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Chateau Leoville Poyferre 2003
#17 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2006!
The spectacular 2003 Leoville Poyferre exhibits a dense purple color with a touch of lightening at the edge as well as notes of creosote, barbecue smoke, jammy black currants, licorice and spice box. This intense, voluptuously textured, full-bodied St.-Julien possesses low acidity and ripe tannin. Still fresh and exuberant, it is just entering its plateau of full maturity where it should remain for 10-15+ years.
A huge, opulent wine that packs sweet, rich tannins and spicy fruit. In the midst of all this decadence, though, is a kernel of tannic dryness. This estate, long the weakest of the three Lèoville wines, is now back in top form.
I love the rich and opulent nose to this with flowers, plums and currants. Full and powerful with great freshness and balance. Still a little tight, yet dense and intense. Wonderful wine through and through. Leave it alone for five or six years still. Pull the cork after 2016.
Medium ruby-red. Extravagant aromas of currant, loam, leather and graphite; like the 1990 in its roasted character. Then sweet and dense but with surprising aromatic lift in the mouth, not to mention considerable power. Liqueur-like black fruit, licorice and mineral flavors really stain the palate. Cuvelier maintained that this vintage was not acidified. The cabernet acidity, he said, was healthy and the grape skins gave up their acidity slowly during the vinification. A very impressive showing, and built to last.
Major investments were made to bring out the best in the vineyards, and the cellars were also renovated. In 1994, noted consulting oenologist Michel Rolland began to offer his precious winemaking advice. The final blend is made after many careful tastings. Château Léoville Poyferré is aged in oak barrels, 75% of which are new every year. It is an extremely well-balanced wine with a great deal of finesse and excellent aging potential.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for nearly every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa, the region only produces about half the amount of wine, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in both quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River and Sonoma Valleys, Carneros, and Fort Ross-Seaview. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes referred to as the “king” of red grapes. It can be somewhat unapproachable early in its youth but has the potential to age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more at its best. Small berries and tough skins provide its trademark firm tannic grip, while high acidity helps to keep the wine fresh for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region (and in St-Emillion and Pomerol, where it plays a supporting role to Merlot). The top Médoc producers use Cabernet Sauvignon for their wine’s backbone, blending it with Merlot and smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot. On its own, Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.
In the Glass
High in color, tannin, and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice, and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.
Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb, and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.
Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.