Petrus -Magnum- 1969

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Petrus -Magnum- 1969

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  • Petrus -Magnum- 1969
  • Petrus -Magnum- 1969
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Petrus: The Vines & Wines

The Petrus vineyard is noted for its rich, dark clay soils, less gravelly than that in some neighbouring estates such as La Fleur-Pétrus, Cheval Blanc and Figeac. These soils sit on the Petrus boutonnière (or Petrus button), a mound 40 metres above sea level; rather a modest rise, you might say, but the highest point in the appellation nevertheless. Underneath there is a thick seam of iron-rich subsoil known as crasse de fer which characterises some Pomerol vineyards such as Taillefer, where it even contributes to the name. The button though is a rich blue clay, the surrounding soils a more gravelly although still clay-rich soil. It is these soils that make Petrus what it is; although they extend over some of the neighbouring properties, at Petrus this clay covers pretty much the entire vineyard. Merlot is suited to clay of course, but there is more to it than that; the slope allows rainwater to run off when wet weather dominates, but the deeper, moisture-rich layers protect the vines in times of drought.


The vines (some of which are pictured above, looking towards Château l'Évangile) are 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc although it is not the norm for the latter to be incorporated into the blend, so today the wine is usually pure Merlot. On rare occasions Cabernet Franc does make an appearance, such as the 1.5% it contributed to the blend in 2008. In much older vintages, however, looking back to the 1960s and beyond, Cabernet Franc may have paid a much greater role, as much as 20%. There are just under 11.5 hectares all told, of which 5 were added to the estate when purchased from neighbouring Gazin in 1969. Such an acquisition is bound to cause eyebrows to raise; after all, how can the quality be maintained when the vineyard doubles in size overnight? This was a question addressed by David Peppercorn writing in Bordeaux (Faber & Faber, second edition, 1991). Moueix reported to peppercorn that of the five vats produced each vintage, three come from the original Petrus vineyard, whereas two are from the purchased vines. When ranked one to five in order of merit he claimed that the wine from the purchased vines never came last.

The vines are trained low, and many are very old, with an average age in excess of 45 years. The heritage of the vineyard has been protected by both Loubat and Moueix over the years; many of the vines failed to survive the devastating frost of 1956 and thus required replacing. Since then, whereas it is usual to replace individual deceased vines with new, Moueix has resisted, ensuring the age of the vineyard remains high, and replanting whole blocks when it is ultimately necessary. Otherwise the vineyard work is as you might imagine; yields are limited by pruning, the soils are ploughed and there is crop-thinning and de-leafing to ameliorate quality. The harvest is by hand, and such is the size of the vineyard it may be finished within two afternoons, after the morning dew has evaporated. If the moisture is more than the sun can handle it has been known for the vines to receive a blow-dry from a hovering helicopter. The ultimate yield is typically in the order of 35 hl/ha. In the cellars, which sit unprepossessingly at the side of one of the many minor roads that criss-cross the Pomerol appellation, the process of converting grape into wine follows a fairly standard pattern.


There is a sorting before pressing and fermentation, which takes place predominantly in 15 thermoregulated concrete tanks, although there are also four stainless steels vats as a back up. There is remontage to submerge the cap, and a maceration of the skins for 18-25 days. This is followed by malolactic fermentation mostly in vat, although sometimes a portion of the wine undergoes this step in barrel, and blending takes place in December before the barrel ageing per se begins, using 100% new wood. The wine will rest here for up to two years before bottling. There is no second wine, and the entire production of Petrus amounts to around 2500 cases.

Producent Petrus
Jaar 1969
Appellation Pomerol
Climat Nee
Flesgrootte 1,5 L
Aantal flessen 1
Conditie Nee
Waardering Nee