Since 1982 Robert Parker has bestowed only 58 perfect scores to red Bordeaux wines, in 2009 and 2010 he scored 30 a perfect 100 points. These two vintages are simply the greatest twin vintages in Bordeaux history, after all the 1982, the greatest modern-day vintage only has six 100 pointers. In 2009 Leoville Poyferre scored 100 points for the first time and now trades for £1,700 a case. A 100 point First Growth costs £6,000 up to £20,000 a case, even Sassicaia 1985 (Super-Tuscan), which scored 100 points costs £12,000 a case.
Leoville Poyferre is a leading Second Growth from Saint Julien and in recent years has been challenging Leoville Las Cases for the title of the best Leoville vineyard; Poyferre, Las Cases and Barton were once the same vineyard. It is easy to think that 100 point wines are common, but in reality most vintages do not see a single perfect score. It is very likely that in ten years time collectors/traders will look back on 2009 and 2010 as must have vintages, yet gulp at eye-watering prices. In fact £140 a bottle for a perfect wine is affordable and contextually, if we consider that Pichon Lalande 1982, the 100 point Second Growth wine of that vintage now trades at £5,500 a case, while the 1989 Lynch Bages (Fourth Growth) which was awarded 99 points costs £3,500 a case; we may never see perfect scoring Bordeaux’s at these prices again.
One of the more flamboyant and sumptuous wines of the vintage, this inky/purple-colored St.-Julien reveals thrilling levels of opulence, richness and aromatic pleasures. A soaring bouquet of creme de cassis, charcoal, graphite and spring flowers is followed by a super-concentrated wine with silky tannins, stunning amounts of glycerin, a voluptuous, multilayered mouthfeel and nearly 14% natural alcohol. Displaying fabulous definition for such a big, plump, massive, concentrated effort, I suspect the tannin levels are high even though they are largely concealed by lavish amounts of fruit, glycerin and extract. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040. Robert Parker
Leoville Poyferre was originally part of the ancient Leoville estate that took up a vast portion of Saint Julien in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the revolution, and with one quarter of the property already sold to Hugh Barton (Leoville Barton), the decedents of the Marquis Las Cases sold a second quarter to the Baron de Poyferre-Ceres in 1840. In 1866 M. Armand Lalande and Baron d’Erlanger purchased the Chateau for one million Francs (£200,000) and ran it successfully until the 1890s when it was sold to Edouard Lawton. During the latter half of the 19th century Poyferre enjoyed a period as the highest price Second Growth. After the First World War the family of Bordeaux based Negotiants assumed ownership. The estate has remained in their control since and is currently presided over by Didier Cuvelier. The quality of the wine suffered a marked decline during the mid-part of the 20th Century. However, under Didier, who has run the Chateau for over 20 years, Leoville Poyferre has undergone a resurgence and is producing wines worthy of its predecessors.
Leoville Poyferre is located in the Saint Julien appellation of the Medoc and winemaking is carried out with exacting standards. Michel Rolland was appointed in 1995 as a consultant and this has seen an increase of quality. The wine used to be the least full bodied of the three Leovilles, now it has a distinct fleshiness and defined structure that has put it on an equal footing to its neighbours.