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    11° C Scattered clouds
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    09:26 AM
  • Wine average?

    91.9 Tb
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    171
  • Region Ranking?

    67
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History

The history of Château Léoville Barton is the history of a family who have managed to preserve their inheritance for more than two centuries. From one generation to another the wines produced by this property have maintained the quality of their classification, offering wines at the very top of their appellation.

 

  Thomas Barton had been brought up in Curraghmore, Co. Fermanagh and left his native    Ireland in 1722 at the age of 27 years old.

He worked with his maternal uncles Thomas and William Dickson who had considerable trade in France. It was in this connection that Thomas was sent to France, first to Montpellier, then to Marseille. He was not therefore pre-destined to be a wine merchant but when in 1725 he went to Bordeaux with its importance as an Atlantic port, Thomas became interested in wine and soon founded his first company which was later to become Barton & Guestier.

He rapidly created a financially successful business with a regular clientele in Ireland. He was a man of great authority, firm but honest in his transactions ; by 1737 he had already made a small fortune and was well respected in Bordeaux where he became known as “French Tom”. In 1743 he introduced his son William to the business but William was a man of very different calibre to his father and their relations were never of the best.

 

 

At this time the French law known as ‘Le Droit d’Aubaine’ stipulated that estates of any foreigner dying in France would revert to the French Crown. Although Thomas had applied for French citizenship, this was not in fact granted until after his death. For this reason he never bought any vineyards in France preferring to invest his considerable profits in property in Ireland.

He did rent an attractive home in the Médoc, Château Le Boscq in Saint-Estèphe, but it was his grandson Hugh who became the first member of the family to actually own a vineyard. Thomas died in 1780 aged 85.

His grandson Hugh increased the value of the business and accumulated a considerable fortune. In 1821 he purchased Château Langoa and in 1826 part of the Léoville estate. In addition he built Straffan House in Ireland, which was to become the family home for three generations. It was Ronald, born in London in 1902 who was again to contribute effectively to the family affairs in France. It was also he who maintained the vineyards during the difficult years between the two world wars.

Anthony came to France in 1951 and in 1983 he became proprietor of the vineyards. Proud of the long family connection with the Bordeaux wine trade, he continues with his daughter Lilian the Barton tradition. Their mutual ambition is to maintain and improve the prestige of the wines of Léoville and Langoa Barton. The meaning of the word "terroir" includes several elements such as soil, climate, topology and geology. In this respect the terroir of Saint-Julien is acknowledged as one of the best in the world for wine production. Château Léoville Barton is situated in the heart of this prestigious appellation.

Soil: gravel and clay Production area: 45 ha Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc

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Vineyards

The word ‘Terroir’ means a lot more than just “soil” which is however its primary significance, but it does also include notions of climate, topology and geology. Although some wine producers particularly in the New World tend to discount ‘Terroir’ as an important factor in the quality of a wine, the vineyards of Langoa and Léoville Barton have no other explanation for the differences in character of the two wines.

These can only be explained by differences of ‘Terroir’ since other important factors such as grape varieties , vine culture and wine making are virtually the same on both proprieties. It is also interesting to note that the analyses of the wines show little variation in terms of alcohol, acidity, tannin etc., yet the two wines do have their own personality and show distinctive contrasts in bouquet and palate. The soil of both vineyards is basically gravelly with clay sub-soil ; the depth at which the clay is to be found and other soil characteristics vary from one part of the vineyard to another making it even more difficult to define exactly what are the major differences in the two vineyards.

Another important factor in the make-up of these vineyards is the drainage: if considerable progress has been made recently in some sectors of wine making, the art of good drainage was well understood and applied by previous generations. To produce good wine, vines do not require rich fertile soil as this would produce big berries with a high ratio of juice to skins, whereas the opposite is the ideal. For the same reason an excess of rainfall is not desirable for making high quality wine and what rain there is must be allowed to drain off rapidly.

At the time of the 1855 classification, Leoville Barton, second Grand Cru and Langoa Barton, 3rd Grand Cru in Saint-Julien, were already owned by the Barton family. They share with only Mouton-Rothschild’s owners, the privilege of a long family continuity.

The 1855 Classification was created to present the most famous Bordeaux wines at the Paris Universal exhibition. The responsibility for drawing it up was given by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce to the "Bordeaux Trade Brokers". The idea was to establish a classification based on many years of trade experience, which was the recognition for each estate of its Terroir and reputation. Information, of course, came from the most reliable sources. Published on April 18,1855, the Classification was the confirmation of an existing market and the evolution over more than a century.

The 50 hectares of Léoville and 17 hectares of Langoa, planted in gravelly soil with a clay sub-soil, include large proportions of old vines in order to obtain the best possible quality. The grape varieties is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc for Léoville Barton, while Langoa Barton’s terroir is shared as follows 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. Both properties have the same vinification methods.

The wines are typical of the Saint-Julien area, well balanced wines with subtle bouquets and flavours; the emphasis being on elegance and finesse rather than on power and extraction. This is achieved by picking the grapes at their maximum ripeness and allowing the fermentation to take place at a controlled temperature of 30/32°C. Although excessive extraction is avoided by removing the juice from the skins at the appropriate time, the wines have a lovely deep colour, excellent structure and sufficient tannins to ensure good ageing potential.

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Winemaking

At harvest time the grapes arrive in the ‘Cuvier’ where they are processed and fermented in wooden vats of approximately 200 hectolitres. These big wooden vats are pleasing to the eye and typical of the traditional approach to wine making at Langoa and Léoville Barton. Some years ago it became fashionable to remove wooden vats and replace them with stainless steel. The reason for this was the easier control of temperature during fermentation in stainless steel as opposed to wood.

The Bartons thought that the expense was enormous (around 5 million francs), that the wooden vats had made excellent wines in the past and above all that in the near future a method of controlling temperature in wooden vats would be discovered. This turned out to be true and today a system of thermo-regulation enables the juice to be fermented at the exact temperature desired. So there are no regrets for having kept the wooden vats and they do look better!

 

 

 

Although the modern wine making methods permit wine to be drunk at a younger age than in the past, the great vintages may easily be kept for 25 to 30 years and more. It is important to remember that the lighter years drunk at the right time can give more pleasure than the great years drunk before reaching maturity.

But the Bartons do not cling to tradition for tradition’s sake. A most modern crusher-destemmer is in place and the wine press is also one of the latest models. The fermentation normally lasts for about 5 days during which time the juice is pumped over twice a day. The wine is left with the skins for about two weeks, the exact period depending on the quality of the harvest.
It is then drawn off and the skins are pressed to obtain the ‘vin de presse’ a most important component of the final blend. The malo-lactic fermentation then takes place in the vats, after which the wine is drawn off into barrels for ageing in the neighbouring cellars.
And so, the job of the ‘cuvier’ is over for another year.

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Inside information

Anthony Barton was born at Straffan House in Co. Kildare (Ireland) in 1930. He was destined to inherit little or nothing of the family estates. His elder brother Christopher was heir to Straffan and the vineyards in France were owned by his Uncle Ronald who would normally have married and had his own children to whom he would naturally have left his property. Although Ronald did marry late in life he had no children and Anthony thus became his heir.

After studies in Ireland and in England, Anthony came to settle in France in 1951. Once again there were difficulties within the wine trade ; the war had meant many years when exports to traditional markets had come to a complete stop and the lack of demand resulted in such low prices that Langoa and Léoville Barton were running at a loss. The first vintage that Anthony witnessed was 1951, so awful that his Uncle Ronald told him “another vintage like this and I will have to sell” - not a very encouraging start to his new life! Fortunately there were two good years to follow but even so prices remained below a profitable level for some time to come.

The affairs of B&G were better but not brilliant. In 1954 Seagram took a 50% interest in the business and a few years later became majority share-holders. Anthony continued to work as export director until 1967 when he left to start his own firm “Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton”. Although he kept in touch with the activities of the vineyards he was busy creating his new venture and did not take a truly active part at the Châteaux until 1983 when Ronald donated the property to him. Since 1986, Anthony Barton has lived in the château with his wife, Eva, native of Copenhagen.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  30 wines 

Le Cinq "Wine Legends" Dinner with wines like Bouchard 1865, Beycheville 1899, DRC Conti 1940, DRC Richebourg 1942, Margaux 1928, Latour 1929, Mouton 1949, Petrus 1949, 1955, 1959, and 1966 etc.

3m 15d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Rinaldi Barolo 2007 / Served blind. Bright ruby with sediments. Scented, tar and roses, rich nose, tea, anise, leather and cherries nose. Fresh and high acidity, high of ripe tannins, fruity and lively, intense, cherries and red berries, little bit high alcohol making it a bit sweet, long. 90p

4m 17d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  55 wines 

Finally, after some busy days tasting back home in Oslo, here is 2016 Margaux. A vintage with a lot of success in this commune as well. Beautiful texture, pure fruits and that gorgeous scented in abundance almost Margaux typicity that is shining very clearly this year. Another stellar commune in 2016.

5m 15d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  126 wines 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.


 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.


 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

5m 27d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

5m 28d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

6m 3d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  15 wines 

The Primeur tastings in Bordeaux offer not only a huge array of wines of the new vintage but offer also quite often ripe vintages to taste. Some of these wines will be served during tastings, others will be presented for exciting dinners. Some of these excellent wines will feature in this tasting, showing the great diversity of styles and the excellent ageing potential of wines from Bordeaux.

6m 6d ago

 John Lee, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  14 wines 

Pierre Pérignon is said to have been a learned man, intelligent, broad-minded, warmhearted and punctual both in his religious and other duties. He was modest in character and way of life - an honorable man, small in size but with a big heart of gold. Such respect did he engender that when new bells were installed in the church of Hautvillers in 1706 his name was engraved on the largest. It was customary at the time to dedicate new church bells to the incumbent bishop and two other persons of note. As a winemaker monk Pérignon was a legend and as a man he seems to have been no less celebrated.


At the beginning of the 18th century the name of Dom Pérignon was so well-known that even many Frenchmen thought it a village or a monastery and searched for it on the map. Today his name remains just as famous and is a symbol for genuine and sophisticated champagne all over  the whole world.

7m 9d ago

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  24 wines 

Amazing Magnum-tasting with quite a few 100 points wines like Latour 1982, Mouton 1982, Haut Brion 1989, Martha's Vineyard's 1975...

9m 5d ago

 Fernando Pessoa, Pro (Spain)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  50 wines 

The Annual Union des Grands Crus Tasting in London - Bordeaux Vintage 2014 - My TOP 50.

11m 5d ago

 Dylan O'Brien / Sommelier, Pro (Ireland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  36 wines 

Bordeaux left bank vintage 2012 tasting.

1y 1h ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Leoville-Barton . In a tasting of  15 wines 

“The 2000 Leoville Barton was atypically subtle and wound at first. After some serious coaxing, aromas of brick, fireplace, cedar, coffee, cassis and deep roasted nuts all emerged. Its long and robust nose became very classic and full of spine, and it was easily the most concentrated wine so far. ‘Is it Cali?’ Wendy joked, but then she admitted that it only walked the line. The palate was also very concentrated and long, possessing spine and more noticeable alcohol but still tasty. The more wines that I had, the more I thought about 1982. Wendy admired its ‘fantastic length.’ The Barton got sweeter in the glass and definitely had that Napa Valley Grill to it but was still outstanding”

1y 29d ago

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