We had the privilege to taste the component parts of Didier Cuvelier's flagship wine in February. It was fascinating to see the results after blending. It is much more structured and firm that the exotic barrel samples suggested. Spice, violets, decadent hedgerow fruit, toast, cigar smoke, vanilla and mineral notes leap from the glass. On the palate, this is big and opulent with ample nuanced mineral infused dark berry fruit, globs of glycerol and briar wood. The tannins are large-scale and caress the mouth with sweet purple fruit. This is certainly the least reserved of the Leoville estates!
The vineyards at Leoville Poyferre originally formed part of the great Leoville estate. Following the death of Marquis de la Cases, the vast property was split into three; the Marquis’ son Jean-Pierre took the third that is now Leoville Las Cases, the Marquis’ daughter, Jeanne’s share became what we know as Leoville Poyferre following her marriage to the Baron de Poyferre and the final third was auctioned off and purchased by Hugh Barton.
Today Didier Cuvelier holds the reigns. He has been responsible for the property’s renaissance, investing heavily to modernise the chai and replanting much of the estate’s Merlot plantings with his favoured Cabernet Sauvignon. Didier can come across rather unassuming, however, unlike other hosts who like impress themselves on tasters, this just isn’t his style. Once you start to engage Didier about his wines there no-one more passionate in Bordeaux.
Of all the Leoville estates, Poyferre produces the most perfumed and most exotic. There is a lushness and seductiveness to all Didier’s wines. Moulin Riche is produced from a separate plot of vines near to the Pauillac border.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.