Château Léoville Poyferré is a Deuxième Grand Cru Classé in St.-Julien. Originally part of the great Léoville estate, Decanter's Jane Anson sums up the history thus:
"The Léoville estate itself dates back to around 1740 and Alexandre de Gascq-Léoville. He was a nobleman from Gascony who married the great-granddaughter of Jean de Moytié, the man who first planted vines on the site in 1638. It was de Gascq who changed the name of the estate from Mont-Moytié to Léoville.
Back in the 1700s, Domaine de Léoville was among the very first properties in Bordeaux to trellis its vines (with pine stakes) and also among the first to begin rinsing the barrels with a sulphur solution to protect the wine from bacterial spoilage before transportation. When soon-to-be US president Thomas Jefferson visited the region in 1788, he praised the wine and referred to it as ‘Lionville’.
The heirs of de Gascq-Léoville kept the large estate intact until the French Revolution, after which Hugh Barton acquired part of it and established Château Léoville-Barton in 1826. The rest of the Léoville vineyard was subsequently divided between Pierre-Jean de Las Cases, who founded Château Léoville-Las Cases in 1840, and his sister Jeanne Las Cases. Her daughter married Baron Jean-Marie Poyferré de Cerès and Château Léoville- Poyferré was created."
This explains why Poyferré, like Barton, does not have its own château. Today, Poyferré's vineyards extend to 80 hectares, split into numerous small parcels across the appellation, but centring on the deep gravel soils of the Léoville plateau, ideal for Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are planted to 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, with an average vine age of 38 years.
The estate has been owned by the Cuvelier family since the 1920s. Didier Cuvelier retired in 2017 and his niece, Sara Lecomte Cuvelier has taken over as Director, with Isabelle Davin as oenologist.
(*The three Léovilles, Jane Anson, Decanter, Nov 2017)