Veteran Chateau Petrus winemaker Jean Claude Berrouet is retiring at the end of the 2007 vintage.
The technical director of Etablissements Moeuix and renowned winemaker of Petrus, Chateau Magdelaine and Chateau Trotanoy, Berrouet is leaving the Moueix group after 44 vintages. The 2007 will be his last.
He has worked at Petrus since 1963, when he joined Jean-Pierre Moueix, father of current owner Christian Moueix, at the age of 22.
Together they developed some of the world’s most famous and sought-after wines, always trying to bring out, as he told decanter.com, ‘a wine that is the true expression of its terroir, with real elegance and subtlety.’
He is famously disapproving of new-style Bordeaux wines, and last week told a Bordeaux local newspaper, ‘The wines with silicone implants get all the attention, which is a shame because they are often not the most attractive.’
Berrouet plans to continue working as a consultant for the Moueix family properties, and to concentrate on helping his son at Vieux Chateau Saint André in Montagne Saint Emilion.
He also has his own wine, Herri Mina, made in the tiny appellation of Irouléguy in the French Pyrenées, that had its first vintage in 2001. ‘I will be spending more time on this, and also I hope transferring some of the knowledge I have learnt through my professional life.’
His successor at Moueix has not yet been announced, although he or she will come from within the company itself, where Berrouet has mentored a number of young winemakers over the years.
‘I always have great respect for new ideas, and it’s time for me to make way for youth,’ he said.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux