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This wonderful vintage of an iconic wine prompted critical harmony. Jancis Robinson 17.5 points said it was “full, rich, intense” while Decanter 94 points found it “refined, elegant, and smooth” with “loads of dark berry and currant fruit”. Robert Parker 95+points noted that it delivers “a superstar nose of crème de cassis, plum preserves and blueberry compote with suggestions of fragrant earth, unsmoked cigars, liquorice and cedar chest”; Wine Spectator 97 points concluded that “both regal and rambunctious, this is St-Julien to a T”. Yes this is a wine for the ages.
Food Pairing: Classic meat dishes
Cellaring: No rush. This will reward patience; very good until mid-2040s.
STORY BEHIND THIS WINE
Château Léoville-Barton, arguably the leading name of the so-called “Wine Geese” estates, has a long and colourful history with deep and enduring ties to Ireland. The story begins with Thomas Barton leaving his Fermanagh home for France in 1722 to build on family business connections. Three years later he created his first wine merchant company in Bordeaux. The company prospered but Thomas Barton refused to buy any vineyards owing to a French law which meant that all property owned by foreigners would revert to the French crown on their death.
Indeed, after the family had endured some difficult times, it fell to his grandson, Hugh Barton, to buy the vineyards that carry the family name to this day. In 1821 he bought Château Langoa and, five years later, a plot from the Léoville domaine, which he subsequently renamed Léoville Barton. In 1835 he bought land in Co Kildare upon which he built Straffan House (now the K Club), which would serve as the family home for the following generations and in which Anthony Barton, the current owner of the vineyards in Bordeaux, was born in 1930. He had inherited the vineyards from his uncle, Ronald Barton.
Today, Anthony’s daughter, Lilian Barton Sartorius, the ninth generation, has in turn taken over from her father, helped by her two children Mélanie and Damien. Although only a second growth, according to the 1855 Classification, Léoville Barton has long been considered one of the most outstanding and consistent estates in Bordeaux and one held in great affection by critics and aficionados alike.
The late British wine critic, Steven Spurrier, writing in Decanter in 2017, stated that “in my mind, Bordeaux is inseparable from the Barton family. Langoa and Léoville Barton are the only châteaux from the 1855 Classification, along with Mouton-Rothschild, that remain in the hands of the same family….To say that Léoville Barton is ‘benchmark St-Julien’ is inadequate, for it is the family’s expression of their vineyards, through thick and thin, since 1826 – and this is what shows.” Read more.