Pétrus is one of the most celebrated wines in Bordeaux, and undoubtedly the most famous in Pomerol. The tiny 11 hectare vineyard only produces 30,000 bottles a year, which is minuscule by Bordeaux standards. This is due to the older age (around 70 years) of the vines and the resulting very low yields. With so few bottles on the market it goes without saying that this archetypal Pomerol is one of the rarest and most expensive wines out there.
The history of Pétrus isn’t well known. For the second half of the twentieth century it had failed to achieve notoriety and was still relatively unheard of 30 years ago. Following several successive ownerships, Madame Loubat bought the property in 1945 and entrusted the distribution of the wines to Jean-Pierre Moueix. Their combined efforts and passion raised the reputation of Pétrus, achieving first growth status and making it one of the greatest wines of Bordeaux. Jean-Pierre Moueix went on to purchase shares in Pétrus and full ownership was achieved for the Moueix family in 1969 who still own the property today.
There are a number of different reasons for the outstanding quality of the wines, the most important being the soil which, unlike any other vineyard in Pomerol, is all clay. Situated on the highest hill in Pomerol, the 100% Merlot planted vineyards enjoy excellent sun exposure and water drainage which are both integral to the wines production.
Jean-Claude Berrouet was the genius oenologist responsible for 45 vintages of Pétrus before his retirement in 2008. His son Olivier has taken over the reins and now follows in his father’s footsteps.
“Pétrus has its own style, aroma and quality of tannins. It’s not quantifiable, not measurable. I’m not looking for things you can find anywhere, such as over-fruit or over-extraction. The best wines express where they come from – and my father has taught me the patience and the need for hard work that allow them to do that. Above all, he’s taught me to take pleasure in my work.” Olivier Berrouet, Winemaker