2017 2ème Cru Classé Saint Julien


Wow a real stand-out at each occasion we tasted. A text-book Barton and classic St Julien - yet this is ahead of so many in 2017 for its impeccable balance and exciting energy. 93% Cabernet and 7% Merlot this year. An enticing cassis crunch here on the nose - is really attractive. This follows on the palate with a compact coiled energy to the bright and juicy fruit. Blackberry and raspberry notes have a pure feel, there is a lovely precision to it which almost disguises the density and powerful weight of fruit. Beautifully balanced and the intensity is well handled. Energy continues right through. Clean lines, but detailed and nuanced. Lovely level of ripe and fine tannins. They harvested the Merlot between the 15 and 18 September and the Cabernet from the 22nd to 29th. 60% New Wood No frost issues thankfully, a good vintage here according to Damien and Lillian Barton, with just the September rain causing some issues with their Merlot - so they reduced this has mostly gone in to the 2nd wine and we have a high Cabernet level in the Grand Vin - which is delicious. Rating: 95 L&S (Apr 2018)

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Packed with ripe, lively plum, blackberry and black currant fruit, backed by melted black licorice and bramble accents throughout, this retains a sense of polish despite its energetic fruit and structure. Ends with an encore of warm plum reduction. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Best from 2023 through 2037. 10,833 cases made. Drinking range: 2023 - 2037James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Jan 2020)

The 2017 Léoville Barton has a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon this year at 93%, the remainder is Merlot. It was picked between 15 and 18 September for the Merlot and 22 to 29 September for the Cabernet Sauvignon, then aged in 60% new oak. It has a perfumed and pure bouquet that demonstrates a little more cohesion and refinement than some of its Saint-Julien peers. Blackberry and touches of bilberry fruit, cedar and crushed stone – this is a knockout nose with bags of potential. The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannin, perfectly pitched acidity and beautifully integrated oak. Seriously, this is nudging (not equaling, nudging!) the 2016 in terms of quality and there are just a handful of properties where I can state that this year. Drinking range: 2022 - 2045 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, (May 2018)

Deepest crimson. Dark, savoury and spicy black fruit with a lovely balsamic note but also a light vanilla sweetness and a more subdued graphite layer. Complex already. On the palate, this is succulent, firm but polished. Tannins are very fine, definite. A harmonious whole and a juicy finish. Drinking range: 2025 - 2035 Rating: 17 Julia Harding MW, (Apr 2018)

The 2017 Leoville Barton is deep garnet-purple in color with a nose of warm cassis, fresh blackberries and blueberries with hints of violets, dark chocolate and licorice. Medium-bodied with a rock-solid frame of grainy tannins and wonderful freshness, it gives a fantastic core of fruit and wonderful length. Rating: 91-93 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, (Apr 2018)

This has a stronger, tighter and more concentrated expression in this vintage than its sister property, although it's not as concentrated as its last few vintages. It's back to a more old school expression for the appellation, suiting the vintage, and it's one of the better-framed wines on display here. Good quality, with ground coffee, dark chocolate and tight cassis notes, all subtly and harmoniously put together. Drinking range: 2024 - 2038 Rating: 95 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)

The deep, inky-colored 2017 Léoville-Barton is a classic, powerhouse wine from this estate that’s going to need bottle age. Loads of black and blue fruits, violets, classy oak, and ample minerality all soar from the glass. It’s medium to full-bodied, concentrated, and backward on the palate. With fabulous purity and integrated acidity, forget bottles for 5-6 years and enjoy over the following two decades. The blend in 2017 is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot, harvested from the 15th to the 29th of September, and aging in 60% new French oak. Rating: 94-96 Jeb Dunnuck, (Apr 2018)

This is a really excellent Leoville-Barton with wonderful cabernet sauvignon character of blackberries, blackcurrants and flowers. Full body, firm and lightly chewy tannins and a long and beautiful finish. This has tension and brightness. Rating: 94-95 James Suckling, (Apr 2018)

This manages to pack in some serious plum, blackberry and black currant compote flavors, along with layers of melted black licorice and tar on the finish. This has a density that sets it apart from the pack in the vintage, with a lovely roasted apple wood note on the finish. Rating: 93-96 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)

Tasted alongside its stablemate Langoa-Barton, this barrel sample presents a rather appealing nose, filled with fresh, sweet, glossy and ultimately convincing fruit character on the nose. Compared to many other wines in the commune, it has greater purity, definition and expression, presenting the aromas of crushed black cherry and sweet blackcurrant too, dressed with a little toast from the oak, and an icing-sugar intensity. The palate shows real substance at the start in keeping with that confident nose, with a lovely polished-fruit presence, very confident, medium-bodied but correct. This comes with a fine underpinning of fresh tannic grip, really wrapping itself tightly around the fruit on the palate. It has a sense not only of balance but of real potential. It has length too, where harmony and freshness abound. This is a quite lovely result in this vintage. Rating: 93-95 Chris Kissack, (Apr 2018)

St Julien Deuxième cru 1855

When the Marquis de Las-Cases-Beauvoir fled France during the Revolution, his Léoville estate was seized with an eye to selling it off. In the end, only a quarter was sold (although a further division occured a few years later), and this was purchased by Hugh Barton who had acquired the neighbouring estate of Château Pontet-Langlois (and re-named it Langoa-Barton) a few years earlier in 1821. The Barton's ownership of Langoa is the longest ownership by one family of any estate in the Médoc.

Hugh's original intention, so it is said, in purchasing a portion of the Léoville estate was to sell it back to the emigré Marquis, but he was an emigré Marquis without sufficient means and the estate stayed with the Barton family, becoming Château Léoville Barton. There was no château attached 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.

Léoville Barton has 51 hectares in production, the vineyard is of top-class deep gravels - part of the bank that is closest to the Gironde, continuing southward from Las Cases and Poyferré, with Ducru Beaucaillou beyond - with clay underneath. It is densely planted (9100 plants per hectare) with around 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and most of the rest being Merlot.