CHÂTEAU LANGOA BARTON

2017 3ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

EN PRIMEUR

Tasted 3 times and every time this impressed. Nice and bright feel. Immediately intense and energetic. This is loaded with fizzing red and crisp blue fruit - and has great drive. It is not a heavy-weight and has an enticing coolness and fresh middle which pushes along nicely. Rich red flesh and perky blue skinned fruit balance brilliantly here. Good flow and form. Finishes riper - but still lithe. A pretty 13% alcohol. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc. 60% new wood. No frost issues and a good vintage here according to Damien and Lillian Barton, with just the September rain causing some issues with their Merlot. Drinking range: 2022 - 2040 Rating: 92 - 93 L&S (Apr 2018)

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The 2017 Langoa Barton was picked from 15 to 18 September with respect to the Merlot and from 22 to 29 September for the Cabernets, matured in 60% new oak. It has a ripe, brine-tinged bouquet, not complex compared to previous vintages, but pure and developing light smoke and truffle scents with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with quite sharp tannin to create a tensile Langoa-Barton, saline with moderate depth, just a touch of pencil lead that surfaces towards the finish. It is exactly what I expected, which is a good thing given the track record of this Saint-Julien. Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)

Healthy cherry red. Inviting and elegant dark-fruit aroma with just a light char. Here, after several left-bank wines that lacked enough fruit depth in the middle, is one that has weight and depth on the mid palate that gives a rounded, fresh and complete wine. Succulent, juicy and well-structured for the longer term but still elegant. Drinking range: 2027 - 2040 Rating: 17 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2018)

There is no doubt that this offers a good expression of the appellation in the medium to long term, but there's a slightly wider gap between Léoville and Langoa this year - the first time I've felt that in several years, and perhaps a reflection of the slightly cooler terroir here. It's impressively structured and well held together, with black fruits which aren't as concentrated as the estate has displayed in the previous two vintages, but it displays an innate St-Julien elegance. Drinking range: 2025 - 2038 Rating: 92 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)

The 2017 Château Langoa Barton showed beautifully both times I was able to taste it. Black cherries, plums, leafy herbs and spring flowers all emerge from this medium-bodied, ripe, lively Saint-Julien that shows the pretty, charming, elegant style of the vintage. As with all the wines from this vintage, it’s not massive by any means, yet it is nicely concentrated and impeccably balanced. The blend is 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, with harvest stretching between the 15th and 18th of September for the Merlot and the 22nd to the 29th of September for the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It’s still aging in 60% new oak. Rating: 90-92 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)

This is very solid and tannic with a beautiful core of blueberries, blackcurrants and other blue fruits. Crushed stones, to boot. Full body and a flavorful finish. Serious for the vintage. Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)

A solid core of cassis and plum fruit fills out nicely here, with graphite and tobacco notes coursing underneath. Shows good cut and drive. Textbook St.-Julien. Rating: 90-93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)

This is a step up compared to many wines in the commune, the aromatics showing a very fine purity, with icing sugar dusted upon sweet red cherry fruit. The overall style is fresh and convincing. The palate continues this rather elegant beginning, with a sense of charm, poise, freshness and lift. It has a medium-bodied substance, in keeping with the character of the vintage, carrying the ripe red cherry fruits suggested by the nose, with a supple grip of underlying tannin. It feels quite complete, with a fresh acid backbone, dry and savoury, but showing elegant poise. Underneath it all it is in fact very structured, but these tannins feel ripe as well as firm, and overall I think this works rather well. Rating: 92-94 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2018)

Hugh Barton acquired the estate of Château Pontet-Langlois (and re-named it Langoa-Barton) in 1821, a few years before he then bought a portion of the estate of the Marquis de Léoville Beauvais, which he renamed Léoville Barton. The Barton's ownership of Langoa is the longest ownership by one family of any estate in the Médoc. There was no château to the Loville portion, and the wines were, and still are, made at Langoa. The Bartons had already been a fixture of the Bordeaux wine trade for a hundred years at this stage - Thomas Barton left his native Ireland in 1722 and settled in Bordeaux, eventually buying Château le Boscq in St Estèphe in 1745. His grandson Hugh, who bought the two Barton estates, developed a wine merchant's business with Daniel Guestier (Barton & Guestier), and the Guestier family proved crucial in protecting the Barton's châteaux during both the French Revolution and World War II when the Bartons had to flee France. Langoa Barton's vineyard classed as a 'Troisieme Cru Classé' in 1855, is quite small for this part of the Médoc with only 17 hectares in production. Planted with mostly Cabernet and Merlot, at 9100 vines per hectare, like Léoville itself. Also like Léoville, it is a terroir of deep gravel over clay. The average vine age is around 35 years.