The January installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on the wines of Léoville-Barton. As I mentioned in the first installment, the purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. The winning bottle will be opened on this Saturday and a Bottle Note will be published the following week.
Anthony Barton, the owner of second-growth Chateau Léoville Barton and third-growth Chateau Langoa Barton, died just a week ago at the age of 91. In 1983, Anthony inherited Léoville Barton and Langoa Barton from his uncle, and he lived at the chateau from 1986 with his wife, Eva. Under the helm of Anthony, Leoville Barton excelled and is commonly referred to a “Super Second” growth with the likes of Pichon Baron, Montrose and Cos d’Estournel. The wines of Léoville Barton have proven to be exceptionally long lived and all the examples below should be no exception.
- 1990 Léoville-Barton – Believe it or not, the 1990 Leoville Barton can actually be drunk – something that cannot be said about the broodingly backward, still excruciatingly tannic 1982. The exceptionally concentrated 1990 reveals more polished, sweeter tannins along with a big, sweet kiss of black currant, forest floor, cedar, and spice box notes. While it still has some tannins to shed, this full-bodied, powerful, long wine is approachable. It should continue to evolve for another two decades. (06/2009) 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
- 1995 Léoville-Barton – Somewhat closed and reticent after bottling, but still impressive, this 1995 possesses a dark ruby/purple color, as well as an oaky nose with classic scents of cassis, vanillin, cedar, and spice. Dense and medium to full-bodied, with softer tannin and more accessibility than the 1996, but not quite the packed and stacked effect on the palate, the 1995 is an outstanding textbook St.-Julien that will handsomely repay extended cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2025. (02/1998) 91 points from he Wine Advocate.
- 1996 Leoville Barton – The aromatics unfurl gracefully in the glass revealing briary, wild hedgerow, black truffle and sandalwood scents — firmly in secondary aroma stage but with appreciable presence and intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with grippy tannin that form its firm and classic structure, spice, white pepper and cloves infusing the slightly animally red berry fruit. This is an adorable Léoville Barton that is occupying a very ‘happy’ place at the moment — superb precision, old school claret at its best. Decant for an hour no more, then enjoy. (10/2016) 93 points from the Wine Advocate.
Which Wine Should I Open in Memory of Anthony Barton
- 1990 Léoville-Barton (47%, 9 Votes)
- 1996 Léoville-Barton (37%, 7 Votes)
- 1995 Léoville-Barton (16%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 19
Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another.
Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the February Installment of Pick My Next Bottle.