Investment Tips - Bordeaux - 14. September 2023

Legendary Petrus: Invest in a great, mature vintage with exciting potential

Invest in one of the great vintages from recent times, from a vintage with decimated production.

Iconic Petrus - An Exclusive Pomerol Gem

There is no doubt that Petrus stands as the great lighthouse of Pomerol. In fact, Petrus has cemented its dominance throughout Bordeaux and the rest of the world. And while Bordeaux wines rarely make their way to RareWine Invest (not because of quality, but because of price), there are exceptions. And Pomerol is a big part of those exceptions because Pomerol is home to famous wines such as Le Pin, Chateau Latour, and Petrus. 

Read more about Pomerol in the article: Pomerol Is Synonymous With The Best Of Bordeaux

Although Petrus' history dates back to 1750, when Château Gazin sold vineyards to the property, it wasn't until 1878 that Petrus and Pomerol took the spotlight when Petrus won gold at the World Exhibition in Paris.

Until 1929, the property had belonged to the Arnaud family, but they chose to sell Petrus to Madame Edmond Loubat, who already owned smaller properties in Pomerol and the best restaurant in Libourne. Around the end of World War II, Loubat agreed with Jean-Pierre Moueix to help distribute and produce the wines.

Laubat was both quality-conscious and highly visionary. She was convinced that Petrus had the potential to be one of the best wines in France - and she wanted to convince the world of this. For the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, she sent a case of Petrus to Buckingham Palace. And this is said to have delighted the monarch.

Upon Madame Loubat's death, her niece briefly took control of the estate, but in 1964 Moueix took over ownership of Petrus. And if the Moueix name sounds familiar, it is probably because Christian Moueix (son of Jean-Pierre) established the world-renowned Dominus estate in Napa Valley. The Moueix family still owns most of Petrus, although in 2016, they sold 20% of the property to a Colombian investor named Alejandro Santo Domingo for the tidy sum of 200 million Euros.

NOTE: Archive photo – not the available bottles NOTE: Archive photo – not the available bottles

Petrus: Sexy As An Old Sports Car

Bordeaux may not be quite what it used to be, and its reputation in the professional wine world has taken a hit. At the same time, Bordeaux wine trading activity has been on a downward trend for many years, accounting for "only" 34.5% of the total trade by value on the UK wine exchange, Liv-ex, in 2022. In comparison, Champagne accounted for only 13.7%.

But why look in this direction as a wine investor? Quite simply because few things beat Bordeaux at its best. And it is precisely in this category that the 1998 Petrus belongs. Just as an old, classic Porsche will always be sexy, the same is valid here.

1998 Petrus Among The Greats

Petrus is just Petrus, and although this name promises towering quality, even at Petrus, there is a difference between vintages, and the 1998 vintage was one of the really great ones.

25 Petrus vintages (including 1998) have been produced since 1998. 15 of these have been tasted by Wine Advocate Vinous and James Suckling, considered the most relevant critics. James Suckling has not tasted the last ten. With 98 points from Wine Advocate, 99 points from Vinous, and 100 points from Suckling, the 1998 vintage lands at 99 points on average between the three. This is among the 15 vintages rated by all three, surpassed only by four vintages - vintages that have all received 2 x 100 points*. So, the 1998 vintage is one of the greats.

It is also worth noting that in 2018, Vinous' Neal Martin gave this wine 98 points. In 2019, however, this was revised upwards to 99 points, which is the current Vinous score.

*2020, 2018, 2015 and 2010

Beware Of Investing In Old Wine. It Turns Into Vinegar something we often hear. And while it is true that all wine eventually turns to vinegar, this is not something you as an investor should worry about with investment-grade wines. Some types of wine can last an extremely long time, while other types, which may not have the same cellar potential, will also last an extremely long time if the quality is high enough. Petrus falls into both categories. And despite the 1998 vintage having been on the market for about 22 years, Wine Advocate estimates it is perfectly mature until 2040, while Vinous estimates 2060.

Old wine is good wine if it is the right wine.

Decimated 1998 Production

In Bordeaux, the great wines are produced on a much larger scale than in Burgundy, for example, because the classification system is different. Most importantly, the classification follows the producer or the chateau, not the vineyard, so there has been more freedom to expand production. Still, Petrus is both notoriously famous and infamous for producing the wine of the same name on a very small scale. Depending on the source, it is said that 30-50,000 bottles of Petrus are produced in regular, good vintages. However, according to Wine Advocate, in 1998, 40% less than usual was produced, which inherently means that we are dealing with a powerful vintage, but we have been cheated out of 40% of it.

NOTE: Archive photo – not the available bottles NOTE: Archive photo – not the available bottles

How Petrus Has Performed

The great Bordeaux wines are not known for being the most giant price rockets. However, the last five vintages that have been on the market for five years* have not been boring and, according to Liv-ex, have been good, solid investments that have returned an average of 45.3% over the last five years. This corresponds to an average annual return of just under 8%.

In the long term, Petrus has also proven to be rock solid and resilient in times of crisis. Since its release, according to Liv-ex, the 1998 vintage has generated an average annual return of just under 8% per year - for 23 years!

And this is despite the fact that the price of this particular vintage has fallen by 22.8% since its peak last summer, according to Liv-ex.

*Year 2008-2017

RareWine Invest's Opinion

Iconic, legendary, cult. Superlatives are a common theme for one of the world's most famous wines, and this is undoubtedly the case here. Petrus is not just a celebrated brand that has enjoyed hype - no, Petrus has a proud history of being the lighthouse of Pomerol and has been introducing the wine world to sublime Merlot from Bordeaux for generations.

Regarding investment, Bordeaux is a category we deal with very little and urge caution, but Petrus is one of the very few wines we look towards - partly due to the very limited supply.

With the 1998 vintage, you get one of the great vintages of recent times, which, despite its age, still has a long life ahead of it. Not much beats Bordeaux at its best, and this is close to being Bordeaux at its very best.

If you want an icon in your portfolio that has been a rock-solid and sound investment for over 20 years, or if you dream of owning a great Petrus, now is the time to act.

A good Petrus with age, in perfect condition, and at a price suitable for investment is far from commonplace.

Invest In 1998 Petrus

Contact us via the contact form at the bottom of the page if you want to know more about your investment options or order the wines directly through the form.

1998Petrus750LOOSE€ 3.350
*All prices are in EUR ex. customs duty, tax, and VAT for delivery to a bonded warehouse. Prices including customs duty, tax and VAT can be sent on request. The wines are only sold in whole cases unless otherwise specified and the price is per bottle. Minimum order size € 2,500. Assumes a total minimum investment of € 10,000. Prices may have changed since release of this article. Reservations are made for errors.

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