is a red Bordeaux wine
of the Pomerol appellation
made almost entirely from the Merlot grape
. The estate belongs to the family of the Libourne
wine merchant Moueix
. Although the wines of Pomerol
have never been classified, Pétrus is now one of the most highly rated and expensive wines in the world, along with the First Growths
of the left bank of the Gironde: châteaux Haut-Brion
, Lafite Rothschild
and Mouton Rothschild
, as well as Ausone
and Cheval Blanc
from the neighbouring right bank appellation of Saint-Émilion
Owned by the Arnaud family for the better part of 200 years until the end of the World War II, Pétrus was then sold to Mme Loubat, who had progressively acquired the property since 1925. On her death in 1961, the estate was passed to her family, who eventually sold a half share in 1964 to Jean-Pierre Moueix. Moueix himself had set up a negociant business Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, based in Libourne and gradually began acquiring right bank châteaux. Following the death of Jean-Pierre Moueix in 2003, his elder son Jean-François is the gérant of Château Pétrus, while, Christian Moueix, his second son, manages the production.
There is no real château physically on the estate, which explains why the wine is usually simply referred to as Pétrus, and not Château Pétrus.
of Pétrus is located on a plateau in the eastern portion of Pomerol, planted with the grape varieties of 95% Merlot
and 5% Cabernet Franc
. The soil consists of a high percentage of iron-rich clay, more than is contained in surrounding properties. The estate was among the first in Bordeaux
to implement green-harvesting
as a way to lower crop yields and raise the quality of the remaining grapes. The yield is among the lowest in Bordeaux partly through éclaircissage
or green harvest to concentrate the power and quality of the remaining crop (eliminating up to 50% of the crop in certain years).
The grapes are brought in entirely by hand over a period of two to three days and fermented in temperature controlled concrete tanks. The young wine is aged in new French oak for 20 months. A severe pre-assemblage vat selection is carried out and certain parcels are rejected from the Grand Vin. Production, in comparison to other Bordeaux, is minute and an average year might yield at most 2,500 cases. In recent vintages such as 2003 this average has been sharply reduced.
In popular culture
- In Thomas Harris' series of books about Dr Hannibal Lecter, Lecter serves a Château Pétrus Bordeaux with the "sweetbreads" of a Baltimore Philharmonic flautist.
- In the television show Alias, Julian Sark's (played by David Anders) favorite wine is a 'Chateau Pétruse 82', a reference to this wine with only a slightly different spelling.
- Kanzaki Shizuku compared a 1970 vintage of Pétrus to a luxury ocean liner in the Japanese wine comic Les Gouttes de Dieu.
- A Pétrus features in the plot of Alexander McCall Smith's Espresso Tales.
- The producers of the film Sideways had originally wanted Miles' treasure bottle to be a Pétrus, but Christian Moueix declined.
- In the television show Frasier "Something Borrowed, Something Blue [part one]", the Doorman dies and gives Martin Crane a bottle of '45 Château Petrus.