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Wine Critic Reviews for 1979 Petrus
A rather hard wine, with a firm backbone of silky tannins and sweet black olive, vanilla and berry aromas and flavors.--Pétrus vertical. Best from 1992 through 1995.
Wine Spectator | 90 WS
Wine Spectator | 90 WS
Wine Details on 1979 Petrus
|Producer||Chateau Petrus: What is today, perhaps one of the most recognized and iconic names in Pomerol, Bordeaux and the entire world of wine, once had a humble beginning. To think that Chateau Petrus was once considered unworthy of the dinner table and was thought to be merely a luncheon claret is baffling. Though the estate dates back to the 1750’s, making it one of the earliest established vineyards in Pomerol, it is also recognized as a “relatively new” producer as the modern era facilitated its elevation to elite status and helped stamp the Petrus name on every single wine platform in the world as being one of the most infamous producers in the history of winemaking. |
Despite being carved from Chateau Gazin, one of the most successful properties in Pomerol at the time, Petrus struggled to gain acceptance and worth during the mid-19th century. The Right Bank was studded with fantastic producers and Petrus was just simply unable to contend for a place at the dinner table let alone a status among Pomerol’s finest. Following the phylloxera attack that nearly devastated all of Bordeaux, the minute holdings of Petrus were replanted to mostly Merlot vines. This devastating event ended up becoming a blessing in disguise as the Chateau would begin to rise in fame, being recognized as a stunning wine with unique qualities. By the late 1800’s, it was considered the third best wine in Pomerol, behind only Vieux Chateau Certan and Chateau Trotanoy, which were the first and second best wines in the appellation, respectively.
With its quality elevated and its fame rising, by 1887 Petrus had become recognized as the finest wine in Pomerol, and selling for more than any other wine in the appellation, and equivalent to that of Medoc Second Growths. The following years would continue to flourish for the estate and in 1940 the Loubat family who then owned the property would come into a contract with Jean-Pierre Mouiex; internationally renowned and had a visionary ideal of the potential of the Merlot grape in the best terroir. The collaboration of Mouiex and the Loubat family, who were also well versed in the Bordeaux trade, prospered and would be credited for elevating Petrus to the unequaled status that it very much enjoys today.
Their collective vision was that Petrus was the greatest producer in the entire appellation, and worthy of demanding top dollar prices that would rival their competitive and esteemed neighbors. They were to prove this ideal by charging prices as high as the top Bordeaux from the Medoc. By 1978 Chateau Petrus was the most expensive wine in the entire Right Bank, selling for the same amount as the famous First Growths. Why shouldn’t it… as this wine had become an enigma; its main varietal of Merlot (and 100% Merlot as of 2010) was known to be delicate and soft textured and unable to age quite as long as other varietals. However, Mouiex inclined to state that when the Merlot grape is planted on the proper terroir and harvested at its peak it produces a wine that is characterized as voluptuous, generous and distinctive. It just so happens that Petrus rests on 11.5 hectares of the 20-hectare Pomerol Plateau which is composed of a unique, blue clay soil that is 40 million years old.
This unique terroir allows the Merlot of Petrus to age effortlessly for 50 plus years, while some of the greatest vintages demand 20-30 years for them to mature and display their true essence. This is the reason collectors will spend thousands of dollars for a single bottle. It is a feat that was accomplished by a team that very much understood Bordeaux varietals, while respecting the unique terroir for which they were granted. Petrus is one of the longest lived Bordeaux wines and is recognized worldwide. The estate’s success has inspired the entire Right Bank to adopt Merlot, which is now widely used in the appellation today. It is interesting, yet incredibly impressive that Chateau Petrus went from a luncheon claret to one of the most celebrated wines in the world. The wines are elusive, highly sought after and demand patience, but for those who can add Petrus to their collection should be considered extremely fortunate, especially given there is a mere 2,500 cases produced annually.
|Region||Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice. |
The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
|Country||France: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world. |
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
|Type of Wine||Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red|
|Varietal||Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region. |
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
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