Opaque purple-black colored, the 2016 Petrus slips effortlessly out of the glass with sanguine, seductive notes of kirsch, warm black plums, blueberry compote, red roses, Ceylon tea, violets, dark chocolate-covered cherries, licorice and cinnamon stick with wafts of iron ore, pencil lead, unsmoked cigars and crushed rocks. Full-bodied, profound and absolutely edifying on the palate, the densely packed, beautifully perfumed red and blue fruit layers possess a charge like defibrillators stimulating your heart to beat faster, each delivering achingly subtle floral and spice sparks, perfectly framed by very firm, very grainy tannins and bold freshness, finishing with incredible length and taking you to depths that extend to a provocative ferrous undercurrent. Stunning.
In 2016, Pétrus produced yet another epically great wine following straight on the heels of the perfect 2015, which was a very different expression. “This 2016 is a more classical representation of the vineyard especially in terms of its structure, acidity and balance,” Olivier Berrouet told me during my visit to taste the wine in October. “It didn’t show much in the early days, but now it is all coming together. It is a very classical vintage and a very great vintage. It is never a question of quantity—it is always a question of quality. I prefer to have less power than risk the balance of the wine. The temptation is always to go large. This might make a darker, richer wine—but you can lose the balance of the wine. You have to study the basic elements all the time. The numbers of Pétrus in 2015 are the same as in 2016, but the styles are totally different. I love the 2016—it is, typically, a wine that needs time to show all it has. It shows you more and more each time.”