Why Is Petrus Wine So Expensive? [Plus 5 Cheaper Alternatives]

When my husband and I started dating, we bonded over a mutual love of wine. We quickly started collecting expensive bottles for special occasions and celebrations. We are always on the hunt for a new bottle for our collection, and we even make room in our budget to ensure we can enjoy our hobby. 

Recently, we started looking into what the best and most expensive wine is in the hopes that we can save up enough to enjoy an extra fancy bottle one day. I was shocked to see the price of a French wine known as Petrus and immediately had to do my research to find out why it’s so expensive. Keep reading to learn how expensive this wine can be, and why it has such a high price tag! 

The main reason why Petrus wine is so expensive is because of its rarity. It consists entirely of Merlot grapes grown in iron-rich clay soil, a unique factor that isn’t found in any other vineyard in the area!

The Petrus estate has been in the same location in France since the 18th century and they consistently produce higher quality wine on a much smaller scale. Knowing everything that goes into producing Petrus justifies paying top dollar! 

Petrus Wine Cost

You can find a single bottle for as low as $2,600 – $6,000, but this price is considered a bargain to many wine enthusiasts. At the auction, a case of one of the best years produced by Petrus can sell for upwards of $80,000.  

The most expensive Petrus ever sold at auction was a bottle of the 1961 vintage Petrus, which was expected to sell for between $50,000 and $90,000. Once the final bid was made, it officially sold for $144,000!

Those who search for this exceptional wine at the auction know what years to look out for – the better the year, the higher they’ll pay. The reason is that Petrus has such high standards, and they keep track of their best years so their customers know what to look for. 

Petrus Wine

If you’re on the hunt for a bottle of Petrus to add to your collection, you may need to prepare yourself to pay quite a bit of money.

Petrus, 2005$5,999.97
Chateau La Fleur, 2005$2,047
Chateau L’Evangile, 2005$396
Chateau Trotanoy, 2005$389
Chateau La Conseillante, 2005 $335
Dominus Estate, 2005$292

Where Does Petrus Wine Come From?

Petrus is a Bordeaux, France, wine estate located at the highest point in the Pomerol appellation near its eastern border to Saint-Émilion. Although the wines of Pomerol have never been classified, Petrus is widely regarded as the outstanding wine of the appellation.

While many vineyards in the region use a mix of grapes for their wine, Petrus is unique in its choice to only use one kind of grape. The winemakers believe that the iron-rich soil found on the vineyard is better suited to grow the Merlot grape variety than to any other grape. Since 2011, Petrus has exclusively grown Merlot grapes on their property. 

5 Reasons Petrus Wine Is So Expensive

It may seem outlandish to spend thousands of dollars on a single bottle of wine, but Petrus is a unique exception. There are many reasons that a wine like this would be so expensive, here are the top five reasons that add to the high cost. 

1. The Vineyard A Small Amount Per Year

There are only 2,500 cases of Petrus produced each year, which is only .0064% of the number of cases produced in all of Bordeaux per year. Because it is such a small operation, and only one kind of grape is grown on the property, there is only so much they can produce in a single year. 

grapes

Passionate wine enthusiasts are a big part of what has pushed the price of Petrus to continuously rise. Because there is a high demand for the wine, there is always a rush to buy what is produced, which is what has caused the price to continuously go up over the years.

2.The Vineyard Is Very Small

The Petrus Estate is very small in comparison to its fellow vineyards, only covering 28 acres. The average vineyard covers 125-250 acres, which can produce thousands and thousands of cases of wine per year.

Because of its size and the age of the Estate, Petrus is able to ensure their product gets the attention it needs in order to produce a quality product. Everything from the soil to the grapes themselves is carefully looked after year after year.

3.Protecting The Grapes Is Most Important

When it comes to producing wine, the quality of the grapes is most important. Petrus only grows Merlot grapes, which are dark blue grapes widely planted in the Bordeaux region of France.

At Petrus, the grapes are constantly watched over in case of heavy rains or too much sun. In the late 90s, the vineyard invested in plastic coverings to ensure the grapes are protected from the elements throughout harvest season. 

4.It Is The Only Wine Produced At The Vineyard

In most vineyards, the less desirable grapes are set aside for blends or other wines. At Petrus, the grapes that don’t turn into wine are disposed of instead of being utilized elsewhere. 

This goes back to the high standards of the vineyard and ensures that every bottle produced is of utmost quality. All of the grapes that eventually turn into wine are carefully selected, so while the price of the finished product is very high, you can always expect to get a high quality product.

5.The Best Years Are The Most Expensive

As with all wine, the taste can vary from year to year. The quality of soil, weather, and how the harvest turned out will affect how the wine tastes every year.

Wine enthusiasts know what years to look out for when they purchase this wine at auction. For instance, 12-bottle cases of 1989 and 1990 Petrus were sold for $79,000 at auction a few years ago. 

How Petrus Wine Is Made?

As mentioned above, Petrus only produces a small amount of wine per year – an average of 30,000 bottles. The grapes are harvested by hand over two to three days and always 100% destemmed before they make their way to the next step. 

After harvest, the grapes are gently crushed before the vinification can take place in temperature controlled concrete vats. Once the grapes begin the fermentation process, the juice is extracted and transferred to barrels where it will age for 18-20 months.

Once the wine is aged in barrels, it goes through a strict quality check. If the producers find that any of the wine isn’t up to their standards, they will reject the batch in the barrel.

What Does Petrus Taste Like?

Most wine enthusiasts will agree that Petrus is much better after aging for 15-20 years, and it will reach its peak maturity at 15-50 years. Once you open a bottle, it is best to let it decant for 2-4 hours to allow the wine to soften and open its perfume. 

Once you take your first taste of Petrus, you will notice its deep ruby color with tints of purple and violet. The soft velvet-like texture is accompanied by notes of truffles, dark cocoa, thyme, and plum. The wine only gets better the more you sip!

Where To Find Petrus Wine?

Petrus can be found through various websites, such as 1000corks.com and vinfolio.com, but it can also be found at your local Total Wine or liquor store. Because it has such a high price, you won’t be able to just walk into any store and find it sitting on a shelf, chances are it’s locked behind the counter to ensure it stays safe. 

Perhaps if you’re lucky enough, you’ll be invited to a dinner party where a bottle of Petrus will be opened in celebration!

5 Cheaper Alternatives To Petrus Wine

If you aren’t ready to pay thousands of dollars on a single bottle of wine, but still want to treat yourself to something nice, there are some great options for you. There is much debate among wine enthusiasts when it comes to alternatives to some of the most expensive wines on the market, but there are some that come quite close.

Most of these wines also come from Bordeaux, France, just like Petrus. It’s interesting to see the contrast in price amongst these wines compared to Petrus. 

6. Chateau La Fleur, 2005

As one of the more expensive wines on this list, Chateau La Fleur comes from one of the most renowned vineyards in Pomerol. The grapes used in this wine consist of 91% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, and 3% Petit Verdot. 

Chateau La Fleur must be aged at least 8-12 years to be considered vintage, and it reaches its peak maturity at 10-30 years aged. An earthy wine, La Fleur has notes of violet, truffle, and hints of licorice in its velvety texture.

7. Chateau L’Evangile, 2005

Located on 54 acres, Chateau L’Evangile is known for the truly stunning wine it produces. The vineyard consists of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, with a small section growing Cabernet Sauvignon that is also used in the blend.

Many wine enthusiasts refer to L’Evangile as an opulent experience, this wine is full-bodied, rich, and an elegant thing to behold. With rich notes of plum, chocolate, and a hint of floral, this wine is capable of aging beautifully for decades.

8. Chateau Trotanoy, 2005

Chateau Trotanoy is a much smaller vineyard than Petrus, sitting at only 17 acres in Bordeaux, France. The grapes grown at Trotanoy are a mix of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. 

Chateau Trotanoy is known for its deep color, with smooth and rich dark chocolate notes. If you are looking for a unique wine similar in flavor to Petrus, with a much lower price, Chateau Trotanoy may be the perfect wine.

9. Chateau La Conseillante , 2005

Nestled right next door to Chateau L’Evangile is the 30 acre vineyard known as Chateau La Conseillante. Using a mix of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, La Conseillante is known as one of the more harmonious and refined wines found in Pomerol.
La Conseillante reaches peak maturity between 10-35 years. Known for its silky taste and velvet texture, La Conseillante is a truly unique wine with notes of black raspberry, plumb, dark cherry, and chocolate.

10. Dominus Estate, 2005

vineyard

Dominus Estate is the only wine on our list that is not grown in Bordeaux. Located in Napa Valley, California, Dominus uses a unique blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot.

Many of the practices used to produce wine at Dominus are adopted from those similarly found in Bordeaux, which is why it is often compared to the other wines on our list. With notes of black fruit, tobacco, dark cherry, and thyme, this wine truly accentuates the purity of the wine.

Is Petrus Wine Worth The Money?

After learning all that goes into making a single bottle of Petrus, it makes complete sense why it would be so expensive. With Petrus, you will find that the quality will be consistent and guaranteed. 

Overall, it seems as if Petrus is worth it to those who can afford it. It may be a few years before my husband and I come across a bottle that we can afford, but when we do we can enjoy it knowing that it was worth the splurge.

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