The appellation Pomerol has attracted the appetite of amateurs during the online auction which ended on 29th August. Let’s discuss this world-famous appellation, and more particularly a cru which is starting to draw attention to it, Château La Fleur Petrus.
On the scale of Bordeaux, Pomerol is simply microscopic: it covers 813 hectares which represents barely 0.7% of the vines planted in the region. The fabulous terroir of the appellation, identified in Roman times, was later exploited by the order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knight’s Hospitaller. Pomerol was a popular stopover for Santiago de Compostela pilgrims, who found comfort in these generous wines. Even though history was not kind to Pomerol (from the Hundred Years’ War to the phylloxera), this appellation owes its recent fame – after the Second World War – to the dynamism of several families from Corrèze and Belgium. The vineyard is indeed located on a plateau, which descends by successive terraces until the Vallée de l’Isle (confluence of the Dordogne). If the soil of the vineyard is composed of more or less compact gravels, with a variable proportion of clay and sand. One of the peculiarities of the appellation is the presence of iron oxides in the subsoil which give the wines a distinctive character as one can find in the illustrious Petrus or La Conseillante.
Pomerol is also special, because of the relatively small size of the properties, with much smaller production volumes than those from the Médoc classified growths. This characteristic induces an effect of immediate rarity, even at the stage of the domain. Combined with the quality of the wines, this scarcity enhances the attractiveness of the appellation. And then came a myth, called Petrus, flagship of the domains exploited by the Moueix family. A myth that started in 1945, and which has seen its prestige grow over the years, as it was served at the wedding of future Queen Elizabeth II and at the White House table under the presidency of Kennedy. No official ranking (except for an attempt that fell into the oblivions of history) established the hierarchy of the Pomerol wines. But if we look at the market, Auctions regularly boast remarkable results for Pomerol wines. Petrus is the absolute blue chip and leads the ranking by far. It is one of those wines whose prices systematically increase, even in recent vintages or in lesser years. The last online auction, closed on 29th August, was no exception: Petrus 2006 sold for €1,986 (+26%), the 2007 reached €1,905 (+24%), the 2008 was auctioned €1,885 (+8%). In more recent vintages, the 2011 sold for €1,763 (5%). The very sought-after vintages such as 2005 or 2009, a bit above in terms of price, also have rising prices. Rated 100/100 by Robert Parker, the 2009 has passed the threshold of €3,000 (€3,040, +4%) on 29th August, while the 2005 went for €2,675 (+4% also).
Pomerol: La Fleur Petrus, an outsider
For a long time in the shadow of its illustrious neighbour, the Château La Fleur Petrus made a remarkable appearance on the auction scene during the sale of 29th August 2017. Obviously, the prices can’t be compared to those of Petrus, but there is a growing interest for this chateau, especially in recent vintages. Important fact to mention is that the vineyard of La Fleur Petrus, as its name suggests, is located near the chateaux Lafleur and Petrus. It is on one of the most qualitative terroirs of the appellation, on the plateau of Pomerol. Acquired by Jean-Pierre Moueix in 1953, the vineyard was expanded in 1995 with the purchase of an extra 4 hectares from Château Le Gay. The vines planted mainly with Merlot (80%) completed by 20% of Cabernet Franc, now cover an area of 18,7 hectares. Since 2008, the technical management of the domain is assured by Eric Murisasco, who succeeds to Jean-Claude Berrouet. The great vintages have a distinctive silky texture and a fabulous body, as well as an exceptional long finish. The rare presence of this wine at auction has attracted fans during the last online auction. A double-magnum of the superb 2010 vintage – marked 97/100 by Parker – rose to €1,459 (+30%). The 2005 has in the same sale crossed the threshold of €200 per bottle (€213, +11%). Good auctions were also recorded for the 2011 (€171, +13%) and the 1999 (€168, +10%). A wine to follow closely!
Among the other Pomerol wines auctioned on 29th August figure also Chateau l’Eglise Clinet 2005 (€438, +3%) and Trotanoy 2009 (€274, +6%). The latter was also present in 2010 double magnum and was auctioned €960 (+27%).
Thanks to its historical distribution in France, Belgium and the UK, faithful amateurs from those countries account for most bids. Yet, competition is increasing fiercely, especially from Hong Kong and mainland China, particularly for the most iconic vintages and bottles, pushing the prices up and progressively shifting the demand from traditional markets.
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