2020 Leoville Poyferre
Jeb Dunnuck | 98+ JD
Jeb Dunnuck | 98+ JD
The 2020 Léoville-Poyferré is every bit as impressive as it was from barrel. If anything, it has gained in freshness and vibrancy with élevage. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, graphite and a kiss of French oak are some of the many notes that infuse the 2020 with tons of character. I especially admire its vertical energy and buttoned up personality. In some recent vintages Léoville-Poyferré has been quite showy, but the 2020 also has a more nuanced side that is hugely appealing.
Vinous Media | 97 VM
This is really floral on the nose with violets and roses, and some black berries and dark cherries. It’s medium- to full-bodied with firm and polished tannins, and plenty of hazelnut and milk chocolate. Structured, yet so finely textured. So attractive and enticing now but needs three or four years to show what it has. Try after 2026.
James Suckling | 96 JS
Supple and generous with mouthwatering acidity, though really quite tannic at this point which does cover up some of the nuance. I like the texture, the frame and the weight, it’s clean, polished and well worked, not overdone at all, but this has a sense of potent seduction in the flavours, rich blackcurrant, perfumed and scented. Detailed with lots of stony, slate, and wet stone elements giving a wonderful terroir influence. It’s not as immediately charming as the 2019, the tension still prominent, but this will be brilliant in 5-10 years.
Decanter | 96 DEC
Showy and very hard to resist, this gushes with velvety plum and boysenberry reduction flavors, along with melted black licorice and violet hints along the way. This has a very cold cast iron note buried deeply on the finish, too, to keep it grounded. A very distinctive house style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2030 through 2038.
Wine Spectator | 95 WS
Of course, this impressive classified growth wine is young. But it’s easy to discern its promise. Black fruits and layers of sophisticated tannins are balanced with the wood aging and smoky fruit flavors. This estate in the heart of Saint-Julien has produced a very fine wine, fresh and structured at the same time. Drink from 2026.
Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE
A rich, powerful wine, the 2020 Léoville Poyferré offers up aromas of sweet berries, blueberry liqueur, exotic spices, incense and creamy new oak. Full-bodied, broad and layered, it’s deep and concentrated, its ample core of fruit only partially concealing a hefty payload of sweet, powdery, generously extracted tannin. Poyferré is generally the most flamboyant and demonstrative of the three Léovilles, but in 2020, it’s chunkier, broader shouldered and more brooding than usual.
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RP
Wine Details for 2020 Leoville Poyferre
|Type of Wine||
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Red Bordeaux Blend
: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.
The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Chateau Leoville Poyferre
: The Saint Julien, Second Growth estate of Leoville Poyferre has a history dating all the way back to 1638. Traditionally, Bordeaux estates were named after their founders or owners but there is a long and winding road shared with Chateau Leoville Las Cases which has led to its path of ownership.
What we recognize today as Leoville Poyferre was once part of a vineyard named Mont-Moytie, after owner and member of the Bordeaux Parliament, Jean de Moytie. It was one of the first chateau in the Medoc to produce wine along with Chateau Margaux and La Tour de Saint Lamber, which we know today as Chateau Latour. The domaine remained in the Moytie family for almost 100 years before becoming part of the de Gascq family through Marriage. Alexander de Gascq promptly renamed the estate Leoville.
At that time, the Leoville estate was at the forefront of vineyard management and were using practices that seemed odd but today are taken for granted. De Gascq was a steady purchaser of vineyards and at the time of his death his estate had grown to be one of the largest in Bordeaux. Upon his death in 1840, the property was divided between eldest son Pierre Jean de Las Cases and his sister Jeane. Jeane’s parcel was passed on to her daughter and wife of Baron Jean-Marie Poyferre de Ceres. This was the birth of Leoville Poyferre.
While the vineyards were separated, the buildings were connected just as they remain to this day. When visiting either chateau, the parking lot is shared between Las Cases and Poyferre; a unique arrangement in Bordeaux. After the Leoville vineyards were separated into the three estates we know today as Las Cases, Poyferre, and Barton, there was much confusion and chaos that took place at harvest as the vineyards mingled.
The modern era began for Leoville Poyferre in 1920 when the Cuvelier family purchased the estate. The Cuvelier family had a long history in the Bordeaux wine trade prior to the acquisition but interestingly and despite that wealth of family knowledge, the family allowed Roger Delon of Leoville Las Cases and neighbor to manage the estate. In 1979, Didier Cuvelier became the first member of the family to take charge of Leoville Poyferre and this change once again put the estate on the map to wine lovers all over the world.
Didier Cuvelier brought modernization to the Left Bank estate, upgrading winemaking facilities, replanting vines and bringing in the consultation of Michel Rolland and Emile Peynaud. There was rapid transformation in quality and it became evident with the release of the 1982 vintage. Leoville Poyferre had its name stamped on the wine market long before but much credit should be given to Didier Cuvelier for his innovative and ambitious endeavors. Under his tutelage, the estate has swelled from 48 hectares to its current 80 hectares under vine.
The 80 hectares are planted to 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. On average the vines are 45 years of age with some Cabernet Sauvignon vines being planted back in the 1940s. 20,000 cases are produced each year. The estate produces two additional wines; Moulin-Riche as well as Pavillon de Leoville Poyferre. The Cuvelier family also owns a successful negociant company which was started in 1804, H. Cuvelier and Fils.