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Bordeaux 2016: Château Leoville Poyferré

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

The consistency at Château Léoville Poyferré has been wonderful over the past decade. The property regularly vies with Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Château Ducru Beaucaillou as the best wine of the appellation. It is amongst the finest made in Bordeaux. Great wine has been produced here in 2016. I don’t think I’m pushing the boat out too far in suggesting that Léoville Poyferré 2016 is verging on the quality of the 2005, 2009 and 2010 qualitatively speaking. The balance is phenomenal; the texture remarkable. Château Moulin Riche, made from a separate 20 hectare terroir in St Julien, may well be the best yet produced. It is certainly the most impressive sample I’ve tasted. Overall it underlines the excitement I felt when I tasted the top St Juliens in this vintage earlier in the year.

There is no doubting the dedication of Didier Cuvelier to make the best possible wine at Poyferré. It’s been a long journey but the wines made here in this last ten year period add up to a remarkable set of St Juliens. There are seriously high peaks in 2005, 2009 and 2010. Add in fabulous efforts earlier in 2000, 1990 and 1982, and you can see that in certain vintages this property is obviously of first-growth quality.

Léoville Poyferré describes a seriously wet spring in 2016, with some 513mm falling between January and March. It was also mild with temperatures above average. The threat of downy mildew was considerable at the start of the growing season. Four days of miraculous weather in the first week of June led to a good, even fruit set. From Midsummer’s day onwards, sunny and dry weather then prevailed into July and August, making this significantly drier than 2014 and 2015 in the same period. The drought conditions did delay things until the significant storm of 13 September. This brought much needed rain [41 mm]. The stage was set for a great vintage if the conditions held into October, which they did. The harvest started very late here [5 October] for the Merlot. The Cabernet Sauvignon finished harvest on October 20th.

The balance, depth and texture of the wine at this young stage is remarkable. It is like a hypothetical combination of 2009 and 2010 but at a much more agreeable 13.6% alcohol. I reckon it will be up there with the very best wine Léoville Poyferré has produced.

As I mentioned at the top, I’ve no doubt at all that Chateau Moulin Riche 2016 [above] is the best wine this property has made in the last 8 vintages I’ve tasted at primeurs. It is seriously good St Julien. For analysis on the release prices [usually pretty good buys early on] click here to read the Liv-Ex analysis.

The following wines were tasted on 3/4/17. I also tasted the 2007 Léoville Poyferré on my visit. This wine has always been one of the best from this tricky vintage. It shows genuine St Julien character. It is now fully mature but has the depth of fruit to last another decade.

Château Moulin Riche, St Julien, 2016

Deep and saturated look; intense cassis; aromatic and layered; really lots of good fruit on the nose; good seam of fruit; good entry; excellent purity; really very fine; good texture and freshness; lovely wine; excellent balance between the tension and the acidity; very interesting. Length. [63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 13.5%]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2022-2030. 91-93+

Château Léoville Poyferré, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2016

Lovely colour; really saturated; knockout fruit here; wonderful; layered and fantastic; really impressive seam of fruit; beautiful cassis; excellent levels of extract; this could we be exceptional Poyferré; less alcohol than 2010 and better balance [13.6%]; excellent acidity; wonderful length. Fabulous LP. Up there with ‘09 & ‘10 – stylistically more like ’10 but with the tannin texture of ‘09. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 13.6% alc, TA 3.6, pH 3.66]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2026-2046. 96-100

Château Léoville Poyferré, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2007

Mid depth; earth red at edge; roasted notes; tobacco; real St Julien style; nice complex [compare with 2012]; meat; nicely balanced palate; freshness; good complexity; attractive texture; drinking nicely now. Lovely drinking now. Perfect. Nicely done. Vanilla on the finish. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink now-2027. 93+

LP 2007: One of the best wines of the vintage

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