Few months ago, I stopped by one of my most favourite spots in St. Julien – Château Léoville Poyferré.
It’s a long drive to St Julien from the city but again (around 1.5 hr today with traffic), is all worth it in this lovely little town with Chez Meme (anyone love local food needs to go there!) being one of the most authentic local restaurant I had to stop by each time around the area.
St Julien is the smallest of the “Big Four” Médoc communes (with the rest : St. Estèphe, Pauillac and Margaux) . The soil is gravelly and finer than Pauillac, without the iron content which gives Pauillac its distinction. At their very best they combine Margaux elegance and refinement with Pauillac power and substance. Elegance, harmony and great balance and weight with hints of cassis and cedar can easily summed up most St Juliens I think.
When I stepped into the property of Château Léoville Poyferré, I was greeted by Anne Cuvelier and Didier Cuvelier, the propriétaire.
Let me go a step backwards just in case if you really want to look back into the history of the Chateau. It is an interesting stories between the 3 Léoville : Léoville-Barton, Château Léoville-Las Cases and Château Léoville Poyferré. If you do, you would have to go all the way back to 1638 which in fact, shared with Chateau Léoville Las Cases and Léoville Barton. The Domaine was originally owned by Jean de Moytié, a member of the Bordeaux Parliament, it was one of the first chateaux in the Medoc to produce wine along with Chateau Margaux and La Tour de Saint-Lambert, which we know as today as Chateau Latour. Through marriages, the estate ended up as part of the de Gascq family. Alexandre de Gascq renamed the domaine “Mont-Moytié “as Léoville.
It was until 1840, the property was divided into what we know as Château Léoville Las Cases and Château Léoville Poyferré today when Pierre Jean de Lascases, the oldest son received a share, which became Château Léoville Las Cases. His sister, Jeanne, passed on her share to her daughter, wife of Baron Jean-Marie Poyferré de Cerès, and owning the land of which known as Léoville Poyferre today. Despite the fact that the vineyards was separated between the family since then, the Chateaux are still connected with the same car park today, standing at the entrance of the Léoville (which is exactly in the middle of Château Léoville Las Cases and Château Léoville Poyferré with Château Léoville Baron cross the road), perhaps you would be able to imagine the tight relationship of the families back then.
The modern era of the Domaine only comes not more than 100 years ago when Château Léoville Poyferré bought by a negocant – the Cuvelier family (who also own Château Le Crock) in 1921, yet it was not until the 1970s, when Didier Cuvelier took control at the Château, the quality began to step up significantly. In the last 20 years, Didier, with the help of Michel Rolland since 1995, has turned Léoville Poyferré into one of St-Julien’s finest estates.
Léoville Poyferré traditionally produced the softest and most supple wine compare to its neighbors (Las cases and Baron), yet in the last decade the wines have definitely put on weight and body. “This is largely due to the grapes being harvested riper and later with more patience and because of the increased exposure to new oak in the maturation process.”, Didier Cuvelier explained during our vertical tasting of Poyferré.
I totally adore the newer style of the Poyferré despite you probably need just a little bit more patience to enjoy the wine completely for those vintages like the super-ripe 2009 year (it is very delicious already, but it’s a waste to drink any of the grand ones at this early stage. this is one of those 100 points wine worth waiting for! ).
Rich, powerful, elegant. Perfumed and sexy as I always says about Château Léoville Poyferré. A sensational wine!
Below are some shadings on their wall of fame :
Léoville Poyferré has 80 hectares of vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot(25%), Petit Verdot (8%) and Cabernet Franc (2%).
Now up with the best of the St-Juliens but still selling at non-scary prices. Léoville Poyferré is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.