x
  • Country ranking ?

    40
  • Producer ranking ?

    8
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    enjoy without food

Petrus, 1961 – £100,800 / Sold in 2011 at a Christie’s sale in New York, this Petrus vintage was expected to sell for between US$50,000 and $90,000, but the hammer went down on a considerably higher sum of $144,000 (£100,800), setting a record for the most expensive Petrus ever sold at auction.

Parker 100 points: An estate only needs to produce a handful of wines such as the 1961 Petrus to garner an international following. Not surprisingly, the 1961 Petrus was pure perfection. This fully mature wine possesses a port-like richness (reminiscent of the 1947 Petrus and 1947 Cheval Blanc). The color revealed considerable amber and garnet, but the wine is crammed with viscous, thick, over-ripe black-cherry, mocha-tinged fruit flavors. Extremely full-bodied, with huge amounts of glycerin and alcohol, this unctuously-textured, thick wine makes for an awesome mouthful. Imagine a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup laced with layers of coffee and cherry, and encased in a shell of Valrhona chocolate!  

The notes for this wine are taken from the description of Series III - Flight D of the 1995 tasting conducted in Munich by Helga and Hardy Rodenstock. Many years after the tasting from which this note derives allegations were made concerning the authenticity of old and rare bottles of wine sold by Hardy Rodenstock to collectors around the world. The matter has been the subject of numerous articles, litigation and at least one book. Mr. Parker believes that the wines served to him at this tasting were authentic so this note and the others from that specific tasting continue to be posted on eRobertParker.com.

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The Story

Drinking Pétrus may be an unforgettable experience. We has been lucky to have the opportunity to taste most of its great vintages. That is why wine enthusiasts often come to us for advice. First, WeI advise you to choose a good vintage, an excellent one if your wallet allows. If you taste a poor vintage, you will notice how it raises above most other wines of the same vintage, but you will miss the actual point of Pétrus.

Second, purchase wine that is at least 10 to 20 years old, because a young Pétrus is difficult to approach, besides which oak and tannins predominate in its taste. Young Pétrus may be impressive, but it ages fantastically and requires more time than any other Pomerol wine to reach its culmination. Finally, We would advise you to decant the wine with care and well in advance, and also to give it time to develop in the glass. Then you will have the opportunity to enjoy an unforgettable experience.

 

 

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Vintage 1961

 The great post-war champion of Pomerol - indeed Pétrus - was the late Ronald Avery, head of Avery's of Bristol. By buying up much of the post-war vintages up to 1955, some in bottle, others in cask, he set forth on a plan to put Pétrus and Pomerol in the minds of fine wine buyers. The next major personality to complement the efforts of Avery is the legendary négociant Jean-Pierre Moueix, the sole agent for Ptrus since 1947, who in 1961 inherited a portion of the estate (the balance went to two nieces of the late owner, Madame Loubat). Three years later Moueix purchased one of the niece's share and effectively became the man in charge. It is Jean-Pierre's son, Christian that now runs the estate and who is the face of Pétrus to the world.
Property of a Gourmand and Fine Wine Connoisseur 
 

Château Pétrus--Vintage 1961 
Pomerol, cru exceptionnel
Levels: one very top and one top shoulder; one excellent appearance with Leeds Imports clip on neck, and Wine Cellars slip on back, one capsule cut prior to inspection, slightly torn on top. Other bottle with Fine Wine Imports slip, with cut and removed capsule and very badly bin soiled label, with tears
"A superb bottle, sweet, exceedingly full-body and fruit. A luscious mountain of wine. Noted, blind, at Wolf's tasting of '61s and '59s in Aschau, Nov 1994 ***** and no end in sight." MB, Vintage Wine
 

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Average Bottle Price

2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000
6 843€ +4.5% 6 549€ +5.4% 6 211€ -7.9% 6 745€ -3.7% 7 005€ -5.6% 7 422€ +67.4% 4 433€ +101.6% 2 199€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

37 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Bright

ending

Long, Lingering and Flavorful

flavors

Smoky, Blackberry, Plum, Truffles, Herbs and Chocolate

nose

Complex, Refined, Generous and Intense

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, High alcohol content, Medium tannin, Complex, Perfectly balanced, Concentrated, Youthful, Full-bodied, Rich, Elegant, Fragrant, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Impressive and Outstanding

Written Notes

Well, well, well, 1961 Petrus again, my second bottle in three months. That officially constitutes a good year, and while this was ‘freakishly great’ per the Dapper one, it didn’t quite hit the highest of high notes for me like the bottle I had with The Rev a couple months prior. Don’t get me wrong, this was still best wines of my life category, ie 97 points and up. This bottle had that rich and creamy Pomerol nose with plums, honey and sex all over the house. It was delicious and rich, chewy and deep purple, with traces of game and lots of exotic things happening that only happen abroad (97).
  • 97p
Regardless of bottle variation one thing is sure; this wine is a true homage to one of the greatest ladies in the history of Bordeaux – Madame Edmonde Loubat. She became a shareholder of Château Pétrus in 1925. After progressively buying out the shares from the Societé Civile du Château Pétrus, she became the sole proprietor of Pétrus in 1945. By the time of her death in 1961, she had created a status for Pétrus as the world’s most desirable wine. Our best experience of the 1961 Pétrus was just recently in May 2013 when it was able to reveal its true magnitude. The Pétrus was tasted together with a collection of legends: Cheval Blanc 1947, Lafleur 1947, Romanée-Conti 1943, Mouton-Rothschild 1945, Margaux 1961 and Pétrus 1955. It stood out from its rivals with its incredible power and elegance. A clear, moderately intense, brick red colour. A stunningly pronounced nose which expanded in the glass. Complex aromas of cigar, cedar wood, smoke, dark chocolate, black berries, teak and black olives. Such a youthful nose for its age. The taste has an extremely broad mouth-feel with elegant lively acidity, supple mellow tannins and ripe dark fruit aromas. A savoury finish with immense richness. A silky wine with an amazingly youthful style. This wine has scored a full 100 points eleven times since we first tasted this wine in 1989.
  • 98p
PETRUS 1961 In Geneva, a bottle of this let us down. Tonight, it was everything it should be. A truly great wine, it flirts with perfection. It is a rich wine, astonishingly youthful, still not at its apogee, with some similarities to the port-like richness of the ’47 vintage for Petrus and Cheval Blanc. Raspberry, truffles and chocolate on the nose captivate you in a thrilling mélange. It is sweet, rich, polished, bountiful, yet it still manages to be abundant with elegance, passionate yet with finesse. It perfumes your mouth with fruit, as it coats and virtually seduces the palate with a parade of quintessential Petrus Merlot-laced flavors on a seemingly endless finish. This wine romances, dazzles and charms in equal measure. 100 Points
  • 100p

Information

Origin

Bordeaux, Pomerol

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Very good

When bottled

1962

Investment potential

Outstanding

Fake factory

Every second bottle is a fake

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

18

Inside Information

1961 - the greatest Bordeaux vintage ever?

I’m writing this during the en primeur campaign for the 2011 vintage and notice that the Bordelais château-owners and négociants have been unusually quiet this year. I have followed this part of the market from a distance for close to 30 years now and have been told about a large number of “vintages of the century”. After the wines have been bottled and sold or the other way round, as the case is in Bordeaux, these claims tend to be modified.

Who are the serious contenders for the title “The Greatest Vintage Ever”?

During the 19th century there were a number of vintages with a great reputation made from pre-phylloxera vines. These include the legendary “Comet vintage” 1811, 1864, 1865, 1870, 1893, 1895 and 1899. Most are too old for anyone now alive to have tasted them at their peak.
During the 20th century claims have been raised for the vintages 1900, 1921, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949 (by me), 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989 and 1990.
In the present century already three out the eight vintages produced – 2000, 2003 and 2005 – have been mentioned by an overly excited wine press as candidates for the title.

In the book “The 1,000 Finest Wines Ever Made” 1961 is the Bordeaux vintage mentioned most often, with 22 châteaux. 1945 is mentioned 19 times, 1947 16 times, 1982 14 times and 1959 13 times.

What is the definition of a great wine?

It is a wine that has an extra dimension giving you an unforgettable drinking experience – in other words, a “Wow!” effect.
It is a wine that has a long drinking span. It has to be good to drink young, but it must also be able to age for a long time without losing its attractiveness. A good vintage produces wines fulfilling these requirements.

A great vintage, however, is equally good in all major regions of Bordeaux, both on the left and right bank. It is also a vintage where something special was produced in all the different appellations, from the lowest Cru Bourgeois to the mightiest Premier Cru.

1961 fulfils these requirements better than any other vintage.
It was the vintage where the most incompetent winemaker just couldn’t make a poor wine and the wines drank very well at an early stage; in most cases they still do so to this very day. Some extremely impressive wines were produced in 1945, but these were mainly from the left bank and a large number of the wines had excessively high tannin levels, which made them increasingly dry as they aged.
1947 produced the most stunning wines on the right bank but many wines on the left bank had problems with volatile acidity.
1959 produced a number of wines that are at the same level and sometimes even a bit higher than the corresponding '61s, and some experienced wine critics like Michel Bettane prefer 1959 to 1961. But 1959 doesn't have the same consistent quality at all levels.
1982 undoubtedly produced many very impressive wines but I feel that the wines from the right bank lack structure and have not aged very well and only very few wines from Margaux and Médoc were a great success.
The twin vintages of 1989 and 1990 may come closest in overall quality, but it is too early to judge their ageing abilities yet.
The same obviously goes for the wines from this young century.

What made 1961 so special?

It was a very small crop, the smallest since the Second World War. This was partly due to coulure (cold weather at the time of flowering) and in some parts because of frost on the night between 30th and 31st of May, together reducing the yield per vine to about a third of the usual size at that time (which, compared to today’s harvests, seems miniscule). This concentrated the minerals and potency of the vine amongst the few remaining grapes and was the reason for the success of minor châteaux, which would normally produce much higher yields than would be good for their wines.

August and September were both hot and extremely dry. This drought caused the ripening to take longer than the usually mandated 100 days. The harvest was delayed until 22 September, but enjoyed perfect conditions.
Because of better cellaring techniques the wine-makers avoided the hard tannins of 1945 and the volatility of the 1947s.
The wines have a very deep colour, a seductive nose and full-bodied, concentrated mature fruitiness, with enough tannins and acidity to give the wines structure and freshness.

I arranged a major tasting of more than sixty 1961s in 1989 and all the wines were very good, even from minor châteaux or from more famous properties that had not produced anything worthwhile for a very long time and some that have not done it to this day.
I also arranged a tasting, together with Dr. Peter Baumann, of fifty wines in November 2001. I had expected a large number of these to now be over their zenith but was amazed to see that many had not seemed to age at all during these intervening 12 years. With very few exceptions they were still very much alive.

 

Wine Advocate #103
Feb 1996
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: 1994 - 2009 $7495-$14884
An estate only needs to produce a handful of wines such as the 1961 Petrus to garner an international following. Not surprisingly, the 1961 Petrus was pure perfection. This fully mature wine possesses a port-like richness (reminiscent of the 1947 Petrus and 1947 Cheval Blanc). The color revealed considerable amber and garnet, but the wine is crammed with viscous, thick, over-ripe black-cherry, mocha-tinged fruit flavors. Extremely full-bodied, with huge amounts of glycerin and alcohol, this unctuously-textured, thick wine makes for an awesome mouthful. Imagine a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup laced with layers of coffee and cherry, and encased in a shell of Valrhona chocolate! 

The notes for this wine are taken from the description of Series III - Flight D of the 1995 tasting conducted in Munich by Helga and Hardy Rodenstock. Many years after the tasting from which this note derives allegations were made concerning the authenticity of old and rare bottles of wine sold by Hardy Rodenstock to collectors around the world. The matter has been the subject of numerous articles, litigation and at least one book. Mr. Parker believes that the wines served to him at this tasting were authentic so this note and the others from that specific tasting continue to be posted on eRobertParker.com.


JP

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"Well, well, well, 1961 Petrus again, my second bottle in three months. That officially constitutes a good year, and while this was ‘freakishly great’ per the Dapper one, it didn’t quite hit the highest of high notes for me like the bottle I had with The Rev a couple months prior. Don’t get me wrong, this was still best wines of my life category, ie 97 points and up. This bottle had that rich and creamy Pomerol nose with plums, honey and sex all over the house. It was delicious and rich, chewy and deep purple, with traces of game and lots of exotic things happening that only happen abroad (97)."

1y 1m ago

99p
 Ray Thomsen, Wine Writer (Switzerland)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"This is a wine that is considered of many to be one of wine of the century, in the glass it was entirely liquid perfection. It is deep, warm, animal, Plum like and occurs in many ways as great Vintage Port., blackcurrant, fermented black beans. Virility, strength and bodily harmony, a youngster, but experienced and almost everything is open for analysis and enjoyment. It is a wine at its peak right now, Extremely full-bodied, with huge amounts of glycerin and alcohol."

2y 7m ago

98p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"Regardless of bottle variation one thing is sure; this wine is a true homage to one of the greatest ladies in the history of Bordeaux – Madame Edmonde Loubat. She became a shareholder of Château Pétrus in 1925. After progressively buying out the shares from the Societé Civile du Château Pétrus, she became the sole proprietor of Pétrus in 1945. By the time of her death in 1961, she had created a status for Pétrus as the world’s most desirable wine.

Our best experience of the 1961 Pétrus was just recently in May 2013 when it was able to reveal its true magnitude. The Pétrus was tasted together with a collection of legends: Cheval Blanc 1947, Lafleur 1947, Romanée-Conti 1943, Mouton-Rothschild 1945, Margaux 1961 and Pétrus 1955. It stood out from its rivals with its incredible power and elegance. A clear, moderately intense, brick red colour. A stunningly pronounced nose which expanded in the glass. Complex aromas of cigar, cedar wood, smoke, dark chocolate, black berries, teak and black olives. Such a youthful nose for its age. The taste has an extremely broad mouth-feel with elegant lively acidity, supple mellow tannins and ripe dark fruit aromas. A savoury finish with immense richness. A silky wine with an amazingly youthful style. This wine has scored a full 100 points eleven times since we first tasted this wine in 1989.
"

2y 9m ago

100p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"PETRUS 1961
In Geneva, a bottle of this let us down. Tonight, it was everything it should be. A truly great wine, it flirts with perfection. It is a rich wine, astonishingly youthful, still not at its apogee, with some similarities to the port-like richness of the ’47 vintage for Petrus and Cheval Blanc. Raspberry, truffles and chocolate on the nose captivate you in a thrilling mélange. It is sweet, rich, polished, bountiful, yet it still manages to be abundant with elegance, passionate yet with finesse. It perfumes your mouth with fruit, as it coats and virtually seduces the palate with a parade of quintessential Petrus Merlot-laced flavors on a seemingly endless finish. This wine romances, dazzles and charms in equal measure. 100 Points
"

2y 9m ago

100p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"Only the second time that I have given 100 points to Pétrus 1961. Or should I say the first as previous 100 point experience was rather 101 point one! After tens of bottles that I have shared of Pétrus 1961s, it is fair to notice that the bottle variations are immense. So far none of the bottles have been below 93 point experiences. "

4y 9m ago

99p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Pétrus 1961  ( Château Pétrus )

"Gorgeour 1959 La Mission Haut-Brion. First, I would like to correct a common misconception: Château La Mission Haut-Brion is not now, nor has it ever been, the number two wine from Château Haut-Brion; in fact, the two estates were never even under the same ownership until the Dillons acquired it in 1983.The 1959 is not far behind the 1961 in quality. It has provided enjoyment for a long time and will continue to do so for a good many years."

4y 10m ago

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