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