2000 Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) JS96/RP95+
1990 Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) DR94/RP93+
1990 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP97
2000 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP97
2005 Chateau Leoville Barton Second Growth, Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) JD97/AG96/WS96
1989 Chateau Leoville Barton Second Growth, Deuxieme Grand Cru Classe, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) DR95
2009 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) RP100/JD100
2011 Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml) DR95/RP94

Châteaux Léoville Barton & Poyferré: The Epitome of Quintessential and Traditional Bordeaux

The Saint-Julien appellation in the Bordeaux region is home to several prestigious châteaux, each with its own unique character and style. Among them, Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Léoville Barton stand out as prime examples of the area's winemaking excellence. Renowned critics like Lisa Perrotti-Brown have highlighted the property’s recent “qualitative roll” while Robert Parker underscored Anthony Barton's “Midas touch over the last 15 or so years.” What truly distinguishes these estates are their unwavering commitment to producing exceptional wines that remain sensibly priced, making them a cherished choice among Bordeaux aficionados.

Storied Heritage

The story of Châteaux Léoville Poyferré is intertwined with the fascinating history of Bordeaux winemaking. The estate has a lineage dating back to the 17th century when it was part of the vast Léoville estate, which was later divided into Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, and Léoville Poyferré. The estate was named after the Marquis de Las Cases and passed through several hands until it was acquired by the Cuvelier family in 1921, a lineage that still manages the estate today. It was rated a Second Growth in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification and was traditionally the softest of the three Léovilles. However, in the last few decades, the Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine has gained weight and density.

Leoville Barton's roots trace back to 1725 when Thomas Barton, hailing from Ireland, ventured to Bordeaux in pursuit of greener pastures. Thomas quickly gained a passion for wine and established his wine merchant company. By 1737, he had amassed considerable success which garnered an illustrious reputation accompanied by a small fortune. Thomas acquired Chateau Le Boscq and formed a partnership with the prestigious Guestier family, giving rise to Barton and Guestier, which still operates in Bordeaux today.

Following Thomas Barton's passing in 1780, his son William briefly managed the family business. With limited interest in wine, William eventually handed over the estate to his 20-year-old son, Hugh Barton, just six years later. The business flourished under Hugh until the turbulent times of the French Revolution. After a brief imprisonment during the revolution, Hugh and his wife relocated to Ireland to avoid further turmoil. Nevertheless, Hugh maintained ties in Bordeaux. In 1821, he purchased the Pontet-Langlois estate, later renamed Langoa Barton. In 1826, a parcel from the original Leoville estate (Las Cases, Barton, and Poyferre) joined the family holdings, becoming the source of Leoville Barton's exceptional wines.

Notably, the newly acquired estate lacked a production facility or chateau, which required all winemaking to take place at the nearby sister estate, Langoa Barton, a tradition still observed today. Remarkably, the chateau remained in the Barton family's hands, making it one of only two estates from the original 1855 classification still under the same family ownership.

Anthony Barton's Wine Renaissance

The estate's quality resurgence began in 1983 when Anthony Barton assumed full control. He undertook extensive renovations and spent over a decade enhancing the vineyards. By 1994, this dedication paid off, earning Leoville Barton the 23rd highest rank among Bordeaux estates by Wine Spectator. In 2010, Lilian Barton, Anthony's daughter, took the reins after more than 30 years of collaboration with her father. Today, the estate remains firmly within the Barton family's devoted hands.

From Vine to Bottle

Château Léoville Poyferré enjoys a prime location in Saint-Julien, which is renowned for producing some of the most exceptional wines in Bordeaux. The vineyards are situated on gravelly soils, which are typical of the region and are particularly well-suited for the cultivation of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot, the grape varieties used to create their wines.

The estate spans approximately 80 hectares of vineyards, primarily dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon. The meticulous vineyard management, sustainable farming practices, and careful selection of grapes play a pivotal role in creating the unique terroir-driven expression of their wines.

Leoville Barton's vineyards, spanning 126 acres, lie sandwiched between Chateau Leoville Las Cases to the north and Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou to the south. It's predominantly planted to 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, boasting vines averaging 38 years in age, with select Merlot vines reaching up to 60 years. The clay and gravel soils, adjacent to the Gironde River, benefit from ample sunlight and natural frost protection.

The winemaking at Leoville Barton unfolds at Langoa Barton, where 200 wooden vats, some dating back to 1963, hold sway. Uniquely, alcoholic and malolactic fermentations occur simultaneously, harking back to Bordeaux's age-old practices. On average, the wines are aged in 50% new French oak for approximately 20 months before bottling.

Shared Legacies with Unique Characters

Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Léoville Barton, despite their shared history and location, each bring their unique perspective to the world of Bordeaux wines. Léoville Poyferré impresses with its modern approach to winemaking and bold, rich wines, while Léoville Barton adheres to tradition, offering wines that reflect the timeless elegance of the region, while upholding a legacy that dates back to the revered 1855 classification. Their commitment to offering exceptional wines at accessible prices has earned them a devoted following among Bordeaux enthusiasts. Exploring the wines from these two renowned estates is an enchanting journey through the exceptional terroir of Saint-Julien and the enduring passion of their respective winemaking families.

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