Château Léoville Barton, 2ème Cru Classé, St Julien, 2003

  Château Léoville Barton

We are concerned that the 2004 Barton may exhibit a vague goût de camionette, as we found one upside-down on it’s roof among the vines on our previous visit in January this year, after trying to escape from the Pauillac gendarmes. Luckily, we had no concerns whatever for the 2003. We had heard ahead of our tasting that the 2003 Léoville-Barton was head and shoulders above the local competition, and were glad to find this to be true. Never flashy, never over-made, always honest and seriously good, Barton is occasionally a stunner – as it is this time round. Very good concentration on the nose, with slightly less of the usually strong dark-fruit character (Barton sometimes shows hints of tar and rubber from barrel), the fruit on the palate is tightly packed, a mix of blackberry, loganberry and cassis, with excellent clarity and a hint of bitter chocolate. It has a beautifully seductive, soft exterior. The overall impression is one of polish, balance and great length. Similarly, a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and 10 Cabernet Franc, cropped at 40hl/ha.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Léoville Barton

The vineyards at Leoville Barton originally formed part of the great Leoville estate. Following the death of Marquis de la Cases, the vast property was split into three; the Marquis’ son Jean-Pierre took the third that is now Leoville Las Cases, the Marquis’ daughter, Jeanne’s share became what we know as Leoville Poyferre following her marriage to the Baron de Poyferre and the final third was auctioned off and purchased by Hugh Barton, who has recently purchased Langoa in 1821. Today the estate is expertly run by Anthony Barton, one of the best respected propriétaire in Bordeaux. He makes wines to be enjoyed on the table and is quite outspoken about wine being used as an investment vehicle. He prices his wines for consumers and as such has a legion of devoted followers.

The vineyard comprises 47 hectares on classically gravelly St Julien soils over clay. Plantings are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (72%) with 20% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Franc. The Grand vin is one of the most popular cru Classé in the UK market, but the less well known second label, Reserve de Leoville Barton offers similarly good value and is much more accessible in its youth.

Appellation: St Julien

St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.