Château Leoville Poyferre 2021
• Domaine: Château Léoville Poyferré
• Appellation: Saint-Julien
• Classification: Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
At Château Léoville Poyferré the motto is, “The essential is invisible to the eye.” This esteemed Saint-Julien producer does not believe in the extreme pomp and circumstance of an over-the-top château. Instead, they believe that true opulence stems from their winemaking team, terroir, and their classically luxurious wines.
This Second Growth Estate has arguably some of the best terroir and is capable of producing some of the most striking wines in Saint-Julien. Prior to its inception in 1840, Château Léoville Poyferré was a small portion of the vastly enormous Léoville Estate. Château Léoville was a leader in terms of viticultural innovation. They allowed for grapes to produce smaller berries which would inevitably yield a richer, more concentrated wine. They trellised their grapes with pinewood – something that was considered revolutionary at the time. They also were among the first to age their wine in oak barrels and clean them with a sulfur solution. These may not seem like major breakthrough ideas in our current era, but in the 1800s they were considered revolutionary.
Eventually after the French Revolution, the massive Léoville Estate was parceled off into Château Léoville Las Cases, Château Léoville Barton and Château Léoville Poyferré. Funnily enough, all three estates still share the same parking lot, and the buildings remain connected – just as they were centuries ago. Château Léoville Poyferré was acquired by Jeanne-Marie Poyferré de Ceres. After a period of turbulence, the estate was purchased by the Cuvelier family in the 1920s and that’s when Château Léoville Poyferré rose to prominence. The Cuvelier family had a strong history as négociants, and purchased other successful estates including Château Le Crock in 1903. In 1979 Didier Cuvelier became the cellar master and took the estate to new heights by implementing a 19-year program to replant the vineyards. Didier doubled the vineyard from 48 hectares to what it is today, 80 hectares. The estate is currently managed by his highly gifted niece, Sara Lecompte Cuvelier.
One might think that with such a “no frills” ethos, the team at Léoville Poyferré may not prioritize having some of the most innovative technology. This is not the case, and though they are about simplicity, Château Léoville Poyferré vehemently embraces new winemaking technology. In 2010 Léoville Poyferré renovated their vat rooms with a state-of-the-art underground pipe system to delicately transfer the wine from the tanks to the barrels. Prior to this ingenious system, the wine was moved by hand and tractors.
Like any great visionary estate, the team at Château Léoville Poyferré also takes immense pride in sustainability and producing their wines with great responsibility. Château Léoville Poyferré proudly carries a High Environmental Value (HEV) score of 3. They are also members of the Environmental Management System of the Interprofessional Council of Bordeaux Wine. The wines they produce are beautiful and elegant, favoring Cabernet Sauvignon with smaller additions of Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Because of their increasing quality with each passing vintage, Château Léoville Poyferré is a producer that should be on everyone’s radar.
"The 2021 Léoville Poyferré shows considerable promise, wafting from the glass with aromas of sweet berries and plums mingled with spices, licorice and petals, framed by a deft touch of creamy new oak. Medium to full-bodied, supple and fleshy, it's a polished, charming wine with a pretty core of fruit, lively acids and ripe, powdery tannins, concluding with a penetrating finish. It's a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (4/29/2022) Rating: (93-94)+
"Enjoyably supple texture, silky and juicy with blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and redcurrant fruit, along with liqourice, fennel and a touch of cocoa bean. This is a serious Poyferré with a firm tannic structure and clear ageing potential, more austere at this stage than you often find. Michel Rolland consultant, 45% new oak, 45% 1st wine, 24hl/h yield. Harvest September 28 to October 12." - Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (4/7/2022) Rating: 95 Drink: 2027-2044
"The 2021 Léoville-Poyferré was picked from 28 September until 12 October at just 24hL/ha and matured in 80% new oak, the remainder second-fill. It has a high-toned, concentrated bouquet with iodine-infused black fruit, becoming floral in the glass with scents of crushed violet. The palate is medium-bodied with Poyferré's trademark velvety smooth tannins. Fine depth, though clearly not as ostentatious as the previous three vintages, it is a more streamlined Poyferré, though that renders the wine well-balanced. There is just a dash of black pepper on the finish, though it just misses a little persistency on the aftertaste. But overall, a fine Saint-Julien that should give many years of drinking pleasure. 13.0% alcohol. - Neal Martin, Vinous (5/2022) Rating: 92-94
"The 2021 Léoville-Poyferré is classy and polished right out of the gate. All the classic Poyferré signatures come through, but in miniature. The 2021 impresses with its pliant fruit, silky tannins and fine balance. To be sure, the 2021 is a smaller-scaled wine than the norm here over the last few years, but that is the charm of this vintage. Inky dark fruit, pencil shavings, licorice and menthol build into the super-expressive finish. Tasted three times. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous (5/2022) Rating: 93-95
"The top wine, the 2021 Château Léoville Poyferré is a beauty and certainly makes the most of the vintage. Based on 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that hit 14% alcohol (with an IPT of 78 and a pH of 3.85), its dense purple hue is followed by a rich, concentrated, medium to full-bodied Saint-Julien that has terrific purity of fruit, notes of cassis, violets, and spicy wood, ripe tannins, and remarkable overall balance. It brings more richness and depth than most in the vintage and is unquestionably going to offer tons of pleasure over the coming 20-25 years." - Jeb Dunnuck (6/2/2022) Ratings: 94-97
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