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Léoville Poyferré has 80 hectares of vineyards planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%), Petit Verdot (8%) and Cabernet Franc (2%).
Léoville Poyferré traditionally produced the softest and most supple wine of the 3 Léovilles, 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 and because of the increased exposure to new oak in the maturation process.
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.
Sara Lecompte Cuvelier, Managing Director, the conditions of an outstanding vintage
“This is my second vintage at the helm of our family’s property after my cousin Didier Cuvelier left for retirement. I was fortunate to begin in 2018 with an exceptional vintage, continuing in 2019 with another outstanding vintage.
Why an outstanding vintage? After Winter and Spring that were both a cool and humid, we were fortunate to have a Summer that was very hot and dry. This continued late into the season giving us the necessary time to harvest, picking each plot at optimum ripeness.
The profile of the 2019 vintage is one that is balanced, quite atypical, already very pleasant, a high level of tannins whilst being silky, a wonderful freshness, and persistent black fruit characteristics.”
Deleafing practice, Bruno Clenet, our Vineyard Manager
“Here at Chateau Léoville Poyferré we have been practicing, for a few years now, is double deleafing. For 2019, the advantage of this deleafing, on both sides of the rows, is to help the vine naturally resist to the peaks in temperature. An effect that was quite visible, as none of my plots weakened. Because the vines were not weakened, they continued their growing cycle regularly to reach optimal ripeness with thicker skins and therefore more matter in the vats. The qualitative factor is undeniable.”
Effortless harvest, Didier Thomann, our Cellar Master
“The 2019 harvest was relatively serene thanks to the healthy bunches of grapes and good weather conditions. For the second year running, we have treated the harvest with bio-protection, in order to reduce the sulphur additions to our wines and protect the must from oxidation. The pre-fermentation cold macerations allowed for a beautiful aromatic extraction, whilst the alcoholic fermentations allowed for a wonderful extraction and expression of the tannins. Vatting time lasted on average 30 days. The malolactic fermentations were carried out relatively well and the first tastings give us a glimpse of what is a promising future for this vintage.”
Summer in its essence, Isabelle Davin, our Chateau Oenologist
“A few words first about the blend of Chateau Leoville Poyferré 2019, which is composed 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot.
What marked the personality of this vintage? The thermal context: it was a little warmer than average and compounded by hydric stress. Although it was only moderate, it was present throughout the cycle.
In June and July, what were the consequences on our wine? A very good and early degradation of the vegetal aromas and a nice production of polyphenols. A similar phenomenon can be found in the 2018 or 2011 vintages.
In August and September there was a good development of the aromatic ripeness. Today, the wine expresses itself in a frank and fresh way, we also note a pretty accumulation of anthocyanins. Bringing us closer to the profiles of the 2010 and 2009 vintages.
What will also be remember from this water deficit, is that it allowed us to achieve an excellent maturity of polyphenols and of course a high sugar concentration. Today, when tasting, 2019 resembles a little to the 2009, in its solar side, its creamy side. The dip in temperatures from the beginning of the harvest confers an additional freshness. I think that the 2019 vintage is equipped with a splendid potential for ageing in bottle.”
BORDEAUX 2019 VINTAGE
When I was visiting Bordeaux early March, Corona was a threat on the horizon and France has been more concerned by a strike of the air traffic control. However, I was travelling to Bordeaux and had the chance to get some first insights to the 2019 vintage. I was very much looking forward to the “en primeur tastings” which were scheduled for March 26, 2020 but the tastings were cancelled mid-March. Immediately I contacted the different associations and wineries in Bordeaux and asked for samples.
The result was a small number of wines which arrived in Essen before the shutdown of France made shipments rather difficult. These first samples of the vintage 2019 were tasted under pristine conditions to assure a fair and equal assessment of all qualities. In fact, the samples proved right the opinion of some of Bordeaux’ leading figures. Bruno-Eugène Borie from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in a line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 und 2005.
Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, along with 2016, he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin from Château Mouton-Rothschild asses the vintage as rich and abundant in quality and also in quantity. After some smaller crops they came back to an average production.
Emmanuel Cruse from Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 yet preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. In fact, the start of this vintage was very positive. Enough precipitations during winter were retained by soils like chalk and clay. Vineyards on these water retaining soils had a huge advantage in the future growing period. With exception of a wet June, the vintage has taken advantage of a rather dry climatic condition, which prevented diseases in the vineyards to a huge extend. No chance for powdery or downy mildew. Even the heat waves were not really harming the vines as rain set in, always at the last moment but still early enough to prevent massive water stress and a slow-down of the maturity. The late physiological maturity brought a lot of alcohol, but the wines show more freshness as in the previous years.
Fabien Teitgen, Winemaker of Smith-Haut-Lafitte relates this freshness to the good acidity “due to cool night temperatures during the ripening period”. This fact is also good news for white wines. „They are the big surprise “, says Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier.
At Château Coutet in Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly were harvesting in three passes with a total of 19 harvesting days. They judge the conditions as rather ideal: “These climatic conditions have generated a harvest whose quality is indisputably present.” Same samples made their way to Essen and I have tasted them. Some more samples are announced and will hopefully arrive during the current week. There will be a weekly update of my tasting notes, whenever samples will arrive.
Unfortunately, 2019 arrives in a difficult time, the Corona virus puts the world in fear and makes trade more and more difficult. Trade berries and new customs duties create a difficult frame for this vintage. However, we should not forget one thing: there are wonderful 2019s waiting for us, wines with ageing potential and charm which will survive every crisis.