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News

JEAN-CLAUDE BERROUET WINS WINEMAKERS’ WINEMAKER AWARD 2018

Jean-Claude Berrouet, the former winemaker at Château Petrus, has been named as the 2018 recipient of the Winemakers’ Winemaker award at a ceremony during ProWein.

Born in Bordeaux in 1942, Berrouet made his name working at Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, where he was the head winemaker at estates such as Trotanoy, Petrus and also Dominus in California.

Born into the world of wine (Château Samion in Lalande-de-Pomerol is the family estate), as a child Berrouet remembers always being given a small drop of wine in his soup by his grandfather, who was doubtless keen to ensure that the young Jean-Claude would grow up loving wine.

Berrouet joined Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix in 1964, working at Château Magdelaine (an estate he greatly misses since it was merged with Belair-Monange) Trotanoy and Petrus, where he would remain for the next 44 years.

Renowned for his handling of Merlot in particular, Berrouet was also called into to help launch the Moueix family’s Californian venture, Dominus, in 1982, helping to produce its first vintage in 1983.

Although he officially retired in 2007, Berrouet has not stopped making wine by any means.

One of his sons, Olivier, has taken over his mantle as director of winemaking at Château Petrus, but with his other son, Jean-François, he not only manages Samion and Montagne-St-Emilion estate Vieux Château St-André, but has been consulting at various properties around the world including in Israel, Argentina and China.

In 2012 he was hired as the consultant winemaker at Twomey Cellars in California, where he was reunited with an old colleague from his days at Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, Daniel Baron.

Unable to collect his award at a ceremony at ProWein, where more than 100 distinguished members of the wine trade gathered to celebrate his achievement, Berrouet nonetheless commented: “Recognition from an institution formed of experts such as the MWs, who are recognised the world over, is special indeed.

“For my own part, it is important with regards the wines I have always tried to make throughout my career; that is to say wines that are classic, traditional and made with respect to the region.

“Alone we are not too remarkable, so thank you as well to the wines that have become so well known.”

Petrus plans distribution change - Chateau Pétrus is set for a distribution shakeup, forming a new company as sole distributor.

 

Pétrus is owned by Jean-Francois Moueix (and now his children), while Ets Jean-Pierre Moueix is owned by his brother Christian Moueix. Since 2009 Pétrus has been run entirely separately from the Ets JP Moueix properties.

Bordeaux 2011 picture of Chateau Petrus

The Pomerol estate has appointed Christophe Jacquemin Sablon – who worked as commercial director at Ets JP Moueix for five years, and before that at Louis Roederer champagnes – to head a new company, yet to be named, which will be the sole distributor of Pétrus.

It will be independent of Duclot, the négociant company also owned by Jean-Francois and Jean Moueix. Jacquemin has been at Pétrus since March 2012.

The 2012 vintage is the last year that Ets JP Moueix will have the exclusivity on Pétrus for the export sales, although the chateau will continue to be sold en primeur – it is thought through a larger number of négociants. Some French private customers have always received small amounts of the wine, and will continue to do so.

‘We want to identify where Pétrus will be best to be sold, to ensure that customers are able to get hold of it, and to drink it. We don’t want it concentrated in a few hands,’ Jacquemin Sablon told decanter.com.

by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

 

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History

Christian Mouiex has a problem that many of the world's winemakers would love to be burdened with. The demand for his wines is so huge that collectors are prepared to pay almost anything to get even one bottle. The high price leads to high quality expectations. This often means disappointment, because just like the other top wines of the world, Pétrus is often drunk much too young, when its taste is still raw and undeveloped. Pétrus requires at least 20 years to mature.

Pétrus' fame is to a large extent attributable to Madame Edmond Loubat. She bought the estate piecemeal between 1925 and 1945. Madame Loubat had strong faith in the quality of her wines and asked higher prices than any other producer in Pomerol.

 

Jean-Pierre Mouiex was the perfect partner for her. Mouiex was a négociant from Libourne and owned some properties himself. Mouiex was successful in marketing Pétrus and catapulted it into global fame. Pétrus became introduced in the United States, and the wine was served at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1947. Madame Loubat later gifted a case of Pétrus to Buckingham Palace for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

After the 1956 winter frost that devastated the grape vines of Bordeaux region and killed ⅔ of the Pétrus vineyard, Madame Loubat decided not to replant but regraft new vines on top of existing survivor rootstocks (the process recépage previously untried in the region[ with success, ensuring that the vines’ average age remained high and establishing a tradition that has since been followed. Until this year, Pétrus was sold off in cask, as well as in bottle, which came to an end.

When Madame Loubat died in 1961, Mouiex became part-owner in Pétrus. Today, the Mouiex family owns most of it. The son of Jean-Pierre Mouiex, Christian, has been responsible for winemaking at Pétrus since 1970, supported by Jean-Claude Berrouet. Berrouet retired formally from winemaking in 2007, but with the help of his son, Jean-François Berrouet, he has continued work as technical consultant for wineries in Israel, Argentina, China and France. The Petrus Estate, as of 2010, it now run by Jean Pierre Moueix's son Jean-François Moueix, and Berrouet's other son, Olivier Berrouet, is Director of Winemaking.

 

The very word Petrus creates a "frisson" unlike any other wine name - and the liquid in the glass induces a dreamlike silence as its enormous, almost roasted flavour envelops the palate. The sheer exoticism of this revered vineyard, where clay combines with Merlot to make something wildly heady, needs to be experienced by everyone once in their life (preferably many more times!). Petrus does not taste like other Bordeaux - it is not "classic" but stupendously original, full of oriental spice box flavours which unfold endlessly. A one-off wine that inhabits a world of its own and, of course, a rarity due to its small (11.5 hectares) size. Serena Sutcliffe, MW

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Vineyards

The myth surrounding the Pétrus vineyard is firstly due to its unique terroir The 11.5-hectare vineyard of Petrus is situated on the top of the highest elevation on the Pomerol plateau and is planted to 100% Merlot grapes. The location of Petrus allows for natural drainage of the vineyard, which is especially important due to the high percentage of iron-rich clay in the soil. The soil and terroir of Petrus are unique.

The average age of the vines exceed 45 years. The estate was among the first in Bordeaux to implement green-harvesting or éclaircissage as a way to lower crop yields and raise the quality of the remaining grapes. Grapes are hand harvested over two to three days,  although the vineyard’s small size permits harvesting to be completed in one day if necessary. The grapes are picked only in the afternoon, when the morning dew has evaporated, so as not to risk even the slightest dilution of quality.

The blue clay subsoils of Petrus are what make the wines of Petrus so special. The patch of blue clay on the Pomerol plateau is about 13 hectares in total. Petrus is distinctive as its entire vineyard is right on top of the clay, while neighboring vineyards only have a portion of blue clay in their soil.

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Winemaking

The grapes are picked by hand, destemmed, and since 2009 an optical sorter has replaced hand sorting. They are gently crushed before vinification in concrete vats. Maceration usually lasts 15 to 21 days to extract only the softest and most mature tannins from the skins and the pits. Half the juice is gently pumped over in the morning and the other half in the evening. After maceration the juice goes into another vat for the malo-lactic fermentation.

The must is lightly pressed and sometimes the press wine is incorporated into the final blend. After the malo-lactic fermentation is complete each vat is tasted and those which are good enough are blended together before the wine is aged in barrels. Only 50% of the French oak barrels are new. When these are received from the coopers they are filled with water for 15 days in order to get rid of the most aggressive tannins. The barrels are closed with a silicon bung from the very start in order to protect the wine from contact with oxygen. There is no ullage. The wines are racked every three months. The aging varies in length from one vintage to another depending on the quality of the grapes.

 

Drinking Pétrus may be an unforgettable experience. We have 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, we 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.

When Jean-Claude Berrouet retired as technical director after 44 vintages in 2007 he was replaced by Eric Murisasco. Berrouet’s son Olivier Berrouet was appointed the new winemaker, and is in training to become technical director as Christian Moueix stated in 2008 his intention to distance himself from Pétrus, limiting his role to that of a consultant.

Soil: dark clay Production area: 12ha Grape varieties: 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. 

Average age of vines: 42-45 years Harvest method: hand picked

Winemaking: fermentations take place in thermo-regulated concrete tanks Ageing: 100% new oak barrels for 18-20 months 

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Inside information

The producers of the 2004 film Sideways had originally wanted the character Miles Raymond’s treasure bottle to be a Pétrus, which ultimately became a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc. Moueix stated, “Quite a few film scripts cross my desk and I vaguely recall Sideways asking for permission to use Pétrus. I am afraid that at that time, I found the script unexciting and declined”.

 

PÉTRUS AND CHAMPAGNE TO LEAD CHRISTIE’S HK SALE

A 57 bottle vertical of Pétrus and prestige Champagne cuvées from Salon, Krug, Gosset and Selosse will lead Christie’s next Hong Kong sale this month.

Champagne-BottlesTaking place on 21 March, the sale features “outstanding” lots of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsatian, Rhône and Italian wines.

One of the centrepieces of the sale will be Right Bank super star Pétrus, with a 57 bottle lot spanning 1950-2009 expected to fetch HK$1.1 to HK$1.7 million.

Also strongly represented is Champagne with bottles and magnums of 1990 Cristal, 1996 Bollinger R.D., Philipponnat’s Clos des Goisses, Krug, Salon, Dom Pérignon rosé and Jacques Selosse all up for sale.

Burgundy will be strongly represented by large consignments of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Henri Jayer and other domains, while Zind-Humbrecht, Weinbach and Trimbach will fly the flag for Alsace.

Top lots for Italy include mixed cases of Giusto di Notri from Tua Rita and Redigaffi 2006 from the same estate.

4th March, 2015 by Rupert Millar

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2 different wines with 90 vintages

People Show all

  • Jean-Claude Berrouet

    Winemaker 1964-2007
    A wine should tell you the story of the place it came from. Innovation and change are important, but there should be limits on techniques that a winemaker can use and still have a wine classified as a Bordeaux. If I'm a conductor playing Mozart, can I add notes to it? Pretentious men do this. As long as I can make a living doing what I do, I will resist the move to a standard taste.
  • Jeff Leve

    Writer
    In the best vintages, the texture is other worldly. It has a richness and viscosity, as well as silk and velvet feel that no other Bordeaux wine can offer.

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Wine Moments

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

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  21 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  21 wines 

The 1961 Petrus is a legendary wine, although bottles are now extremely scarce and there are plenty of fakes. Upon close examination of the bottle and cork, with evidence of provenance and verifying with Jean-Claude Berrouet, this is the real deal. It is quite deep in color with just a touch of turbidity, though nothing to fret about. What distinguishes the 1961s is a marine-like trait and this is certainly evident here – a whiff of a cold northerly sea, touches of kelp and crustaceans. It has bewildering delineation. The palate is quite structured, perhaps more so than the 1964 Petrus, quite “serious” and masculine, almost Left Bank in style thanks to its cedar-infused black fruit. With aeration, shade becomes light. There are more red fruit in evidence, all with wondrous detail on the sweet finish that suggests a discrete Cabernet Franc influence. It is an awesome Pomerol, not perfect, certainly of its time. To repeat a phrase I used previously: ‘tis a wine of staggering beauty

1m 14d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Harlan Estate 2018 / 100 points / Classy earth, oak and bay-leaf character on the nose, together with dark fruit, such as currants and blackberries. Forest flowers, too. Full-to medium-bodied, linear and tight with coolness and freshness. Mint and spearmint to the dark fruit. Lasts a long time. Such balance and intensity. Tight now, but great energy and length this year. Incredibly sophisticated and seductive. A joy to taste now, but try in 2025.

2m 4d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  3 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  27 wines 

Petrus 2015 / The aromas to this are a reference for Pomerol with truffles, black olives, black licorice and dark fruit. Even brown sugar. Full-bodied, layered and multi-dimensional. Chocolate underlines the character above. The perfect tannin texture, length and balance make you think you're dreaming. All about harmony and beauty. Love to taste it now but needs at least five or six years. 100p

8m 5d ago

 Mario Sculatti / Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Wine Maker (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  19 wines 

Tasting wines from 1980's like Sassicaia 1985, Mouton 1985, Hill of Grace 1989, Opus One 1984 etc.

9m 19d ago

 Gagan Sharma / Sommelier, Sommelier (India)  tasted  12 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  14 wines 

What a honor to serve five flights of Petrus from 1952 to 2015.

11m 11d ago

 Julia Harding MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  27 wines 

Telmo Rodríguez Lanzaga 2009 / Bushvine Tempranillo, Graciano and Garnacha from the village of Lanciego. Planted at 500-600 m on a sandstone plateau. Flat shallow soils, stony, calcareous and silty textured. Low fertility and low water retention capacity. Some fruit from own biodynamically farmed vineyard, some bought in. 40,000 bottles. Fermented with native yeasts in cement tanks, matured 14 months in big oak casks and smaller barrels. Bottled June 2012.
Intensely dark crimson with black core. Smells immediately sweeter and riper and more intense than the LZ, with some oak sweetness. Very dark fruited and more spice too. Even with that extra fruit intensity there is still a graphite/mineral dimension. On the palate, the tannins are dense but somehow silky at the same time, giving a wonderfully dry finish, the same effect as 70% dark chocolate but with a different flavour. Still pretty closed up on the palate, dark and savoury and firmly mineral. Super-dry, long finish. So much more to come. Stunning wine. A little more luscious than the 2010 Alto Lanzaga. (JH)

11m 16d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1966 Petrus is often overshadowed by the 1961 and 1964, however, it remains a great vintage that has held up well. It has a much more reserved earthier bouquet than those aforementioned vintages, more black than red fruit infused with clove, autumn leaves and mahogany bureau. It is beautifully defined and noble, offering ash-like/fireside hearth scents with aeration. The palate is extremely well balanced with fine tannin that are slightly drier and more rigid than the 1964. That said, this bottle demonstrates more flesh than the previous one a couple of years back, a gentle sprinkling of white pepper towards the statesmanlike finish. This benefits from time in the glass, stretching its arms to reveal a deeper, slightly gripper Petrus than initially observed. Outstanding. Tasted at the Petrus dinner at Hide restaurant in London.

11m 18d ago

 Stephen Tanzer, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Petrus 1961 / Deep red-ruby color with an amber edge. Utterly singular perfumed, high-pitched aromas of loganberry, cherry and flowers. An awesomely concentrated wine of huge power and depth. Chewy with extract and wonderfully sweet and rich. Shows the strong iron note I often get from merlot on the Pomerol plateau, along with superripe suggestions of cherry liqueur and dark chocolate. Finishes with great grip and length, and a bit less sweetness than the middle palate would suggest. Drink now through 2020.

1y 16d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  51 wines 

1998 Château Cheval Blanc; Ruby, pink rim, floral, violets, mint, layered, again impossible to describe fully. Close to perfect balance, playfull and stil relaxed acidity. tannins soft, stunning texture, mouthwatering, just ads and ads with air, incredible length, never ending, I keep raising the score on this as it keeps unlocking more and more secrets. I wish I had cases of this one. 98


Served blind, I was sure it was Petrus, as was most of the table. Wine of the evening!

1y 6m ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Pétrus . In a tasting of  28 wines 

Roussean Chambertin 1990 / Bright ruby – quite a deep colour actually. Delightfully shaded. Pungent and definitely with lots of tertiary aromas. This has crossed the Rubicon into something serious! Fireworks and explosions. Great breadth and richness. Long and kerpow. So complex and beautfully balanced, Struck match quality. Fine tannins on the finish but lots of pleasure. Tense and exciting.

1y 6m ago

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