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Château Léoville Poyferré


Léoville Poyferré is now run by a woman! After almost 40 years presiding over the destiny of the chateau, Didier Cuvelier left over the reins to his cousin Sara Lecompte-Cuvelier in 2018. Last October she welcomed Nelson Chow, the president of the sommeliers of Hong Kong and China for a lovely vertical tasting of Château Léoville Poyferré.

The harvest time was coming to an end but the chateau was still buzzing with activity. An opportunity for Nelson Chow to observe, at the entrance of the cellars, the sorting done. Léoville Poyferré operates a selective picking, then a manual sorting on vibrating tables, and finally by optical technology. A drastic selection but necessary to maintain the quality.

The grapes are hand-picked in crates. For many years, the chateau has been calling, in addition to local harvesters, to a Portuguese village. A faithful presence that makes the vineyard and dining hall resound with jovial bursts of voice! A loyalty that also gives consistency. The requirements of the chateau are known by all, the eyes and gestures are seasoned.

In the cellars, vatting is operated by varietal and by plots in the 49 stainless steel vats out of which 27 conical double-walled vats. At Léoville Poyferré they focus on the search of quality and finesse of the tannins. The oak barrels are carefully selected and host the wines for 18 to 20 months of ageing.

Before sharing the traditional harvest meal, Nelson Chow could engage in the tasting of Léoville Poyferré's wines. Sara Lecompte-Cuvelier had prepared a vertical tasting of recent vintages: 2008-09-10-11-12 and 13.

While according to Nelson Chow, the 2008 is ready to drink and the very fruity and iconic 2009 is starting to get ready to be enjoyed, the 2010 won his favor, but “you will have to wait until 2025”. The 2011, a more difficult vintage, will have to be decanted and the 2012 is “a great Bordeaux classic with notes of mint, licorice, eucalyptus, blackberry and blackcurrant”. As for the 2013, it offers a “great potential” and is “very spicy, aromatic, largely focused on the fruitiness”.

As an expert sommelier, Nelson Chow quickly oriented the organoleptic analysis towards the possible pairings with Asian dishes. About the 2009, he confirmed that “this wine goes well with Chinese cuisine, especially with Shanghainese cuisine”. It's a rich cuisine, with sweet soy sauce, stews, braised meats, like braised pork with black vinegar. “The richer the dish, the best the 2009 will perform”. For Cantonese dishes, choose the suckling pig or the duckling instead.

2020 will celebrate the centenary of Léoville Poyferré's entry into the family portfolio. With Sara Lecompte-Cuvelier, the story continues and marks a turning point. Her ambition?
Pursue the passionate, demanding and successful commitment of her family by continuing the quest for ultimate quality, innovating in environmental initiatives, and developing the fame of the brand.

Sylvia van der Velden