Château Petrus Gaia
Château Petrus is one of the most celebrated and distinguished wines in the world. It is therefore difficult to comprehend that the wine was, until recently, relatively cheap and difficult to sell. It was not until the middle of the 20th century that its reputation was finally cemented, making it a globally sought-after wine and a blue-chip collectable.
Prior to the current success of Petrus, the estate was owned by the Arnaud family for almost two hundred years. It was only after Madame Loubat, who had progressively acquired pieces of the property since 1925, became the sole owner at the end of World War II that the Château’s wines began to flourish on the world market.
During these early years of Château Petrus’ reinvention, Loubat worked in partnership with Jean-Pierre Moueix, a successful négociant. Their accomplishments can be attributed to shrewd management, increased levels of green-harvesting and precise vinification. In addition, as the vineyard is a miniscule 12 hectares, significant price increases became justifiable when heavy demand outstretched the tiny supply.
After Madame Loubat’s passing in 1961, her family sold Moueix their remaining shares leaving Jean-Pierre as the sole owner of the estate vineyards and modestly proportioned Château. Today, following the passing of Jean-Pierre, the estate is managed by his son Jean-Francois, whilst his brother Christian oversees the vineyard, vinification, marketing, and distribution of the wines.
Château Petrus continues to remain a breed apart from surrounding estates and maintains its status as one of the world’s most coveted wines. It possesses Pomerol’s unctuous, almost chewy quality of richness and power but with a rare depth of colour, clarity of flavor and structured pedigree that is unlike anything else.
Château Petrus’s outstanding location on a plateau in the eastern portion of Pomerol is complemented by the high percentage of iron-rich clay in the soil (far more than is contained in surrounding properties). The estate was among the first in Bordeaux to implement green-harvesting as a way to lower crop yields and raise the quality of the remaining grapes by concentrating their power and quality. This technique, combined with the minute area under vines (only 12 hectares), produces very small quantities of fruit and consequently wines of great expense.
Unusually, the wine is produced almost entirely from Merlot grapes. Prior to the 1960′s, up to 20% of Cabernet Franc was added to the blend but this was gradually abandoned by Loubat and Moueix in favour of a more distinct style. Fermentation and maceration takes place over 20 to 24 days, followed by up to 2 year’s ageing in 100% new oak barrels in order to fully integrate the flavours in the wines and allow for greater complexity.