Leoville Barton 2017
This morning sees the release of Léoville Barton at £654/12. This is one of the great names in classically styled Claret and one of the great successes of the 2017 vintage.
The Barton family have owned the property for generations and were well-prepared to protect their vineyards during the precarious days (and nights) of April 2017. Owner Lilian Barton Sartorius told us they had hay bales ready to burn in the vineyards should the winds change, but luckily they were not affected by the frost at all.
During the 2017 UGC tastings St Julien was one of the most consistent communes, with a few exceptional outliers. One of those is Léoville Barton, selected as one of Jane Anson’s Bordeaux 2017 top scorers with a 95 point score. Neal Martin says the Léoville Barton is one of the few 2017s which is very close in quality to its 2016 siblings, commenting, "this is a knockout nose with bags of potential". Antonio Galloni also shares praise for the 2017 saying “One of the few truly exceptional Left Bank wines of the vintage, the 2017 Léoville-Barton is simply fabulous.”
This is one of the finest young Léoville Bartons we have tasted. It has the high density and intensity of flavours we have come to expect, but with a beautiful coolness of fruit which really suits the vintage.
Ch Léoville Barton has continued its winning streak after a fabulous 2016. This 2017 is one of the most muscular and fleshy of the St Juliens, and shows supreme integration of blackberry fruit richness and structural oak. There is a great energy to this wine, which has a punchy density to its weight and a peppery length.
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. 2022 - 2045
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.
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. (JH) Drink 2025-2037
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.
One of the few truly exceptional Left Bank wines of the vintage, the 2017 Léoville-Barton is simply fabulous. The 2017 also has the distinction of having a very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. Inky crème de cassis, white flowers, lavender, crushed rocks, menthol and spice give the 2017 a distinctly layered, resonant feel. The 2017 offers fabulous density and structure, although the tannins need time. The blend is 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Merlot. The September rains were especially challenging for the Merlot and Cabernet Franc. As a result, Cabernet is pushed up in the blend, while there is no Franc at all. Tasted two times.
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 Window 2024 - 2038
Rather more structured than Langoa, as usual, but also a little more feisty, dense and rather more tannic and active on the palate, too. There is the traditional cassis theme and the tannins and oak are not dominant, allowing the fruit to expand and develop during the experience. There is some tension with the tannins but they do not shut the wine down as I have seen in other properties. I expect it to age slowly and incrementally, waiting some time before it softens - perhaps a decade or more.