STORY BEHIND THIS WINE
Irishman Thomas ‘French Tom’ Barton, one of the so called ‘Wine Geese’, left Co. Fermanagh for France in 1722 and became a merchant, initially trading French brandy for Irish wool before becoming a highly successful Bordeaux wine merchant. His grandson Hugh bought Ch. Langoa Barton in 1821 and a section of vineyards from the Léoville estate in 1826. Both were included in the famous 1855 classification and are unusual in still being owned by the same family. Current owner Anthony Barton was born in 1930 in Straffan House, built by Hugh, and it is now the K Club, but the estate is run by his daughter Lilian Barton Sartorius, the ninth generation. Ch. Leoville Barton has never had its own chateau and the pretty one on the label is in fact Ch. Langoa Barton, where both wines are made.
Today the estate’s 51 hectares are mostly gravel over clay and are planted to 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc and they make about 20,000 cases. The wines are fermented in large wooden vats and aged for 16-18 months in French barriques, about 50-60% of which are new.
2015 is considered a very good to excellent vintage in Bordeaux and very welcome after four previous tricky vintages. July was one of the warmest on record and man thought it would be too hot and dry but it was followed by a wet August bringing much needed respite. The most successful terroirs were those with enough clay to hold water in July but enough gravel to allow the excess rain to drain away and St Julien has exactly that so Léoville Barton was very successful and lauded by all the major critics. The final cuvée was 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14 Merlot and it was aged for 16 months in French barriques, 60% new.
95pts Neil Martin, vinous.com
“The 2015 Léoville Barton has one of the richest bouquets in the appellation, boasting almost ostentatious blackberry, raspberry and bilberry scents on the nose, suffused with crushed limestone and light graphite aromas. The medium-bodied palate is taut and crisp, delivering a fine bead of acidity and freshness from beginning to end. Mainly black fruit here, with suggestions of leather and mocha toward the finish. Superb.
95pts. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate,
96pts. James Suckling