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Château Léoville Barton


Address: 33250 St Julien-Beychevelle

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 59 06 05



Sister property to Château Langoa-Barton under the same ownership, Château Léoville Barton is a slice of the great Léoville estate, purchased in 1826 by Hugh Barton. Anthony Barton runs this estate today, along with Langoa-Barton, marking the sixth generation of the family that has been involved in the running of the property. Brillant terroir here and absolutely textbook St Julien, surely a benchmark in terms of the classical style of the appellation.

There has been a bit of spottiness in my tasting of some of the wines, a couple have been unusually austere, but nevertheless this is an estate that is undoubtedly on top form in the new millennia. For me 2009 is clearly first growth quality. 2010 is almost its equal, in a more classical style. Again Chateau Léoville-Barton is reasonably priced given the quality and the pricing of its peers Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Poyferré and Léoville-Las-Cases.

Vineyard/Terroir: 50 hectares on gravel with a clay subsoil planted with 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermented in temperature controlled wooden vats and then aged in barrel for twenty months 50% of which are new.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and opaque at centre; pure blackcurrant aromatics; attractive; composed; refined palate; fresh and nicely done; layers to the fruit; minerality; tannins ripe but need age to soften. Classical Leoville-Barton in that respect. Nice length. [86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 13% alc, 60% new oak]. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95+
  • 2014 Deep and dark; saturated at centre; colour tight to the rim; deep blackcurrant aromatics; some cassis; blackcurrant aromatics really open up in the glass; cool entry to the palate; nicely balanced; pure; lots of matter and extract; good concentration; nicely measured and proportional; grip and density on the finish. Excellent Léoville Barton. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. 60% new oak. Drink 2023-2035. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 92-94
  • 2013 Deep and saturated; tight to the rim; inky look; cool blackcurrant fruit with some black cherry tones; feels full; blackcurrant fruit tones on the palate; nicely layered; more grip and tannin than Langoa Barton. Classical Leoville Barton. Nice extract overall. Needs to settle but all the elements are there. [85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 60% new oak, 13% alc]. Tasted UGC 1/4/14. Drink 2020-2035. 89-91+
  • 2012 Mid depth; little more solid and closed at first than Langoa; blackcurrant fruit beneath on aeration; spicy St Julien qualities revealed; blackcurrant and fresh tobacco notes; quite sturdy palate with tannins a bit angular; acidity present and freshness; a classical, rather bracing St Julien which will come good with time. Drink 2018-2030. 90 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep colour; vibrant at edge; some blackcurrant; black cherry; quite deep; fresh and grippy palate; correct; has purity and tannin but will come good. Fresh. 89-91 Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note – better showing] Deep colour; very nice purity of fruit; cassis; blackcurrant; fruit compote; blackcurrants on the palate; quite fresh; stalky Cab; but clean and fresh with sap and tannin [and plenty of material]. 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc 60% new oak 13% alc. 90-92
  • 2011 Deeper hue than Langoa with more depth; stalky blackcurrants with some wine gums; fresh and slightly compact palate; fruit currently subdued and backward – feels very tight and taut at present [acid]. Needs time. Drink 2020-2030. 87+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated, blackcurrant purity, fruit compote, fabulous purity – loads of blackcurrant aromas; sweet brambly entry, fruit compote then the structure and grip – tannin too – cooler blue fruits here but really fab fruit – blackcurrants and blackberry tones. Excellent effort. One of the standout wines of the appellation. Nice grip and tannin ripe. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Harvest dates 12-23 September]. Tasted twice at UGC. 93-95+ Apr ’12 UGC primeur tasting
  • 2010 Very deep looking; colour the to rim; pure cassis and blackcurrant tones; overt for Léoville-Barton; lovely purity and real classicism to the aromatics; seam of fruit here; inky palate with Cabernet fruit and lots of depth and density; tannin is considerable with chew and grip on the finish. Less polish than Poyferré to the tannins but great effort. Drink 2016-2040 95+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; fresh, ripe blackcurrants on the nose; cassis; some black cherry too; real freshness and purity; lots of fruit, extract and material; blackcurrants, dark plums, cherry; pretty clean flavours; structured and tannic but not seemingly as dry as Léoville Poyferré. 93+ UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Dense and saturated; similarly intense, clean, blackcurrant, some smoke, little lift; some plushness to the nose; cassis notes; smoky blackcurrant palate; very focused and intense; tannin but ripe and well handled. Grippy. Potentially very good but also very long-term. 92-94/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 [Second tasting] Deep and dense; some strawberry and blackcurrants, intense; quite fresh and some lift; dense on the palate with some hardness and not the softest of tannins. Strong wine and strong tannin. Not over-extracted but strongly tannic. Classical again. 91-93+/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC
  • 2009 Deep and fresh looking; blackcurrants, undergrowth, spices – very enticing aromatics – opens up wonderfully in the glass; legs; spices and blackcurrants on the palate – lots of fruit as you’d expect but very nice balance indeed. Blackcurrant and cassis tones dominate the entry and mid-palate – little more austerity on the finish than Leoville-Poyferre and seemingly greater tannic grip. Still positive finish. Tremendous effort. 97+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and very dark; colour to the edge; inky and deep; mineral blackcurrants, a nose seemingly of infinite depth; dense and inky on the palate this is terrific stuff; fresher than Leoville-Poyferre, it is not necessarily better just different in style; this is first growth stuff as I’ve said before. Brilliant wine. Long term. 97+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Very deep and inky; fresh and very intense nose; focused and very precise; loaded to the brim with fruit; but very intense and concentrated; very ripe flavours; red fruits and lift with minerals. Excellent. Fabulous density; lots of extract and concentration; layers; lots and lots of fruit. Blimey! A concentrated and fantastic Leoville-Barton. Nudging First Growth quality here and this is a 30+ year wine. The blend is 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22.5% Merlot, 0.5% Cab Franc. Potentially 96-98+/100. Tasted 30th March & 1st April ’10 UGC Primeur tasting.
  • 2008 Deep looking in the glass; some lift and minerality but feels pretty closed; palate dense, more yielding than the aromatics; promising blackcurrant fruit, structure and some acid. Nice palate with depth and structure. 90+ MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Deep redblack; intense looking in the glass; blackcurrants, oak resin; minerals; quite inky; real quality here yet feels surprisingly fruit driven. Full palate; dense, then come the tannins, which are pretty dry but the fruit is here.  Long haul. Excellent. 92+/100 UGC Oct ’10.
  • 2007 Dark in the glass; minerality and depth on the nose; blackcurrants and graphite too but sense in which it is unyielding; fresh blackcurrants on the palate; quite structured wine with lots of bones and pointy shoulders; grip and acid. Dense and needs time. Potentially 91+/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid red; creamier; more blackcurrants and lead pencil note; quite tannic but slightly rounder and less dry than Langoa. Quite intense and clean with some oak at the back. Very good. 89+/100 UGC London tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Deep and arterial in glass but also fresh looking; plums at first, quite ripe, then very intense blackcurrants, quite pure, almost inky; even more precise than the Leoville Poyferre. Cassis here too. Good chewy, dense palate, quite fresh with lots of guts and material. Also big structure here with acid. Marvelous length here. Wow! This is a great wine. Extracted and powerful and pent up and the oak has been completely soaked up into the wine. Drink now – 2030. 94+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10 [Earlier] Deep black red; classic nose of pencils, cedar and blackcurrants; palate dense but backward with strong acid and firm structure. Classical St Julien and will need lots of time here. 92-93+/100 April ‘10 
  • 1996 Deep red; dark at core; nice pencils on the nose; mid-weight; a little closed on this showing. Some tannins at end. Subdued. Drink now – 2020. 86-88?/100 May ‘08
  • 1993 Reasonable colour; some tobacco and spice on nose; palate a bit mean and austere, hasn’t developed that well. 84/100 Dec ‘06
  • 1990 Deep red; some development; slightly musty nose; palate quite tough and tannic. Again not a good showing here. 84?/100 May ‘08
  • 1985 Jammy quality; nice palate, inky with blackcurrants; good – quite clean blackcurrant fruit. Good palate and nicely balanced. Drink now – 2020. 89+/100 May’ 08
  • 1978 Mahogany; very smoky tobacco, classic  St Julien nose with earthiness and mature notes – simply wonderful; palate soft and well balanced but not quite up to the aroma and later dried out a little in the glass. Fading. 88/100 June ‘04

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