stores water.
In summer, the vines soak up the water that is stored in the smectite.
This special terroir is what makes the Merlot grape vines flourish and the resulting wine so unique!
Also read: Your guide to the Best Malbec Wines to Buy in 2021.
Merlot: The Grape Used to Make Petrus Wine
Jean-François Moueix and the Moueix family believed that the terroir of Chateau Petrus is better suited to the Merlot grape variety than to any other grape.
So, since 2011, only Merlot grapes have been planted in the Petrus vineyard.
Until 2011, a small section of the vineyard was dedicated to Cabernet Franc grapes as well. But, after the harvest of 2010, the 0.5 hectare area of Cabernet Franc grapes was uprooted entirely.
The vines in this appellation were planted in the 1950s, so the average age of a Chateau Petrus vine is around 65 years!
What are the characteristics of the Merlot grape?
Merlot is a red grape variety with a dark blue color. The grape has a thin skin and a low tannin count.
Merlot wines have a rich fruit flavor, with seductive notes of warm black plums and black currant!
Petrus Winemaking Process
Chateau Petrus follows a low-yield, high-quality grape winemaking process.
They use the “green harvesting” (or éclaircissage) method - a crop thinning technique where bunches of unripe grapes are cut off. This allows the remaining grapes to ripen fully.
All the grapes are handpicked and then crushed gently. After this, they are placed in concrete vats for vinification (the process of fermenting grape juice into wine.)
Next, the grapes undergo maceration - a winemaking process where the tannins, color and flavor from the crushed grapes are extracted into the wine.
The wine is then fermented inside French oak barrels for 18-20 months. These are 50% new oak barrels that previously had water in them to cleanse their strong tannin taste.
The oak barrels are replaced in rotation because, as they age, they lose their ability to impart flavor and structure into the wine.
If the vines have a bad year and are not up to Petrus standard, then no vintage is released that year. Petrus also does not produce a second wine.
Read more: Want to try the best wines from Italy? Chianti wine is a great choice!
Petrus Wine Taste and Food Pairings
Petrus wine is bold, velvety, and soft with strong fruit flavors.
Petrus Pomerol has medium to high acidity. The red wine is much loved for its elegance, intensity, and complexity.
This opulent wine can go with a sublime duck ragoût or Agneau De Pauillac, a lamb dish from Bordeaux. Other meat options to go with this wine bottle are pork, veal, beef, and any other gamey meats.
For those who prefer to forego meat, we’d recommend a delicious mushroom risotto or pasta with a creamy Bordeaux cheese sauce - to complement the wine’s richness.
So, what is it that makes the wine from this Pomerol appellation one of the world's most expensive wines?
Why is Chateau Petrus so Expensive?
The exceptional terroir of the Pomerol appellation, the high quality of the surviving rootstocks after harvest, and the careful winemaking process makes the Chateau Petrus Pomerol an inimitable bottle of wine!
Add to it the fact that Petrus’ vineyard is small and only a very limited number of bottles are produced each year (and some years, none at all!)
Chateau Petrus makes only around 30,000 bottles of wine each year - just a quarter of what a Bordeaux winery like Mouton Rothschilds produces in a year!
Why Should You Invest in Petrus Wine?
The inimitable quality, scarcity, and popularity among wine critics will continue to drive up the desirability and prices of Petrus wine!
The Petrus index (that tracks the price movement of the last ten vintages) - is up 37% over five years outperforming the Liv-ex 100 (up 19.9%) and the Bordeaux 500 (27%.)
Chateau Petrus also performs extraordinarily well at auctions, with many wine lovers prepared to pay whatever it takes to get their hands on a bottle of this outstanding wine.
- In 2018, a Chateau Petrus 2000 vintage was sold for $51,660.
- In 2019, some vintages were sold at a hammer price as high as $38,900.
In short, investing in a Chateau Petrus can potentially guarantee you handsome returns.
So, which vintages of Chateau Petrus Pomerol should you invest in?
The Best Vintages of Chateau Petrus
To make it easier for you, here’s a handpicked list of the best Petrus bottles you should buy now!
The Bordeaux summer of 1947 was said to be boiling hot, but thanks to the subsoil of smectite clay, the Merlot grapes still had access to water. This year produced a rich, opulent Petrus, with a palate of black fruit and unsmoked cigars.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 1947: $5,910
2. 1951 Vintage
Drinking this Petrus is like tasting history. This red wine is full, dry, and delicious. It has delightful tasting notes of licorice and the richness of black mulberry and vanilla oak. Despite its age, there is a bold freshness about this bottle.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 1951: $8,247
3. 1961 Vintage
The 1961 vintage is absolutely exquisite. This is a bold, earthy wine with a palate of leather, truffle, and warm black plums.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 1961: $10,555
4. 1968 Vintage
This bottle is a beautiful vintage from the end of the 60s. It is a bold, red wine with notes of cinnamon stick, vanilla oak, and a fruit palate of dark chocolate covered cherries - an excellent example of an opulent Petrus bottle.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 1968: $5,514
5. 1982 Vintage
This is a wine full of the richness of black fruit aromas, with a taste of mulberry, Ceylon tea, and a subtle waft of red roses. There is nothing quite like its provocative ferrous undercurrent.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 1982: $5,492
6. 2000 Vintage
This millennium vintage is perhaps now at its prime tasting time. It has a palate of chocolate, cinnamon stick, black cherry, and licorice with undertones of black currant and Ceylon tea.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 2000: $5,366
7. 2005 Vintage
This bottle, like all Petrus wine, is unique and elegant. With a provocative ferrous undercurrent, an aroma of vanilla oak, and seductive notes of dark chocolate covered cherries, this Merlot guarantees to take your breath away.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 2005: $4,910
8. 2010 Vintage
This red wine has an exquisite bouquet of unsmoked cigars, a rich black fruit flavor, and the bold freshness of Ceylon tea and cinnamon stick. Overall, it makes for truly outstanding wine.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 2010: $4,557
9. 2015 Vintage
Though this Petrus Pomerol wine is only five years old, it is bold, elegant, and smooth. It has a palate of black cherry and mulberry with a waft of red roses and truffle - a gorgeous, opulent Petrus.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 2015: $4,397
10. 2018 Vintage
Another rich red wine, with seductive notes of black currant, black cherry, warm black plums, and the freshness of licorice. We recommend waiting for this wine to age before drinking - between 10 and 20 years to be prudent. It's also a great investment wine.
Price of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol, 2018: $4,286
You could say that a bottle of Chateau Petrus wine is rare, and is difficult to get a bottle of this
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