Château La Fleur-Pétrus
You will notice in Pomerol that a number of châteaux have similar sounding and often very confusing names; sometimes these names are fusions, one château bringing together the names of two others. Chateau Lafleur, Château Gazin and Château Lafleur-Gazin are obvious examples of course, and Petrus and Château La Fleur-Pétrus, the object of my attention in this profile, add another layer. This is largely because the names of the châteaux reflect the names of the lieux-dits where they are located, and so if you have a vineyard straddling the Lafleur and Petrus lieux-dits the correct name for your château becomes immediately obvious. When researching the history of Pomerol, however, it is not only the names of the châteaux that seem to repeat themselves. The names of the proprietors often also seem very familiar. This is certainly the case with Château La Fleur-Pétrus, the origins of which lie with the Constant family in the 19th century.
If the name Constant seems familiar it is because the family held tenure of one of the appellation’s leading estate’s, Château Clinet, for nearly a century. The family acquired the Clinet vines when Elie Désiré Constant, the son of a local négociant named Bernard Constant and one Marie Dubois, married Catherine Henriette Arnaud, an event I have already described in my Château Clinet profile. Catherine Arnaud (born 1811) was the only daughter of Antoine Arnaud and Jeanne Sarein, the former also a négociant who owned vines around the Pomerol plateau. Catherine inherited her parents vines, and these therefore came into the possession of Elie Désiré Constant.
Catherine and Elie had six children, although two of them – Bernard (born 1832) and Ursule (born 1835) – died in infancy. Of the surviving male offspring the eldest was Antoine Hippolyte Constant (born 1833), and it was he that eventually inherited the Clinet estate from his parents. It was later this century that the Pétrus-Lafleur (as it was known) estate seems to have come into being, the plot of vines so named being cleaved off from the Clinet estate and passing into the ownership of Antoine’s sister Marie-Céline Constant (born 1837) and Louis Auguste Octave Pineau (1833 – 1915), who she married in 1858. I originally thought that this section of Antoine’s vineyard had been given to the new husband as a dowry upon the event of the wedding, but the estate is absent from the 1868 Cocks et Féret, and the 1874 edition (the first time the estate appears in the Bordeaux bible) shows it was still in Antoine’s possession at that time, and so it must have come to Marie-Céline and her husband at some later date.