Jean-Claude Berrouet is the 2018 recipient of the Winemaker’s Winemaker Award from the Institute of Masters of Wine. Berrouet is best known for his work at Château Pétrus, in Pomerol, and for the large portfolio of Right Bank wines he made for the négociant business JP Moueix. In addition, many of the MW winemakers and past winners of the award voted for him in recognition of his mentoring role to many young winemakers—Berrouet estimates that close to 500 came to intern with him during his long career in Bordeaux. Many of them—including Alvaro Palacios, Peter Sisseck, Michael Brajkovich and Daniel Baron, to name a few—went on to create some of the most famous wines in the world.
Berrouet shared his humor with those who came to apprentice with him, along with his humility, his patience in explaining the intricacies of extraction and parcel selection and his attention to detail. His long career in Pomerol began in 1964, when the region was still recovering from the devastating frosts of 1956—in fact, he witnessed them first hand, as he grew up in Lalande de Pomerol, at his family’s Château Samion. By the time he retired from his post at Pétrus, his son Olivier was ready to take his role there; meanwhile, his other son, Jean-François, has taken over winemaking for the Berrouet family wines and has joined Jean-Claude in his consulting business. They work together on projects in California (Twomey), Israel, Argentina, Spain, Portugal and China. Always with a twinkle in his eye, Berrouet will be on hand at Pétrus during en primeur week, looking on while his son Olivier presents the new vintage.
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