I can remember tasting 2005 Ch.Leoville-Poyferre in the ‘En Primeur’ tasting (2006 in Bdx) and thinking what an amazing, powerhouse of an elegant wine it was. A St.Julien right up there with the rest of the fold, for a change. I was always a little hesitant and always apt to totally pre-judge this Chateau, on it’s past record. Previous to this vintage, 1961, 1982, 1983 and 1989 have been drunk (lucky me) and I enjoyed all, of course The others, 1970, 1976 and 1979, umm? But when asked what is your desert island Bordeaux village for vin rouge Bordeaux, I would always respond with, St.Julien! (Both Bartons being my tops and of course Ducru B., the Cordier stable and without going over the top, Leoville-Lascases, which for me was always a St.Julien bomb, but alas, totally out of my reach)
Well we headed back, last week, to our favorite local eatery. This time, underground, in ‘Bajo Roux’ to try out two pairs of Leoville-Poyferre.
The four vintages were uncorked and poured from the bottle, more or less at the same time. And in order of preference here are some of your bloggaspondent notes, for what they are worth:
2003 Very very dark crimson. Sweet coconutty notes. Rich, opulent with lovely freshness, backed up with some of the finest-grained tannins a Bordeaux property can provide. A dry finish and a huge pleasure. What an extremely lovely vintage this 2003 is. Wonderful wine!
2000 This could have been a Leoville-Lascases. But it aint. Sumptuous, huge, huge nose of black chocolate, the darkest of black cherries, cassis. Very rich, A full-bodied bomb of a St.Julien that I guess will last well into the next generational gap.
1998 A fully mature surprise. Loads of new (1998) oak and a perfect blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Soft creamy texture, and a delight to drink now. The wine disappeared so quickly in my glass, that I asked for more. Alas, the bottle was empty. Always a good sign for somebody.
Finally the famous, and more recent 2009 vintage. Black black red, rich (maybe it was just this bottle?) and totally closed down. I left the glass for almost an hour before going back to it and there were indeed amazing robust signs of a wine that has a future that I, for sure, cannot imagine. All fruit hidden and driven in a fist of fury and not about to let up one bit. Let’s try it again in nine or ten years time. Sugar Ray Leonard in his prime and needs a bit of softening up.
Another week of southern hemispherical Bordelais, as I forgot to mention the generosity of my hosts the week before, where we managed to demolish a Double magnum of 1985 Ch.Mouton-Rothschild. Accompanied by a sympathetic bottle of 1960 Mouton-Rothschild and some other glorious and wordly 1985s. No notes taken as I had forgotten my pencil and paper. The next day, of course, I paid the full penalty for pure over indulgence. Once in a while these things do happen….
Vivo Saint Julien!