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Chateau Leoville-Barton

leo-bart.jpgI would suggest that Léoville-Barton would be the quintessential Englishman’s Claret, for a variety of reasons such as ease of pronunciation and familiarity with the wine (given its owner, Anthony Barton, actually hails from Ireland), accessibility (the 30,000 or so cases are widely distributed) and its classic, reserved and age-worthy style.  It is also one of the true bargains, as each year it is released early during the campaign for a more-than-reasonable price.

Stylistically the wines are brooding, powerful and reserved, and requiring plenty of cellaring to reveal their full potential.  They can be quite difficult to taste as young wines, and I’m sure that history will show that I, like many others before me, have underestimated some of these wines as primeur samples.


There are 47 hectares of vines, planted immediately behind the village of St.-Julien, planted to 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc.  Historically all three Léovilles were the one property, being separated (through convoluted means, of course) in 1840.  There is, of course, no Château at Barton, so the wines are made at Langoa-Barton (also owned by the Barton family).


Fermentation and all maceration takes place in custom-built 200hl wooden vats, which were acquired and installed between 1963 and 2001.  These are temperature-controlled.  The wine then spends between 18 and 21 months in oak, of which approximately half is new.  The wines are both fined and filtered prior to bottling.  Unusually, only a single cooper (Maury) is utilised .

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