Pétrus, one of the world`s rarest and most expensive wines was virtually unheard of 30 years ago. It was only when the Moueix family bought a half share in the property in 1962 that its true potential began to be fully realised. Here are 7 facts about the fascinating story of Petrus.
1. Petrus is the most expensive wine in all of Boredeaux. But if you step back a decade to the 1970’s, Petrus sold for less than the First Growths! And if you really want to take a look back to the middle of the 19th century, the vineyards of Petrus were not even thought of as being worthy of making great wine! It was considered a luncheon claret, not fit for the dinner table!
2. Petrus, shares its name with its location, the hill of Petrus. However, there is a more historical side to the name of Petrus. During the times of the ancient Romans, the property was owned by a Roman named Petrus, The logo for the wine fond its inspiration from the Greek version of St. Peter, “Petros,” like numerous Bordeaux estates was sold and resold countless times over the past few centuries.
3. The Petrus soil is a 40 million year old 'blue clay' which contains a lot of reduced iron. This type of clay does not exist in any other wine producing region in the world! Something else to consider that is only found at Petrus, for land devoted to the production of wine, Petrus is the only hill made from clay. This is because clay usually erodes with time and falls to the bottom of the slopes, which is not the case with the soils of Petrus.
4.On average, the vines of Petrus are 40 years of age. The Petrus vineyards are replanted at a pace that allows work to be conducted on a portion of one hectare every 7 to 9 years. While the average age is kept at 40 years, the oldest vines of Petrus were planted in 1952.
5. In 1987 the weather was so wet that the vineyard had to be dried by a helicopter. "It had been a very, very hot summer, and then, during the harvest, it rained non-stop," recalls Berrouet. "They brought the helicopters out to try and dry the grapes enough to pick them."
6. Petrus is the most counterfeited wine in the world. Avoiding fake wines means doing your homework and being vigilant about the provenance of the wines and the source.
7. Petrus is best served at 15.5 degrees celsius or 60 degrees fahrenheit.The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-4 hours. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.