1973 La Fleur-Pétrus


The latest in the series of “Don’t dismiss a poor vintage ‘til you’ve tasted it first” is a bottle of 1973 La Fleur-Pétrus that was poured blind at the excellent Lorne restaurant in London in January. Several years earlier, at the inaugural “Grouse Club”, Lord Bruce had left us dumbfounded by a 1973 La Fleur-Pétrus from his legendary cellar. This bottle left us equally lost for words.

The 1973 shows modest bricking on the rim, but impeccable provenance ensures that there is no turbidity. The bouquet is fully mature and yet remains fresh, remnants of red fruit commingling with iron filings and subtle gravelly scents, so elegant and refined. In fact, the 1973 gains a little chutzpah with aeration in the glass but always…mild-mannered. The palate has a sublime balance, a nigh-perfect line of acidity, such pretty red fruit mixed with sous-bois and tobacco that you immediately fall for its charms. When its identity was unveiled, we gasped not at the esteemed château but rather at the fact that it was born in a derided vintage. I have no idea what Jean-Pierre Moueix’s winemaker, Jean-Claude Berrouet, did in 1973, apart from waving a magic wand and turning potential frogs into princesses. 92/Drink 2024-2034.

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