A wine from Bordeaux, with character, Pétrus 1982 vintage, from the right bank, Pomerol with 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. (From 2010, 100% Merlot)
I took this photo on a Saturday, 2nd. of March 2019, during a cheese and wine degustation with Paxton & Whitfield at Berry Bros & Rudd in London. If I may describe the Wine & Spirit merchant, if it is not the most, it is one of the most organized wine merchant I have visited here in London. There is enough space that you can walk and stand in front of a bottle and study it carefully. The bottles are divided by region and each bottle has a description, with its price. There is also a corner with the most prestigious wine and whisky of all times from all over the world.
Pétrus 1982, is the wine I would like to write about now.
The story begins in year 1770, when Jacques Meyraud bought estates in Gazin from family Voisin, today known as Pétrus. It was after a century, Pétrus won a gold medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle and so Pétrus became the leading top wine producer of Pomerol. (This legendary story happened after the devastation of Phylloxera epidemic in Bordeaux and they replanted the entire vineyard with Merlot). It was only then, when its prices could be compared with those from the Left Bank (Médoc, Haut Médoc, Graves...). Since then, many shareholders started to invest in the property until 1945, when Madame Edmonde Loubat (her real name is Marie Louise, at that time, the wife carried her husband's first and last name for business purposes), who owned a hotel-restaurant "Hôtel Loubat", (where Monsieur Sabin-Douarre loved to dine), and two Châteaux in Pomerol "Jeanlade" and "Chants-Caille" that turns into "Château Latour Pomerol", becomes the solely proprietor of Pétrus. She started gradually buying shares since 1925 from family Antonine Arnaud, through his manager Monsieur Sabin-Douarre, the Monsieur who created and founded the "Société Civile du Château Pétrus". She later entrusts Jean-Pierre Moueix for the distribution of the wines. After her death, her shares went to her nephew Monsieur Lignac and her niece a Madame Lily Lacoste and some to Jean-Pierre.
In 1950, Jean-Pierre began investing in other properties, such as Château LaFleur-Pêtrus, Château Magdelaine and Saint Emilion Grand Cru Classé. In 1964, a new member Jean Claude Berrouet, oenologist, joins Pétrus and his son Olivier joins in year 2008, meanwhile Jean-Pierre's son expand the establishments, by buying other Châteaux in Pomerol. Today, Jean-Pierre Establishments has the distribution rights of over 20 Chateaux on the Right Bank. In 2003 Jean-Pierre passes away. His sons Christian and Edouard carry on the family business. Edouard expands the business into Californian wines.
Today, Crus owned by Moueix: La Fleur-Petrus, La Fleur de Gay, Gazin Lafleur, Clinet, L'Église clinet, Hosanna, Le Pin, L'Evangile, La Conseillante, Petit-village, La Croix, Trotanoy, Bélair-Monange...
The name Pétrus as you are aware comes from St. Peter, the father and the first Pope of the Catholic Church, that is the logo, but there is more into that. They named it after the name of its location, the hill of Petrus. It is also believed that a Roman during the Empire owned the vineyard and his name was Petrus. The logo was an inspiration of St. Peter's image from the Greeks, "Petros" and "Petrus" in Latin.
Another key person brought Pomerol to its Majestic level: Robert Parker, the world's leading wine critic, who rated 100 points (extraordinary 96-100) from Wine Advocate to the following years: 1921, 1929, 1947, 1961 1989, 1990, 2000, 2009, 2010, but the year 1982 did not achieve the extraordinary level, but it still retains its high price. The comments were from tasting in year 2009, June:
"Given what I thought this wine would achieve, the 1982 Petrus has not turned out to be nearly as profound as expected. It reveals a certain herbaceousness, and there is significantly less concentration than I initially believed (too much filtration?) along with a cedary spiciness. Tasters who have had no previous experience with this wine will find it to be an outstanding effort that has reached full maturity much faster than some of its peers. It is capable of lasting a long time, but there is an underlying vegetal character, and the 1982 is far less concentrated than the vintages of Petrus that have been produced since 1989. I believe this wine is fully mature, and is capable of lasting another 10-15 years, but it is unlikely to improve
Score: 93 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (183), June 2009".
So, why is Pétrus so successful and why does it achieve the level it achieves?
Besides year 1991 (where the weather worked against all the vintage in Bordeaux and other ares of France), the vineyard itself is located at the highest level (40m. high) of the Pomerol plateau, they call it the "Boutonnière argileuse de Pomerol". They have the privilege that the top and subsoil at Pétrus is all clay, blue clay, that even in the harshest weather condition, there will be always natural drainage in the vine and with its elevation, the grapes never cease to receive water for its development.
The vine can live more or less 40 years, then it is replaced. In year 1985, they created their own cloning in order to protect their vines and to conserve their authenticity. Divided by 12 parcels, the surface is composed by 6 to 600 vines per hectare for the oldest parcel and up to 7000 vines for the newest. They own 11,4 ha, from which 20% of that area was sold to a millionaire business man known as Alejandro Santo Domingo, who also owns shares of a beer company AB InBEV. There is little information about the transaction.
In year 2019, Sale at Bonham Sale made £29,875 out of 1982 Pétrus (high-estimate £35,000 and low-estimate £30,000).
Favorite wine from the Kennedy's and Pétrus was the wine Queen Elizabeth II celebrated with during her engagement ceremony.
One of the most 50 expensive wine in the world. No second label. Hugh Johnson.
Pétrus 2000 tops Hugh Johnson cellar auction (at Sworders auction house) in year 2013, followed by Château Haut-Brion 1990, Margaux 1996, Cheval Blanc 1998 and Latour 1945. The auction took place, due to Hugh Johnson decision to leave Essex and move closer to London, where his family is.
I do not wish to spread bad propaganda, but there was an incident recently in a Michelin starred restaurant in London called "Zafferano", the £18,000 Pétrus 1961 is fake, said the customer. After a long discussion with the manager of the restaurant, the customer orders a £20,000 a magnum of "Mouton Rothschild 1945". Marvelous! There are many counterfeited bottles of Pétrus. Never buy online, go to a wine store you trust and buy it. For extra information in regards to counterfeit rare wine, you can also read articles about "Rudy Kurniawan". Please be careful, when you buy high-rated wine, always go to a connoisseur of wine. It is not for negotiation, it is not about the "old look" of the label...If you spend, collect or invest in a wine, spend it well.
Until the day I may taste a "ready to taste" Pétrus, I will surely write about every well known Châteaux in Bordeaux and other wine regions.
By the way, it is not Château Pétrus, it is just Pétrus.
A la prochaine,
Food with Susi