Leoville Poyferré

Wine Producers » Leoville Poyferré

Wine Name: Chateau Léoville Poyferré

Region: Médoc

Appellation: Saint-Julien

Classification: Second Growth

Average annual production: 20,000 cases

Grapes (Typical Blend): Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%), Cabernet Franc (2%), Petit Verdot (8%).

Made by: Didier Cuvelier

Owned by: Cuvelier Family

A little historyIntially part of Mont-Moytié as so named by Bordeaux parliament member, Jean de Moytié, Leoville Poyferré actually sits on land that was one of the first estates to make wine in the Medoc (along with Chateau Margaux & Latour, fine company if any dare say so). Moytié sold the estate to notorious Bordelais, Alexandre de Gasq who promptly renamed it Leoville & set about moving things forward.

And move forward he did: Leoville became renowned for being at the forefront of progressive vineyard management in Bordeaux, both pushing & adopting change. Vines were trellised, grape-size decreased & they started ageing the wine in oak barrels. These are perhaps all things we take for granted now, but at the time they were really very radical & new. This development drive, plus de Gasq’s penchant for snapping up land made the estate the biggest in Bordeaux, coming in at 200 hectares.

In 1840 the property was divided: Jean Pierre Lascases taking what came to be known as Leoville Las Cases & the other half to his sister, Jeanne, who was married to a certain Baron Poyferré, therefore becoming Leoville Poyferré. The proximity & set up of the 2 estate is such that they share a carpark – in fact even today you can kill two birds with one visitor’s stone, a rarity in Bordeaux as you might imagine!

Fast-forward to the 1920s & the Cuvelier family take over heralding a new age for the chateau. The family had a long & well-established history within Bordeaux & indeed the wine trade, already owning 3 other estates. Initially they let Roger Delon of Leoville Las Cases manage the estate, but that inevitably left rather spread bets & a lack of devoted focus on Poyferré. Come 1979 & step forward Didier Cuvelier, the first member of the family to take charge of Leoville Poyferré. His arrival sparked all the wonderful progressions & growth that we so admire today. He brought Michel Rolland & Emile Peynaud into the fold as consultants; modernized all the equipment; & began replanting vines with such vigour the estate doubled in size. This saw an increase in Cabernet Sauvignon & the introduction of Petit Verdot. Those in any doubt as to his effect need only consider Leoville Poyferré 1982 as proof in an extremely delicious bottle: the vineyards continues to grow from strength to strength.

Top vintages: 1990, 2009

Hidden Gems: 2005, 2013