1981 Petrus


Given my rather desultory score for the 1981 Petrus, a bottle that had a tincture of TCA, I was able to order a pristine bottle in London that had been acquired directly from the château, thereby giving me a chance to re-evaluate.

The 1981 has an initial burst of loveliness on the nose, as if this bottle was doing a little jig, delighted that this off-vintage had been selected. Wild strawberry mixes with light tobacco leaf and pencil shavings on the nose. The palate is lighter in style, as you would expect. It is finely balanced, though not backed up by a great deal of energy or heft. Indeed, it seems to struggle more in the glass after ten minutes, becoming more loose-knit and slightly acetic. Yet, this Petrus deserves applause in the context of the growing season. What is missing in terms of complexity and vigor is compensated in sheer drinkability and openness. Larger formats might be more interesting, though I would drink standard-size bottles in the near future. 88/Drink 2023-2030.

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