2010 Leoville Poyferre Harvest Didier Cuvelier Interview



According to records, the 2010 Leoville Poyferre harvest is a product of a dry year in the Medoc, as well as all over Bordeaux.  Did the vines suffer at Chateau Leoville Poyferre? Didier Cuvelier said no. “In 2009, it rained 483 mm, in 2010 only 362 mm, ie a deficit of 121 mm during the vine growth cycle. The old vines are deeply rooted, so they didn’t suffer from the drought.”

How did you decide to harvest? “We tasted the berries in the vineyard every week and then decide when to pick each plot. We started picking the Merlot, October 1, again on 4-5, the Cabernet Franc October 8. We stopped to wait for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, which we picked from 11th till 18th. Patience was the rule this year to get to perfect ripeness! If I have to mention a negative aspect regarding this harvest, I can only think of the small yield. Due to the drought, the berries were even smaller than we thought.”

What were the conditions like during your Bordeaux wine harvest? “The weather was good during the harvest. It rained only one day on 4th October. It rained heavily in Bordeaux city October 10, but in St. Julien, only 7 mm and we don’t pick on Sundays.” As it was a draught year, did the rains affect the harvest? “It contributed to the maturity of the Cabernet Sauvignon.”

What renovations did you do this year in your vat rooms at Leoville Poyferre ? “We replaced 10 vats with 20 stainless smaller, double skin tronconic stainless steel vats with a capacity from 60 to 165 hl. These additional vats combined with the most recent technology allow the fine-tuning of the plot-by-plot selection for the top terroirs and also to do a cold prefermentation (6°celsius during 5 days) to extract more fruit.”

Did this year’s Bordeaux wine harvest at Leoville Poyferre  present any special challenges? “This harvest presents us with two challenges. As in 2009, it will be important to limit the length of the pumpovers to avoid overextraction.  Also, we need to perfectly master this new system and improve the selection.” 

What are you doing now in the vinification process? “The first Merlot grape s that we picked have finished alcoholic fermentation.  The latest Cabernet Sauvignons are just starting theirs. I can tell you more on the other grapes in a few weeks.”

What is your impression of the Bordeaux wine harvest so far? “As per today, this is a great vintage in terms of analyses (tannins, anthocianes and alcohol). It’s too early to say exactly how great. But it is very promising. We hold a second trilogy 2008, 2009 and 2010, comparable with 1988, 1989 and 1990.”

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