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  • Time

    15:21 PM
  • Wine average?

    95 Tb
  • Country Ranking?

    86
  • Region Ranking?

    45
  • Popularity ranking?

    129

History

In the reign of Louis XIII, in 1638, a certain Jean de Moytié, Counsellor of the Bordeaux parliament and a noble bourgeois of the town, owned a beautifully sloped gravelly vineyard near the River. This place, as was the tradition, was named after its owner and thus became the “Mont-Moytié.”

Historically, the production of Mont-Moytié was among the first Médoc wines, along with the “Château de Margaux”, the “Tour de Saint-Lambert” or the “Château de La Fitte” in Pauillac and the “Château de Calon”, in Saint-Estèphe, which were all established before the period of civil war known as La Fronde (1648-1653.)

These were the first estates to appear in the Médoc parishes, which were later to become commune appellations.

 

The domain remains part of the Maison de Moytié for a century, and then falls to the Maison de Gascq by marriage. This family was very powerful under Louis XV, counting among it members of the Bordeaux parliament. Antoine, first president of the Chamber of la Tournelle, was owner of a Margaux property which was to become Château Palmer. His brother, Alexandre, married the great-granddaughter of Jean de Moytié and thus became owner of their family domain in 1740. Preferring the more earthy pleasures and the ideas of the physiocrats of the time, Alexandre was more at home in his cellars than in the Palace corridors.

Full of ambition for his property, Alexandre de Gascq renamed Mont-Moytié as Léoville (or Lionville), after his first estate, “a model property” located on the right bank.

 

So Alexandre de Gascq was aiming to make Léoville a model estate, producing the best Médoc wine. He planted smaller grape varieties, trellising the rows with pinewood. He had winemaking receptacles built in his new cellar and the free- run wine was aged in barrels disinfected with sulphur, and then racked.

Château Léoville was also surrounded by beautiful, fashionable gardens and impressive outbuildings.

When Alexandre de Gascq died, after 35 years of acquisitions and planting, the domain of Léoville in Saint-Julien had become the biggest in the Médoc, stretching over 120 hectares (300 acres).

 

Alexandre de Gascq's heirs luckily conserved the estate intact despite heavy death duty. From 1775 onwards, however, the wines of Léoville were sold under four different family labels : Lacaze, d'Abadie, Chevalier and Monbalon. Two of these were old winegrowing families : the president of Abadie ran the barony of Beychevelle for a while, and the Chevalier family owned part of the noble house of Gassies vineyard in  Margaux.

More at ease with the sword than the robe, the marquis of “Lascaze” followed the Bourbons into exile in 1793. His share of the domain was naturally sold as national property in 1794 (it was later acquired by Hugh Barton). The rest of the family managed to maintain itself at the head of the property until the Restoration of the monarchy.

 

In 1826, Charles X, then in power, introduced protectionist “wicked laws”. The English riposted by boycotting the fine wines of Bordeaux and it was in this context of economic depression in the wine industry that Hugh Barton took over the Chevalier and Monbalon estates. The remainder of the property, still in the hands of the Lascase heir's descendants, represented three quarters of the original Léoville vineyard.

In 1840 an equitable division of both the vineyard and land was agreed upon. The eldest son, Pierre Jean de Lascases, received a share, which was to become the original property of Château Léoville Lascase.

His sister, Jeanne, passed on her share to her daughter, wife of Baron Jean-Marie Poyferré de Cerès, from a noble house in Armagnac. A typical Gasconny name, Poyferré (point ferré) originally meant a place on a stony road where it was necessary for horses and vehicles to be shod with iron.

On the occasion of this 1840 division, the label Léoville-D'Abadie had already been replaced by that of the Baron de Poyferré. The buildings of Château Léoville Poyferré and Léoville Lascase were divided into two parts as they are today. This is a unique situation in the Médoc and indeed in the Bordeaux area.

 

After gaining the honours of the imperial classification in 1855, the Baron of Poyferré fought courageously through the first “war” against oidium that lasted until 1863. After a decade of poor quality, low yields, Jean-Marie Poyferré and his wife were finally forced to sell Léoville Poyferré. The Lalande and Erlanger families, well-known bankers and wine brokers, purchased the estate in 1865.

At this time, many chateaus were falling out of the hands of the Nobility and into the hands of the Bordeaux wine merchants, known as the “Chartrons”. Poyferré was sold for one million francs, representing four years' production (based on averages before the attacks of illness in the Médoc vineyards - 2 casks or 18 hectolitres per hectare). This was a sound investment for Lalande and Erlanger as, once the oidium was dealt with, the great properties were able to make excellent fine wines again.

From 1866, Armand Lalande, who was related to the Lawtons, an age-old family of wine brokers, presided over the destiny of the domain for twenty years.

 

After the oidium came the phylloxera. In 1879 this louse began infesting the vines in Saint-Julien, and then, to cap it all, around 1885, mildew (or brown rot) settled in the vineyards.

The Bordeaux vineyards paid a high price indeed for the international activities of the port, the handling and transport of agricultural merchandise and the exchanges of plants and viticultural practices. These three illnesses, that had thus crossed the Atlantic from America, hit successive owners in three waves over a period of sixty years. Fortunately, Léoville Poyferré came out of this battle carrying its head high.

In the capable hands of the Bordeaux wine merchants, Poyferré benefited from the opportunities and financial security of the famous “Place de Bordeaux” throughout this difficult period of illnesses in the vineyards.

This system, by which the wine merchants and the properties took it in turns to dominate the market, generated an essential stability that maintained the good reputation of the Léoville Poyferré label from 1865 to 1920.

 

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Vineyards

Between Margaux and Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde Estuary, Saint-Julien is a small appellation of 920 hectares.
As far as the eye can see, the land is covered with pebbles that naturally regulate soil temperature. Gravel, sand and clay are the other components of this geological alchemy, the result of sedimentary deposits by the Garonne in the Quaternary period. The vineyards of the appellation stretch over gravelly ridges that have been finely chiseled by erosion and designed to promote excellent drainage. Man could not have done better.

 

In the tertiary era, the Aquitaine basin held a warm, shallow sea with salt-water lagoons and lakes. Over fifty million years, the compacted remains of evolving salt water and fresh water creatures and plants mingled with the sand and clay to form a variably compact rock (calcareous rock formation).

Layers thus formed, making up the tertiary substratum of the Médoc. In the quaternary era, these limestone layers were to be greatly deformed and broken up by the formation of the Pyrenees.

The cyclic climatic pulsations of the second part of the quaternary era influenced the ebb and flow of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and the sea level, sculpting the Médoc landscape as we see it today.

During the last 800 000 years there have been seven complete climatic cycles i.e. alternating a glacial period and a temperate period (see table below). The first cycle occurred during the Günzian era, two in both the Mindel and Riss eras, and the last during the Würm era.

As for all the Classified Growths of the Médoc, the excellent gravel of the Château Léoville-Poyferré “terroir” was deposited during the two Mindelian glaciary debacles.

 

The cyclic climatic pulsations of the second part of the quaternary era influenced the ebb and flow of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers and the sea level, sculpting the Médoc landscape as we see it today.

During the last 800 000 years there have been seven complete climatic cycles i.e. alternating a glacial period and a temperate period (see table below). The first cycle occurred during the Günzian era, two in both the Mindel and Riss eras, and the last during the Würm era.

As for all the Classified Growths of the Médoc, the excellent gravel of the Château Léoville-Poyferré “terroir” was deposited during the two Mindelian glaciary debacles.

 

Nearer the river in Saint-Julien, the gravel from the Mindel II era suffered a stronger and more diverse erosion than that of the Mindel I type. During the Riss and Würm periods, the Mindel II mantle was split by the flow of the tributaries perpendicular to the river (creating braided channels).

These tributaries then filled up with soil deposits from the marshlands but remained important drainage channels, as did the Long, Juliac and Saint Julien brooks.

After this dissection from West to East during the Würm era, the formation of a canyon, now at the bottom of the Gironde River, provoked new erosion from North to South. The hillocks along the riverbank, main geological component of the land of Léoville Poyferré, were thus sculpted on all sides. Various types of gravelly soil then appeared as the water trickled down these slopes. At the same time, sandy-gravelly soils and rougher gravel migrated towards the marshes forming heaps of colluvium (soil displaced from its place of formation by gravity and water). Thanks to the diversified configuration of soils in Saint-Julien, the Médoc winegrower has a whole palette open to him. Each plot's “terroir” reflects a particular personality, according a true expression and typicity to the wines.

The incomparable complexity of the “grands vins” of Château Léoville Poyferré is the result of the extraordinary diversity of all these soil types. The property's vine plots stretch over all these great “terroirs” in the Saint-Julien Appellation.

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Winemaking

About three weeks before the harvest, Didier CUVELIER, Michel ROLLAND, Isabelle DAVIN (the château's own oenologist), Bruno CLENET (vine manager) and Didier THOMANN (cellar master) go over the whole vineyard, tasting berries to add their personal impressions to the data gathered through analyses.

 

At this time a careful study is made of the state of health of the grapes in each plot and a harvest plan is set up. During these weeks before and during picking these visual and tasting checks are carried out regularly. They are an essential complement to the sugar content/acidity and tannin/anthocyanin analyses performed in our own laboratory.

At Léoville Poyferré, the date to begin harvesting is decided jointly by the consultant oenologist and the technical team one week before the first bunch is cut.

Since 1994, the handpicked bunches are placed delicately in small crates for transport to the vinification cellar. The bunches are sorted by hand before de-stemming and are then sorted a second time mechanically and manually before crushing. Different plots and grape varieties are vatted separately in the 35 stainless steel vats.

 

Right from the start of the alcoholic fermentation we carry out short and frequent pumpovers from 6 a.m. to midnight.

These pumpovers are adapted to the character of each plot and each vintage. This approach of respecting the nature of the terroirs and the particular profile of each vintage will also influence the way in which the three to four week maceration is carried out. When the wines are run off after the maceration a certain hierarchy can be defined in the wines. The wines coming from the top terroirs, Château Léoville Poyferré, will undergo malolactic fermentation in new oak barrels. The wines from the terroir of Château Moulin Riche will be fermented in vats and then transferred into new and one-vintage barrels for ageing.

The second wine, Pavillon de Poyferré, will be aged in barrels having been used for one or two vintages.

 

The young and dynamic team at Léoville Poyferré are always on the lookout for new ways to perfect their products. The key word here is Quality, achieved through respect of the best traditions and the terroir. Nowadays of course this Quality implies a traceability and quality control procedure. The château possesses its own laboratory.

The rigour of the technical team reflects their will to bring Poyferré wines to their optimum, ensuring they express the typical character of their prestigious terroir, while remaining respectful of the environment.The village of Saint-Julien was the first in France to create a double wastewater treatment plant for both domestic and viticultural wastewater.

Moreover the château has its own wastewater treatment plant for viticultural waste only. For ecological and economical reasons the château has established a program for the introduction of solar panels.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Château Leoville Barton 2021 - 84% C. Sauvignon, 11% Merlot and 3% C. Franc. 13.12% alcohol. Full, intense redcurrants. Tobacco leaves and leather. Sappy, strong structure and backbone, vibrant, great complexity and length. Refined and sophisticated touch. Lingering finish. Excellent one. 93-94p.

1m 5d ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  7 wines 

2020  Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc / With the pop of grapefruit, white peach, lemon peel, flowers, orange rind and honeysuckle in the nose, and a creamy, sweet, fresh, juicy, slightly honeyed, lush, white peach and citrus finish, you have all the ingredients needed for a luscious, white Bordeaux wine. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris and 5% Semillon. 97  Pts

2m 4h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Editor of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  29 wines 

Lafleur 1950 / This was a fascinating bottle. It was in fine form,  and the level was top-shoulder. Decanted only 45 minutes. Light and feeble colour. Exposed and very seductive, fragrant, candied sweet bouquet. Flawless and silky, but also with a firm backbone of minerals. Rich and soft wine with drying fruit that echoes chocolate and coffee. Has lots of complexity, but requires fast drinking. Long and remaining at the end. Sensational, old-style refined Lafleur. 

2m 20d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

3m 8d ago

 Matthieu Bordes / Château Lagrange, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  1 wines 

Third time that I taste blind this 2012 with two different provenance and this bottle is close to the 1st one without any comparison of the really disapointed second expérience I had with Poyferré 2012. Dark, deep, ripe and powerful... a wonderful wine on this challenging vintage.

5m 23d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  213 wines 

The 2019 vintage was tasted under pandemic conditions in spring 2020. At that time, the samples were sent to Essen and tasted within 48 hours after arrival. Now the vintage has been bottled and it is possible to double check the impressions just a year and half later. Overall the quality was excellent, proving the excellent style of the vintage. Some wines were performing better than during the primeur tastings, however most of the wines confirmed the quality already on show in spring 2020. As there are still samples coming in, there will be more tastings over the coming days and I will publish a second set of wines shortly before Christmas and in January some "late arrivals".

8m 9d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  56 wines 

Bordeaux 2020 Vintage - Château Smith Haut Lafitte 2020- lots of aromatic blackcurrants and black cherries on the nose, powerful on the palate with a strong backbone, big concentration, multilayered and with great length. Long, long finish. Impressive effort. 96-97p.

1y 1m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  38 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 2020 / Ruby. Fruit driven, cassis, anise, some spices nose, blackberries, intensely scented, almost transparent yet such depth. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, smooth and detailed, layered, anise, liquorice, deep, long. Superb freshness to it. Such energy. Pauillac is not the place that shines the most in 2020, but this one does. 97-99

1y 2m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  153 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage - part two

1y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Léoville Poyferré . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 


2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

1y 3m ago

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