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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.
All the horrors of the war and vintages faded into oblivion in one fell swoop, when nature bestowed upon Bordeaux winemakers the most legendary vintage of the century – the 1945—just as the war drew to an end. After this, the favourable weather conditions prevalent at the end of the decade produced the stunning 1947 and 1949 vintages. The gap years 1946 and 1948 were good years, but they were completely overshadowed by the storied vintages surrounding them.
At that time, demand for Bordeaux wines was, compared to today, low, with only a fraction of the wines from the gap year being exported to England’s leading market. Still, especially in 1948, extraordinarily fine wines were produced, such as the Château Léoville-Barton 1948, which is one of the brightest stars of the vintage, while also being perhaps the finest wine ever produced by the vineyard. Producing stout, robust and edgy wines, 1948 endowed the Léoville-Barton, traditionally known for its refined taste, with a dash of masculinity and, in turn, an exceptional dimension.
Bordeaux 1948: An excellent vintage that had the misfortune to fall between two legendary vintages. Often when Bordeaux has three outstanding vintages in a row, one is often forgotten. The wines have aged extremely well and the best wines still tend to make excellent drinking today. 1948 wines will last for many years to come.