The most expensive pee in France – Petrus

(In English below)P1020942

De tous les vins du Bordelais (pour ne pas dire du monde), Pétrus reste la référence. Le domaine Petrus tire son nom du lieu dit « Petrus ». Son histoire est récente et pourtant ce vin est déjà une légende. Tout au long du XIX ème siècle le domaine appartient à la famille Arnaud. Dès 1925, une libournaise, Mme Loubat, prend des parts dans la propriété. Une vingtaine d’années plus tard elle en est l’unique propriétaire. N’admettant ni ne comprenant que les vins de Médoc se vendent plus chers que les Pomerol et en particulier le sien, elle fait tout pour tirer parti d’un terroir si prometteur. En quelques décennies le mythe naît. En 1961, Mme Lacoste et M. Lignac, nièce et neveu de Mme Loubat, héritent du domaine.Saint Emilion - Bouteilles Cave Belair

Quelques années plus tard, M. Lignac cède ses parts au négociant libournais et partenaire de Pétrus Jean-Pierre Moueix, qui a beaucoup œuvré pour la renommée internationale du cru (notamment en le faisant connaître aux Kennedy). Depuis 2001, le domaine appartient à son fils Jean-François Moueix et c’est Christian Moueix, son autre fils, qui en assure la gestion.

Pétrus est planté à 95% de Merlot. On tient ici à produire un vin exceptionnel chaque année, et lorsque la qualité de la récolte est décevante (comme en 1991), on préfère ne pas produire de vin…

Pétrus est l’un des seuls bordeaux à ne pas ajouter l’usuelle dénomination de Château, car il n’y avait pas de maison digne de ce nom sur sur le domaine. Je doute que la construction des nouveaux bâtiments ne change cette tradition…IMG_6209

Of all the wines of Bordeaux (if not the world), Petrus remains the benchmark. The property is named after the area where it stands. Its history is recent and yet this wine is already a legend. Throughout the nineteenth century the estate belonged to the Arnaud family. In 1925, Ms. Loubat buys shares in the property. Twenty years later she is the sole owner. Not admitting that the wines from Médoc are more expensive than Pomerol and especially her own, she does everything to take advantage of a land so promising. Over a few decades the myth was born. In 1961, Mrs Lacoste and Mr. Lignac, niece and nephew of Mrs. Loubat inherit the estate.

A few years later, Mr. Lignac sells his shares to the legendary Negociant and partner of Petrus Jean-Pierre Moueix, who did much for the international reputation of the property (including making it known to the Kennedys). Since 2001, the estate belongs to his son Jean-Francois Moueix and it is Christian Moueix, his other son, who manages it.

Petrus is one of the only Bordeaux that does not add the usual château mention because there was no proper building on property for a long time. I doubt that the construction of the new chais will change the tradition …

Pétrus is 95% Merlot. 

We rarely drink Petrus at home because of its astronomical price. But once a year, my great uncle will serve some for his birthday. His longest running joke is: “Don’t you go take a piss! It’s the most expensive pee in France today”. I know, it’s really bad. But he is old and we love him very much… and so we laugh…every year…again…and again…and again…

41 comments

  1. Your grandfather is cool. I like him. He and I would probably recycle ours right before our bladders exploded. Beautiful pic of the grapes. They almost come out of my monitor. If I cross my eyes, they really pop out!

  2. i love your wine posts. my daughter spent time in the jura and loire this summer-she is a young organic winemaker living in melbourne and santa rosa california. she gave me a good called Wine and War by Don & petie Kladstrup. it’s a lovely little book. you might enjoy it.

    • It is worth it in the way a Bentley is worth it. What I mean is that it is indeed a fantastic thing, but one should wonder if the thrill is worth that price. I would love to one day own a Bentley, but I am very content with my VW Golf:)

    • 450? Was it an out of business sale? At this price (if you’re sure they didn’t change the label) you should get one!:)

  3. A lovely post, both for the info/history and for the final paragraph. I can’t now afford Petrus, or any of the other ‘greats’, either but I can say this referring to your first paragraph: after a few years of being seduced by the ‘marketing’ of wines from all over the world, I now rarely buy anything other than French; even my wife, who would make no claim to being a connoisseur or knowing much about them, will say on first taste “This is French, isn’t it”, or “This isn’t French, is it?”, and she’s pretty much always right.

  4. Gareth Jones has the following anecdote to delight us re Petrus and the artist Francis Bacon on his post of 11 December 2012:
    (http://www.garethjonesfood.com/7060/gunton-arms-for-fire-deer-and-art/) … Quote: NB: My passing reference to the painter Francis Bacon was a story relayed to me by a mutual friend. Bacon was one of those privileged and so wealthy enough to have an annual allocation of Petrus direct from the winemakers on release – I think he might have been sent 6 cases even. He once both delighted and shocked a dinner party at his friend’s house in Long Melford, at which my informant was present at table, by making the classic peasant dish of Soupe Vin Rouge. You can imagine the rest – two bottles of Petrus were poured by the artist into the pan to create the world’s most exclusive Soupe Vin Rouge that evening.

  5. I wonder if I can get some out here. The only wine store carrying French imports closed two years ago. Hmmmm. Now I’m on a quest.

    • For the primeur this year (that’s when the châteaux sell the wine before it’s even ready to the professional distributors at much lower rates) it went for around 1300€ a bottle. Ridiculous I know:) I’d much rather use the money for a nice meal…

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