About Château Pétrus

By Lisa Rowlands

Situated in Pomerol - close to the Saint-Émilion border, Château Pétrus is the flagship of the appellation and is widely regarded as producing amongst the very best red wines of the region. Unquestionably, part of its appeal is its size. Minute in comparison with some of the region’s other acclaimed properties, the estate - at a fraction over eleven hectares - retains a distinct rural charm and almost unassuming profile, that distinguishes it - and Pomerol as a whole - from the grandeur of the renowned Médoc Châteaux. Nevertheless, Pétrus is rightly ranked amongst the world’s wine elite and regularly fetches prices in the tens of thousands for its most celebrated vintages. Its diminutive size and hence the relative rarity of its wine (Pétrus generally produces no more than thirty-thousand bottles each year) contributes to its value on the secondary market.

Originally an estate of just seven hectares, Château Pétrus grew to its current size in 1969 when a parcel of Château Gazin was purchased from its neighbour. Yet it was twenty-four years earlier, in 1945, when Marie-Louise Loubat became sole owner and her partnership with distributor Jean-Pierre Moueix was established, that the estate and its wine began to build its international reputation. By 1969, following the death of Madame Loubat some eight years earlier, full ownership of the estate was in the hands of the Moueix family where it remains today, albeit with a 20% share of the capital held by billionaire investor Alejandro Santo Domingo.

The position of the vineyard and the composition of its soils are integral to Pétrus’ uniqueness. Seated on a plateau in the eastern part of the appellation, the vineyard enjoys excellent exposure to sunshine. Its clay soils date back some forty-million years and include a stratum of Crasse de Fer which distinguishes the estate’s terroir from the more typical - and much younger - gravel of the surrounding properties. Until 2010, the vineyard comprised of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. However, for the last nine years, the vine, and hence the wine have been mono-varietal Merlot, which owing in part to the age of the vines (forty-five years) delivers a richness atypical of the variety.