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2015 Petrus

2015 Petrus

98-100 RP

Availability:

Critic Reviews

When I asked winemaker Olivier Berrouet about his greatest challenges in 2015, he replied, “Our biggest challenge is to avoid all the temptations you can have in the vineyard and in the cellar. You can go too far. With our job, if you go too far, you can’t go back. Little steps are best.” His comments eloquently explain the immense pressure of handling a seemingly pressure-less vintage like 2015 in Pomerol. But, with the devil in all the many details that are involved in the pursuit of wine perfection, if anyone has that devil by the horns, it is this incredibly talented young winemaker.

Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Petrus (bottled in mid-July 2017) opens in its own time to reveal crushed black cherries, warm plums, mulberries and cedar chest suggestions with touches of anise, lavender, beef drippings and wild thyme plus a waft of crushed rocks. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the palate with generous, exuberant, wonderfully layered red, black and perfumed blue fruits contrasted beautifully by very ripe, very fine-grained and very firm tannins plus an ethereal line of seamless acid, finishing long and minerally. Olivier Berrouet and his team have knocked it out of the park in 2015. Look for this Pétrus to build and unfold over the next 20 years and confidently cellar this legend for 40+ years.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 100 RP
There is so much going on with Petrus in 2015 that you should just pull up a chair and relax, don’t expect to be going anywhere soon. Aromatic persistency keeps reaching in, pulling you further alongside. There is a soft quality to the tannins that allows the black fruit to be both juicy and sweet. High alcohol is balanced by freshness - a pH of 3.5 is relatively rare on these sticky clay soils - unleashing waves of flavour, including bergamot, smoky tea, black olives and rich cherry. The persistency is crazy - I had to get my notes back out two or three times to take down additional flavours because it just kept giving something more. And it makes you smile! What more do you want? Bottled in June, but will not be sent out to customers until April 2018. 50% new oak. Drinking Window 2023 - 2040.

Decanter | 100 DEC
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.

James Suckling | 100 JS
This is like drinking liquid black currants and blackberries. The wine has great intensity and richness from the superbly generous Merlot. The wood aging shows as a hint in the background, with the bold black fruit and ample acidity dominating. Drink from 2026.

Wine Enthusiast | 100 WE
The 2015 Chateau Petrus is undoubtedly one of the gems in the vintage and will probably merit a perfect score in another decade. Even so, it has the sexy, exotic nature of the vintage front and center and offers a huge perfume of black currants, kirsch liqueur, Asian spices, and incense. As always, this beauty is 100% Merlot that was brought up in 50% new wood in 2015. A wine that opens up beautifully with time in the glass, it has beautiful mid-palate depth, sweet, sweet tannins, and voluptuous yet weightless texture that needs to be tasted to be believed. Hide bottles for 4-5 years, count yourself lucky, and enjoy over the following 3-4 decades.

Jeb Dunnuck | 99 JD
The 2015 Petrus has a fresh, detailed yet quite understated bouquet of black fruit, pencil box, smoke and light tarry aromas - very succinct and classy. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, and linear and quite strict in style, which might explain why I knocked off a point compared to my note in January 2018. But it gently builds in intensity to a grippy, graphite-infused finish with that subtle Japanese seaweed tincture I observed previously. Classic in style, this will benefit from several years in bottle. Excellent. Tasted blind at the Southwold 2015 Bordeaux tasting.

Vinous Media | 98+ VM
Reserved right now, but there is a well of blackberry, boysenberry and plum coulis flavors in reserve here, infused with black tea, anise and singed spice elements. Remarkably silky, elegant and extremely long, this unfurls ever so slowly in the glass, beguiling with texture and fruit purity. Best from 2022 through 2042. 2,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 96 WS

Wine Details for 2015 Petrus

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 Merlot : With 266,000 hectares (657,300 acres) of vines spanning the planet, Merlot lands in 2nd place among all grape varietals planted in the world. Despite its inability to crack the top spot for most popular grape, it has remained under the radar performing as silent majority in the hallowed soils of its own origin, Bordeaux. Merlot is the most widely cultivated grape varietal in France, dominating the southwest regions, most notably, the Right bank. It is the body, mind and soul of some of the most collectable, influential and revered wines in the world.

Merlot has never had its time in the spotlight; nevertheless, has been quietly supplying the backbone for some of the most prominent wines in the Right Back since the 18th century. Merlot first appeared in French literature in 1784 when a French official claimed the wines produced from ‘Merlau’ (local French Dialect for Merlot) were the finest of its time. It is speculated that the name Merlot is derived from the French word, ‘Merle,’ meaning black bird. Whether the namesake is due to its small, deep black colored berries or the little black birds which had an affinity for the early ripening berries is still unknown. French researchers, using complex DNA fingerprinting technology (first developed by UC Davis) have concluded that Merlot is the offspring of French varietals, Cabernet Franc and Magdeleine Noire.

The Noble Bordeaux Varietal of Merlot thrives in its natural host on the Right Bank of the Gironde estuary, where the terroir is composed of rich clay, sand, limestone and iron deposits; and excels in temperate, Mediterranean, maritime climates. It dominates the vineyards of Pomerol and Saint Emilion, which have bred wines of unrivaled quality such as Chateau Petrus and Le Pin (both 100% Merlot). Merlot eventually infiltrated the Medoc (Left Bank) where it found similar and hospitable soils; ultimately influencing the wines produced there by helping to “soften” the varietals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Its first appearance in America was documented in 1850 when French nurseryman, Antoine Delmas, brought French vines to the Santa Clara Valley.

Its inhabitance would inevitably spread to terroir hotspots around the world, such as Italy, Spain, Argentina, South Africa and nearly every wine-producing country in the world. The great and world-renowned Christian 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.”

Merlot may not dwell in the spotlight, nor possess savvy titles like its relative, Cabernet Sauvignon but rather, is the blue-collar of grape varieties, laboring to produce some of the greatest wines in the world. Though Merlot was traditionally considered a secondary and blending varietal (which it is quite successful at) conversely, is quite sustainable and capable on its own. From the illustrious Chateau Petrus in Pomerol, to Pahlmeyer in the famed Napa Valley and on to the Tuscan Legend, Masseto, all of which are composed of 100% Merlot, prove the importance and resilience of the Merlot grape varietal. The magic of Merlot has entranced the world with its subtle, soft, sensuous texture and adaptability as well also its aptitude for producing wines that can age effortlessly for decades.

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.


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!
Subregion Right Bank
Appellation Pomerol

Overview

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.

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