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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.
Upon closer examination of the decade, attention must also be drawn to the Bordeaux 1950 vintage, which offered quantity more than quality - indeed, with welcome exceptions. Due to the relatively rainy summer, expectations for the year were not very high, but the change in weather by the end of the year made it a good one, and in some areas even excellent. The wines lacked the ample and balanced character of the previous year. They were instead noted for their highly tannic quality. But the wines have matured with surprising grace. Many of the wines have become more harmonious as the tannins have faded.
Two vintage gems are the Cheval Blanc and Pétrus. On the other hand, the Graves La-Mission-Haut-Brion is an outstanding wine. Although the finest wines are at the peak of their drinkability right now, they will remain there for years to come. Due to the large crop and the very modest reputation of the vintage, these wines can be found at very affordable prices.