The history of Château Léoville Barton began in 1722, when Irishman Thomas Barton moved from Ireland to the Bordeaux region, where he established a successful trading company. His grandson bought Château Langoa and part of the Léoville estate in 1826. Current owner Anthony Barton lives in the beautiful 18th century Château Langoa and makes two wines, Château Léoville Barton and Château Langoa-Barton. He now owns 51 hectares of vineyard at Chateau Léoville-Barton which lie close to the Gironde, sandwiched between the water and Chateau Talbot. They have a typical St Julien terroir of gravelly soils over deep clay. Plantings are are 74% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder being 23% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, reflecting the classic, Cabernet-dominated wine produced in the region.
Despite initially challenging weather, the 2018 Bordeaux vintage was excellent. The winter was unusually wet and remained so throughout spring. Hail also struck some vineyards during this period. However, conditions eased, allowing for a successful flowering followed by a particularly hot, dry summer with surprisingly cool nights, from June through to September. September brought welcome rains, reviving the vines. Harvest took place under ideal conditions, producing small, thick-skinned and highly concentrated berries, resulting in rich wines, with balancing acidity and a fresh, fruity appeal.
The vines are trained according to the Double Guyot method, with high density planting. The average age of the vines is 45 years, producing an average yield of 42 hectolitres per hectare. The soil is gravel of varying depths on top of a clay sub-soil. Traditional ploughing and pruning take place; weed killers are not used and there is a limited use of fertilisers.
Fermentation lasted approximately five days during which time the must was pumped over twice daily. The wine was left on the skins for approximately two weeks dependent on the quality of the crop, to extract colour, flavour and fine tannins. The wine was then drawn off and the skins pressed to obtain the pressed wine, an important component in the final blend. Malolactic conversion took place in the vats, rounding out the palate, after which the wine was aged in French oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling.
The second wine of Leoville Barton, this traditionally styled Bordeaux has an expressive nose of forest berries with hints of cedar, coffee and a touch of vanilla spice. Elegant and refined, with a long finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 23%, Cabernet Franc 7%.
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