Leoville Poyferre wine used to be known as the softest of the three Leovilles, but in the last decades it has developed a distinct fleshiness and defined structure that has put it on an equal footing to its neighbours. A leading Second Growth of St Julien, this Chateau has seen a major increase of quality in recent vintages.
Leoville Poyferre was originally part of the ancient Leoville estate that took up a vast portion of St-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 Château for over 20 years, Leoville Poyferre has undergone a resurgence and is producing wines worthy of its predecessors.
The 80 hectares of vineyards are planted predominantly with Cabernet Sauvignon, some Merlot, and small plots of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The gravelly soils provide good drainage for the vines, which helps negate disease pressure and leads to concentrated fruit. In 1995 Michel Rolland was appointed as a consultant and the wines have only gone from strength to strength since then. The grapes are cold macerated for colour extraction and aromatic purity, and fermented in stainless steel vats before ageing in oak barriques for 18-20 months. Leoville Poyferre is now rated among the best of the St. Julien appellation, but remains sensibly priced.