Château Leoville Barton 2022
Château Léoville Barton is steeped in the traditions of the past but make no mistake -- the future for this brilliant estate is an exciting and promising one. With a remarkable history entrenched in a single-family dynasty, Château Léoville Barton boasts the longest familial legacy of a vineyard in all of Bordeaux. Château Léoville Barton has proudly been in the Barton family for centuries, starting in 1725 with Thomas Barton, an Irishman.
Château Léoville Barton was once part of the enormous Léoville Estate, consisting of Château Léoville Barton, Château Léoville Las Cases, and Château Léoville Poyferré. The large property was sectioned off to nobility and fell into Thomas’ hands. Thomas had no choice but to hold onto the estate for the remainder of his life; if he passed away, the holdings would be given to the French Crown due to his Irish heritage. Eventually, the stubborn and unyielding Thomas passed it on to his son, Hugh. Hugh wanted to take over the family business and become a négociant or wine merchant. Hugh had quite the talent for working in the Wine Trade, and Château Léoville Barton thrived under his leadership.
Château Léoville Barton was given the ranking of Second Growth during the 1855 Classification. It is impossible to talk about Château Léoville Barton without mentioning its sister property, Château Langoa Barton. There is no château at Léoville Barton; the wines are all made in the same vat room as the wines at the other estate. Interestingly enough, the structure depicted on a label of Château Léoville Barton is actually the property at Château Langoa Barton. One might ask what the difference is between the two wines if they have the same staff and same vinification room. Though both wines have a ripe, concentrated, spiciness, Château Léoville Barton has garnered quite a bit of attention over the years.
The wines from this esteemed producer are unique to Saint-Julien due to their higher concentrations of Cabernet Sauvignon. This is reflected in the plantings of the vineyards at this 51 Hectare property. The gravely topsoil is planted with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and dwindling percentages of Cabernet Franc. Since they’ve increased their percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon in the wine, they continue to plant more of this varietal in the vineyard. Interestingly enough, their oldest vines are Merlot – some of which are 60 years old.
Many wine drinkers are often taken aback by the strength and fortitude these wines possess, and stylistically they resemble the wines of Pauillac more than their softer Saint-Julien counterparts. Under the new ownership of Anthony Barton, the quality of these wines continues to skyrocket. The esteemed wine critic, Robert Parker Jr, considers the wines of Château Léoville Barton to be, “grossly underpriced,” and the quality level to be close to “Super Second Level.” The accolades continue to pour in. Château Léoville Barton’s 2016 vintage enjoyed critical success when the wine was rated as Wine Spectator’s #1 Most Interesting Wine in 2019. Get ready world – it is clear Château Léoville Barton has arrived.
"One of the stars of the Médoc and a wine likely to equal or surpass its 2019 and 2016 counterparts, the 2022 Léoville Barton unwinds in the glass with deep aromas of cassis, pencil shavings, spices and tobacco leaf, followed by a medium to full-bodied, deep and layered palate that's vibrant, pure and seamless, with beautifully classy tannins and a long, penetrating finish. The 2022 is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.5% Merlot and 5.5% Cabernet Franc; and it's the first vintage produced in the estate's new winery, which more than doubled the number of vats, permitting sub-plot by sub-plot harvesting and vinification, along with a number of other technical improvements which translate into enhanced purity and precision." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (4/28/2023), Ratings: (96-97)+
"The 2022 Leoville Barton is composed of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.5% Merlot, and 5.5% Cabernet Franc, ageing in 60% new oak. Deep garnet-purple in color, the glass needs quite a lot of swirling to bring out evocative notes of black currant jelly, boysenberry preserves, and juicy plums, plus suggestions of pencil shavings, lilacs, crushed rocks, and cinnamon toast. The elegantly styled, medium to full-bodied palate is very tightly wound with layer upon layer of black fruits and earthy nuances, framed by super-ripe, fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and minerally. It will likely require some patience, but it promises to be a knock-out. Yields this year were 30 hectoliters per hectare, which isn’t too bad considering how tiny the berries were this year. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown Ratings: 95-97
"The 2022 Château Léoville Barton is another pretty, elegant wine from this talented team. A blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11.5 % Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, its ruby/purple hue is followed by a beautiful perfume of ripe red and black fruits, smoked tobacco, graphite, and violets. Playing in the medium to full-bodied end of the spectrum, it has fine tannins, a supple, elegant mouthfeel, and a great finish. It's surprisingly approachable yet I wouldn't be surprised to see this firm up over the course of its élevage." - Jeb Dunnuck (5/10/2023) Ratings: 94-96+
"The 2022 Léoville Barton is a total model of classicism, even in this warm, dry year. All of the Léoville Barton signatures are present, even if the wine is still coming together. Blue/purplish fruit, lavender, spice, gravel and dried herbs open nicely in the glass, but it is the wine’s energy and overall tension that I find most surprising. This is classic as classic gets. Not interested in making the richest or showiest wines, nor interested in jacking up prices as high as they can be. Readers will find a straightforward (in the best sense of the term) Saint-Julien that captures the best of what Bordeaux can be. Just enough of everything, but not too much of any one thing" - Neal Martin, Vinous (5/2023) Ratings: 93-95
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