Château Langoa Barton 2012
The wines of Château Langoa Barton have the gracefully elegant fruit of a Saint Julien coupled with the masculine, cedar qualities associated with a Pauillac during their strongest vintages. If one is fortunate enough to visit the estate, the impressively large 18th Century Château might look familiar. That is because this château is also the facility where the renowned “Super Second” and sister property, Château Léoville-Barton produces their wines.
The structure on the label of the grand vin of Château Léoville Barton is actually Château Langoa Barton. The histories and legacies of these two estates are so inextricably linked that it is impossible to discuss one without mentioning the other. Though Château Leoville Barton often overshadows its younger sister, Château Langoa Barton, things are starting to change. Both estates have impressively remained under the supervision of the Barton family for nine generations, and as the quality continues to increase it’s only a mere matter of time before they reach the levels of a Super Second.
It is quite impressive that Château Langoa Barton has remained under the ownership of the Barton family since it was classified as a Third Growth in 1855. The estate originated in 1722 when Thomas Barton – an Irishman -- wanted to enter the wine business at the tender age of 27. Thomas was successful due to his extensive list of French contacts such as partnerships with the powerful negociant family, Barton and Guestier. Thomas decided to keep the majority of his assets in Ireland due to a French Law that stated if a foreigner had assets in France, the estate would be willed to the French crown upon their passing. Fortunately, Thomas had a son who was a French citizen, and Château Langoa Barton could remain in the family.
An impressive nine generations of Bartons have managed this estate through tremendous highs and lows such as the French Revolution, the terror, Phylloxera, the Bordeaux crisis in the 1950s, and beyond. The level of commitment to Château Langoa Barton and passion that flows in the veins of the Barton family is evident, and it’s clear throughout the years the increasing quality of these wines has reflected that. The estate started to receive critical acclaim under the leadership of Anthon Barton, who took over when his uncle Ronald died in 1986. Château Langoa Barton is currently managed by Lilian Barton Sartorious, and the technical director of the estate is Melanie Barton Sartorious – the first oenologist in the Barton dynasty.
The 18-hectare vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. It is the smallest vineyard in the vast Léoville estate. The Barton family has increased the percentages of Merlot plantings over the years, and they believe there are scattered plantings of Petit Verdot in their distinctive, gravely terroir. Ten percent of the property is farmed organically, and the wines are vinified in the same vat room as the wines of Château Leoville Barton. According to the renowned wine critic, Robert Parker Jr, the wines of Château Langoa-Barton are grossly underpriced and significantly over deliver in terms of value.
"Plenty of juicy blackcurrant fruit and background oak are present in this plump, medium to full-bodied, ripe, well-made wine. Not nearly as tannic as I feared, this wine shows a forward plumpness, excellent purity, texture and length. Drink it over the next 15-20 years." Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate Issue 218, Rating: 90 Drink: 2015-2035