Arguably one of the world’s most expensive and highly regarded wines, Pétrus holds the curious distinction of having never been classified. One of the most valued treasures of the Pomerol region, Château Pétrus believes in focus and continuity: it produces its signature wine solely from Merlot grapes, and has never produced a second wine. Obviously, given its desirability and steep price tag, this classic, compact 28-acre estate is doing something right.
The estate was originally owned by the Arnaud family from the late 18th century through 1917. The Arnauds left their mark on the château’s history by winning a gold medal at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1878, which secured not only the wine’s high selling price but also a new Second Growth record for Médoc. In 1925, Madame Edmond Loubat, widow of the owner of the Hotel Loubat in Libourne, began buying shares in the property, until in 1940, she became its sole owner, and created the environment for what is called the “great age of Pétrus” starting with the release of the historic 1945 vintage. In that same year, Jean-Pierre Moueix of the Libourne négociant house Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix acquired the wine’s exclusive selling rights. Before long, Pétrus became something of a celebrity itself, “attending” the 1947 marriage of England’s Queen Elizabeth to Prince Phillip among other notable VIP events over the next several decades.
The vines that grace Château Pétrus are on average 45 years old, with hand harvesting occurring over the span of two to three days when the time is right. Lacking the gravel-sand or clay-sand of nearby vineyards, Pétrus features a unique topsoil and subsoil rich in blue, iron-dense clay, making an ideal home for its exclusive Merlot grapes. The Grand Vin is aged for up to 16 months in French oak barrels, and an average year can deliver up to 30,000 bottles.
Pétrus continues to be a revered Bordeaux, and remains one of the few that has repeatedly received a 100 points score from noted critic Robert Parker. Complex, rich, velvety and viscous, its aromatics feature spice, coffee, cinnamon, fruit and flowers, lending an almost heavenly texture. Its truest essence takes time to be revealed, but those who are faithful to this exquisite wine promise that it is more than worth the wait.