Chateau Leoville Barton
|Listed Wines||Leoville Barton|
|Annual Production (Grand Vin)||20,000 cases|
|Classification||Deuxième Crus (Second-Growths)|
|Second Wine||La Reserve de Léoville Barton|
|Interesting Fact||Unusually, Léoville Barton’s has no actual château on the property- the wines are made at its sister estate Langoa Barton, which is also depicted on its label.|
Anthony Barton is one of the most prominent and popular Bordeaux viogniers, with a passion for fair pricing which has earned the brand a strong and loyal fanbase. Mr Barton, 2007 Decanter Man of the Year, is famously critical of châteaux that make wines exclusively for speculative purposes, aiming his wines squarely at the consumer instead. Thus demand for Léoville Barton is always high.
Despite Anthony Barton’s belief in wine for drinking only, his is an extremely investable product thanks to great levels of demand and room for growth allowed by modest release prices. Christie’s Anthony Hanson has even specifically named Barton alongside its former Léoville siblings Las Cases and Poyferré as dependable brand for investors in terms of growth. Also it is often reasonably priced wines which stand to weather market unreliability and Léoville Barton remains very competitively priced for a Super-Second.
The wines of Léoville Barton have been of a reliably high quality since the takeover of Anthony Barton in the 1980s. This is not a wine that offers immediate gratification- often requiring more than a decade to begin to open up and not reaching full maturity for 20-30 years.
Over the course of the 5 years leading up to 2018 the estate seems to have found consistency in quality, especially when comparing to any 5 years slot in the 1990's.
"The palate is very refined with edgy tannin, beautifully balanced with seamlessly integrated oak. It is the classic Léoville-Barton style, full of energy and showing more breeding than the Langoa on the finish. This is just an outstanding, classic, drop-dead gorgeous Léoville Barton that is destined to give immense pleasure over the coming years. Bravo Anthony, Lilian et al."
Neal Martin 94-96
Léoville Poyferré shares much of its early history with the Léoville estate- which was split after to the death of its owner Alexandre de Gascq and with the impending French Revolution. The Barton family have roots in Bordeaux tracing back to 1745 and began as négociants, becoming winemakers proper with the purchase of Château Le Bosq in 1745. This was followed by the purchase of Ponten-Langlois, and a parcel of the vines from the split of Léoville, becoming Léoville Barton in 1826. Since there was no chai on the property, Hugh Barton began to make Léoville Barton wine at nearby Langoa Barton, a practise that continues to this day.
Hugh was succeeded by his son Ronald, a man wedded to tradition who eschewed modern winemaking practices which were springing up around Bordeaux in the post-WWII years. Thanks to this, the wines produced under his tenure were not of as competitive a quality at they could have been. Leaving no direct heir, Ronald’s stewardship was followed by that of his nephew, Anthony Barton, who manages the estate today- representing 186 years of continuous ownership of the estate by a single family- a Bordeaux record.
Chateau Leoville Barton Price Analysis
Chateau Leoville Barton Pricing
Highest rated vintages for Chateau Leoville Barton
Another titanic effort from the Delon family, the 2005 Leoville Las Cases is probably the greatest wine made at this estate since Jean-Hubert Delon’s father produced the 1986 and 1996. Only 37% of the production made it into the 2005, a blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with less than 13% Merlot and Cabernet Franc. An inky/ruby/purple color is accompanied by reticent aromatics that, with considerable coaxing, offer up subtle notes of toasty vanillin intermixed with lead pencil shavings, wet rocks, and enormously ripe, intense black cherry and creme de cassis. The wine hits the palate with a full-bodied, layered mouthfeel as well as enormous extract, concentration, and purity. This ageless, monumental claret requires a minimum of 15-20 years to approach maturity, and should last for a half century. It is about as classic a Leoville Las Cases as one will find. Anticipated maturity: 2020-2060
A splendid showing, much stronger from bottle than it was from barrel, the Leoville Barton is one of the spectacular wines of the vintage. Inky purple to the rim, its huge tannin gives this wine real potential for 30-50 years of longevity. It is a classic, powerful Bordeaux made with no compromise. A superstar of the vintage, the wine has notes of pen ink and creme de cassis, good acidity, sweet, subtle oak, and massive extraction and concentration. I thought it was one of the most backward wines of the vintage two years ago, and nothing has changed in the ensuing upbringing of the wine in cask except that the wine now seems even richer, denser and fuller than I previously thought. The beautiful purity, symmetry, and huge finish of nearly a minute make this one of the all-time great classics from Leoville Barton. Anticipated maturity: 2028-2065+.
A spectacular success, the opaque plum-colored 2003 Leoville Barton is still on the young side of its plateau of maturity. It exhibits a striking bouquet of forest floor and black currants as well as a full-bodied, exuberant, youthful style, an opaque plum/ruby color, a lot of complexity, and striking depth and richness. This is a profound, stunning effort from Anthony Barton and his team. Bravo! It should continue to provide immense pleasure for 20-30 years.
Not surprisingly, Leoville Las Cases has produced another classic, potentially long-lived wine in 2006. Among the St.-Juliens, it, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Leoville Barton possess the potential for the greatest longevity. Interestingly, when I visited this chateau in January, proprietor Jean-Hubert Delon offered me two samples, one where the cork had been pulled immediately prior to tasting, and another that had been decanted four hours earlier. Both were superb, but the wine that had had extended aeration was clearly the finer offering. The opaque purple-hued 2006- only 40% of the crop made it into the final blend- exhibits a personality that mimics the superb 1996. Classic aromas of sweet black raspberries, kirsch, cassis, and subtle toasty oak are followed by a full-bodied, concentrated wine displaying moderately high tannin. This cuvee can often resemble a Pauillac wrapped in the St.-Julien appellation, and the 2006 is no exception. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, it will require significant cellaring before consumption. Anticipated maturity: 2019-2035+.
Believe it or not, the 1990 Leoville Barton can actually be drunk - something that cannot be said about the broodingly backward, still excruciatingly tannic 1982. The exceptionally concentrated 1990 reveals more polished, sweeter tannins along with a big, sweet kiss of black currant, forest floor, cedar, and spice box notes. While it still has some tannins to shed, this full-bodied, powerful, long wine is approachable. It should continue to evolve for another two decades. Release price: ($350.00/case)
Head and shoulders above its stablemate, Langoa Barton, proprietor Anthony Barton's 2009 Leoville Barton is another massive, excruciatingly rich, tannic, potentially long-aged wine. Meant for consumers with old fashioned tastes, it boasts a dense opaque purple color as well as a bouquet of licorice, forest floor, unsmoked cigar tobacco and a hint of earth. The wine reveals tremendous denseness and richness, a broad, savory mouthfeel and elevated tannins in the finish. However, there is a sweetness to the tannins and no trace of bitterness and astringency, always a sign of a top vintage as well as fully mature grapes. Still a monolithic baby, this 2009 should be forgotten for at least a decade, and consumed over the next 30-50 years.
Typically extracted and powerful (which is atypical in a vintage such as 2008), this offering may lack charm, but it is 'locked and loaded' with plenty of background oak, huge black cherry and black currant fruit, medium to full body and a boatload of tannin. Forget it for 8-10 years and drink it over the following three decades.
This is an impressively endowed vin de garde that should age effortlessly for 20-30 years. How Anthony Barton continues to fashion uncompromisingly primordial Bordeaux that are always among the biggest and densest of all the St.-Juliens is beyond me, but he does it year in and year out. Moreover, when it's time to set the price, he appears to have the consumer foremost in his mind. The 2004 is a classic Leoville-Barton meant for long aging. Concentrated, with loads of smoke, creme de cassis, forest floor, and earthy notes emerge from this impressive, but oh, so backward wine. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+.
Even better from bottle than from cask, and one of the finest wines of the vintage, this dense purple-colored 2002 reveals wonderfully sweet notes of charcoal, fresh mushrooms, smoke, earth, leather, cassis, and cedar. Full-bodied, highly extracted, broodingly backward, dense, and deep, this impressively endowed offering is built for the long term. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2028. One of the classic wines of Bordeaux and still realistically priced, Leoville-Barton is becoming increasingly popular because of the extraordinary quality/price ratio it offers.
Consistent from bottle (I tasted it three times), this is an outstanding offering, although not quite at the prodigious level of the 2000. Civilized and approachable for a young Leoville-Barton, it exhibits a saturated plum/purple color along with classic Bordelais aromas of damp earth, creme de cassis, smoke, vanillin, and tobacco. Medium to full-bodied and rich, with high but well-integrated tannin, and a long, 40+ second finish, it should turn out to be a brilliant effort, and one of the stars of the Medoc. However, patience is essential. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2020.