This tasting was a unique opportunity to compare 4 vintages of the reputed, rare and expensive Petrus to four (4) 1er Crus Classés from the Médoc and Saint-Émilion. As you probably know, with recent inflation of fine wine prices, finding a bottle Petrus for less than $1000 has become impossible. Recent bottlings go anywhere betwen $1200 and $5000 per bottle. What should we expect from such a «Grand Vin»?
Petrus is a merlot dominated (95%) wine from the reputed district of Pomerol in the Libournais area of the right bank of Bordeaux.
@ Les Conseillers du Vin: in the usual blind tasting format, a group of 16 experienced tasters analysed four (4) vintages of Petrus compared to four (4) 1er Cru Classé from the same vintages. At this point one must remember that wines from the 80’s and early 90’s were not produced with grapes as ripe and concentrated as today’s more recent vintages (2000+). Wines from that era usually offer higher acidity and firmer tannins and tend to be fresher, leaner and more elegant.
Results: To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded to a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
Most of the participants agreed that the 87 Cheval Blanc was showing more evolution. The group’s favourites were Petrus 1995 (30 pts), Margaux 1994 (18pts) and Mouton Rothschild 1995 (14pts). In the fourth and fifth spots we find Petrus 88 (12 pts) and Petrus 94 (11 pts). When compared to the 1er crus classés, Petrus won three (3) of four (4) head to head matchups. Only Margaux 94 with 18 pts managed to beat Petrus 94 (11pts). Overall Petrus accumulated 55 points versus 43 points for the 1er crus classés.
Overall Petrus showed very well and was true to its consistent high quality reputation.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1-Château Cheval Blanc 1987 (Group score: 1 pt)
Orangy red colour. Showing obvious evolution. Lots of undergrowth and high acidity. Signs of a declining wine. Still drinkable but a bit thin. My rating: 87/100
2-Petrus 1987 (Group score: 2 pts)
When tasted last year the bottle was slightly corked. Very complex, still a bit of fruit with mineral and forest floor hints. Good balance and quite surprising for 87. Still fresh and at its peak. My rating: 90/100
3-Château Lafite Rothschild 1988 (Group Score: 10 pts)
Typical graphite/lead pencil Lafite nose. From a classic Bordeaux vintage: fresh acidity, medium weight with lovely evolution. Elegant with good length. Great wine! My rating: 92/100
4-Petrus 1988 (Group score: 12 pts)
Surprisingly not as evolved as the last bottle tasted in May 2015. Some graphite with hints of green pepper and forest floor. Surprising firmness (tannins) enhanced by fresh acidity. Medium body and length. Seems frozen in time. My rating: 91/100
5-Château Mouton Rothschild 1995 (Group score: 14 pts)
Good colour. Forest floor earthy tones, graphite with some berry fruit. Good structure with a hint of firmness. Some extract and tannins remaining. Should improve over the next 3 to 5 years. My rating: 92/100
6-Petrus 1995 (Group score : 30 pts)
By far the preferred wine of the tasting. Evolved complex nose: hints of mushrooms, forest floor with graphite/mineral overtones. Still some fruit, ripe flavours, good extract and balance. Medium to full bodied with firm tannins for more aging (5 to 10 years). My rating: 93+/100
7-Château Margaux 1994 (Group score: 18 pts)
A surprising 94! True to the vintage, this 94 Margaux shows firm tannins with some remaining extract. The nose displays floral, graphite and terroir scents. With good structure and balance it should continue to improve over the next 3 to 5 years. My rating: 91/100
8-Petrus 1994 (Group score: 11 pts)
My favourite wine of the tasting. Lovely evolved nose with graphite and forest floor scents. Good balance, lovely elegance with the typical firmness of the 94 vintage. Medium bodied, a classic Bordeaux that should remain at its peak for a few (5 to 8) more years. My rating: 94/100