Chateau Leoville Barton

Wine Producers » Chateau Leoville Barton

Wine Name: Leoville Barton

Region: Medoc

Appellation: Saint Julien

Classification: Second Growths

Average annual production: 20,000 cases

Grapes (Typical Blend): Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (8%).

Made by: Anthony Barton

Owned by: Chateau Leoville Barton

A little history: Leoville Barton was, of course, once past of the vast Alexandre de Gasq’s Leoville empire. It wasn’t, however, part of the post Revolution split that saw the estate divide into Leoville Las Cases & Leoville Poyferré, steming from rather less grand beginnings. Leoville Barton’s vines were in fact off-shoots from the Leoville Las Cases’ estate, bought by wiley businessman Hugh Barton in 1826.

The Barton family had come over from Ireland some hundred years before & started out as negoçiants. After the success of their first chateau purchase in 1745 (Le Bosq), they built up quite the business empire: merchants Barton & Guestier still trade today! Their first purchase in the Médoc was Pontent-Langlois, which was promptly renamed to Langoa Barton, so when neighbouring vines from the Las Cases estate became available, famille Baron were quick off the mark to snap them up.

What is unusual about Leoville Barton is its lack of chateau, & indeed production facilities. Grapes are therefore taking over the road, due East, to sister property Langoa Barton where they are processed, fermented & bottled! Even the rather beautiful (it was privy to successive embellishments during the Art-Deco period) label pays homage to this sorority: Langoa Barton being the depicted chateau. Despite sharing faciliites & being so close to each other, their end products are sufficiently different: Leoville Barton’s vines get far more sun & are in fact older vines, averaging 30 years old.

Leoville Barton is perhaps best defined by its strong sense of tradition: something Ronald Barton was a stickler for. He shunned the new processes & techniques being pushed forward on the neighbouring Leoville esates & kept everything as simple & traditional as possible; this was carried on by his son, Antony Barton when he took charge in 1983: standing against the soaring Bordeaux price-tag & keeping feet firmly on the ground. This was only to change in 2005. It is, however, the only classed chateau of the 1855 Classification to still remain in the same family, surely telling a tale in itself.