April 1996, Score: 88-90
The 1995 reveals an impressively saturated black/purple color, followed by a sweet, chocolatey, cassis-scented nose with hints of hickory smoke, toast, and charcoal. The wine is low in acidity, with excellent, possibly outstanding concentration, a layered feel in the mouth which adds to the appealing texture, and a long, thick, sumptuous, tannic finish. This should be a Leoville-Poyferre to rival the 1990, perhaps even the 1982. Stay tuned. It will unquestionably last for 20 years.No other than Libourne’s Michel Rolland has been brought in as the consulting oenologist for Leoville-Poyferre. As a result, malolactic fermentation is now being done in oak casks, and the wine has taken on greater richness and intensity.All of the wines in this segment were tasted between March 19 and March 28 in Bordeaux. Most of the important wines from both the 1994 and 1995 vintages were tasted three separate times during my ten-day stay in Bordeaux. Drink: 1996-2016.
Sweet, jammy, black currant, and spicy oak aromas reveal few signs of evolution. Beautifully integrated tannin is barely noticeable in this suave, elegant, concentrated yet strikingly well-balanced wine. With a saturated purple color, admirable sweetness of fruit, fine purity and extract, and a gracious personality, the 1995 Leoville-Poyferre will be at its peak between 2001-2020. Last tasted 1/97.
Leoville-Poyferre is making greater and greater efforts to push the quality level closer to that of its neighbor, Leoville-Las-Cases. The hiring of the famed oenologist, Michel Rolland, the beginning of malolactic fermentation in barrel (started in 1994), a stricter selection process, and the construction of a superb new cuverie are all signs that Leoville-Poyferre is set to emerge as one of the stars of the northern Medoc. Sweet, jammy, blackcurrant, and spicy oak aromas reveal few signs of evolution. Beautifully integrated tannin is barely noticeable in this suave, elegant, concentrated yet strikingly well-balanced wine. With a saturated purple color, admirable sweetness of fruit, fine purity and extract, and a gracious personality, the 1995 Leoville-Poyferre will be at its peak between 2001-2020.
While not as backward as the 1996, the opaque purple-colored 1995 is a tannic, unevolved, dense, concentrated wine that will require 8-10 years of cellaring. The 1995 exhibits pain grille, blackcurrant, mineral, and subtle tobacco in its complex yet youthful aromatics. Powerful, dense, concentrated cassis and blueberry flavors might be marginally softer than in the 1996, but there is still plenty of grip and structure to this big wine. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2030.
Château Léoville Poyferré
Similar to Pichon Longueville, the three Léovilles (Las Cases, Barton and Poyferré) were originallypart of the same estate – in fact, the largest in Bordeaux at the time of the revolution. In the early 1800s, the estate was divided into three distinct properties. Though it bears the same forename of its famous siblings, Poyferré is least known. Fortunately, this is changing. Through modernisation, exceptional vineyard management and meticulous winemaking, it is emerging as a star in its own right. Leoville Poyferre also produces the excellent Ch Moulin Riche.
St Julien, Red Bordeaux
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc – not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien’s wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.