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Château Léoville-Poyferré
by
Kathy Sullivan

Chateau Leoville PorferreSummary: The Château Léoville-Poyferré is owned by the Cuvelier family since 1920. The Cuveliers became involved in the wine business in the middle of the 1800s. The chateau is recognized as a 2nd Classified Growth. Recently the winery has delved into producing kosher wines.

Château Léoville-PoyferréChâteau Léoville-Poyferré located in the Saint Julien appellation of Bordeaux offers visitors a mix of old and new. The exterior of an old chateau is in sharp contrast with the modern gleaming stainless steel tanks inside the winery. Upon entering the winery, visitors will discover an office on the right while straight ahead they will see on a lower level a large barrel room. The glass wall provides optimum viewing of the room. At the time of our visit winery workers were busily moving empty oak barrels, making it look easy but obviously well accustomed to the task.

The newest enterprise at Château Léoville-Poyferré is the careful production of the highest level of kosher wines. Several barrels of kosher wines were carefully wrapped and placed at the end of the winery room.

History

The Cuvelier family with a long history of involvement in the wine industry purchased Château Léoville-Poyferré in 1920. Today, Didier Cuvelier took over control of the chateau in 1979, and is the driving force of Château Léoville-Poyferré’s success.

Vineyards

Château Léoville-Poyferré has 80 hectares (198 acres) of vineyards that are spread throughout Saint Julien. Grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. They have replaced some Merlot with Cabernet Franc. The top layer of soil is gravel. The vines develop a deep root system.

Château Léoville-PoyferréWinery

In 1994 the wooden vats were carefully replaced with seamless stainless steel. A pattern of black and white tile lines the path between the vats. The tanks are tall and shaped gently towards the top like a triangle.

Grapes are harvested by hand.  Upon reaching the winery, grapes are sorted by hand and by machine. One vat is used per plot. Modern technology also included an optical selector to separate grapes by color when sorting. Winemaking techniques include cold maceration and gentle pump overs. Bottling takes place after 18 months of aging. At the time of our visit in July 2013, winery staff members were bottling the 2010 vintage and blending the 2011 vintage. The winery uses 1,000 to 1,500 oak barrels. Each year they buy 500 to 600 new barrels.

Kosher Wines

The newest enterprise at Château Léoville-Poyferré is the careful production of the highest level of kosher wines. Several barrels of kosher wines were carefully wrapped and placed at the end of the winery room.

Château Léoville-PoyferréTasting Room

Our group of about 20 entered a modern room with four unusual and dramatic tables. Each table was a square with an inset glass filled with large whitish stones. It was an interesting affect and actually showcased the red wines we were served. The wines were served in Schott Zweisel stemware.

Château Léoville-PoyferréWines

Château Léoville-Poyferré 2012 was a future’s sample. The wine, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot, was a dark purple to black with a ruby rim. The aroma and taste were of blackberries and cassis. Tannins were a little harsh but will soften with age. The wine was a balance of tannins, fruit, acidity and alcohol. Chateau Moalin Riche 2007 was a blend of 53 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 44 percent Merlot and 3 percent Petit Verdot. The wine was a dark ruby with ruby rim. The aroma was of black fruits and licorice. The taste had nuances of blackberry and cassis. The finish with tannins was fruity. Château Léoville-Poyferré 2006 was a blend of 73 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 1 percent Merlot and 6 percent Petit Verdot. The wine was a dark ruby with sienna hue and a light ruby rim. The aroma was of dark fruits. The taste offered nuances of cassis and blackberries. The finish had bold tannins and was fruity.

When in Margaux, take the time to visit Château Léoville-Poyferré. Call to make an appointment. Observe a modern winery making wines with traditional methods.

Château Léoville-Poyferré
Rue Alexis Millardet
33460 MARGAUX, France

0033 557 888 210

Article written July 2013


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