2020 Château Léoville Barton, St Julien, Bordeaux

2020 Château Léoville Barton, St Julien, Bordeaux

Product: 20201012361
 
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2020 Château Léoville Barton, St Julien, Bordeaux

Description

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Cabernet Sauvignon 85.5%, Merlot 14.5%

Lilian Barton Sartorius, ninth-generation vintner at Ch. Léoville-Barton, states ruefully that they didn’t make much wine in 2020. In common with many Médoc properties, yields were down, reduced to 34 hl/ha. However, the wine that was made delivers immense colour and concentration. It’s extravagantly perfumed, with aromas of pencil shavings, sweet cherry, and blackcurrant cordial. There is a burly feel to the tannins, which have great intensity. The mid-palate has a lovely brightness, which runs into subtle spicy notes of clove and star anise. The finish is long. All in all, a very persuasive Barton.

Drink 2028-2050.

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson94/100
Antonio Galloni, Vinous94-96/100
Neal Martin, Vinous94-96/100
Wine Advocate93-95/100
Jancis Robinson MW18/20
James Suckling96-97/100
Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100
Michael Schuster93-94/100
Jane Anson94/100
Packed full of black chocolate shavings, liquorice, cocoa bean, concentrated cassis and bilberry fruits. Good quality, will bed down and age extremely well, with depth and character but also classicism. As with many in this corner of the Médoc peninsula in this vintage, the austerity to the tannins is very much to the fore right now. May be upscored when in bottle.

Drink from 2029 to 2045

Jane Anson, Decanter (April 2021) Read more
Antonio Galloni, Vinous94-96/100
The 2020 Léoville-Barton marries the richness of the vintage with the classically restrained style that is so typical of Léoville-Barton. Graphite, licorice and dark spice are all laced throughout a core of inky dark fruit. The 2020 is powerful and linear, with tons of depth lying in reserve, just waiting to emerge. I won't be surprised if Léoville-Barton is one of the last Saint-Juliens to enter its prime.

Drink from 2030 to 2055

Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Read more
Neal Martin, Vinous94-96/100
The 2020 Léoville Barton was picked September 15–16 and matured in 70% new oak. It is one of the best vintages that I have encountered in barrel. Wow! This shoots from the glass with beautifully defined black fruit, mineral-rich aromas, pixelated with laser-like focus. The palate is medium-bodied with chiseled tannins, a perfect line of acidity, layers of vibrant, vivacious black fruit and a very persistent finish that is pure class. If you don’t have this in your cellar, then there will be a Léoville Barton–shaped hole to fill.

Drink from 2028 to 2055

Neal Martin, Vinous (May 2021) Read more
Wine Advocate93-95/100
The 2020 Léoville Barton reveals a deep purple-black color, springing from the glass with vivacious scents of crushed black cherries, cassis and black raspberries, plus hints of cinnamon toast, wild sage, red roses and sassafras. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with muscular black fruits, framed by grainy tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and perfumed.

Drink from 2026 to 2047

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (May 2021) Read more
Jancis Robinson MW18/20
Cask sample taken 6 April. 85.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot. Aged for 18 months in barrel (60% new). Lustrous purple. Minerally, stony, saline nose. Really remarkably opulent on palate entry which almost distracts from those massive tannins underneath. There's just a suggestion of vintage port tannins here (not the sweetness). Very fine winemaking indeed. I have to admit I was tempted to swallow this, it was so majestic. I don't remember being as bowled over by a Léoville Barton at this early stage before. Lovely, confident, persistent finish. Such grace!

Drink 2030 - 2055

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021) Read more
James Suckling96-97/100
A full-bodied red that builds on the palate with lots of blackberry and blueberry character, as well as chocolate. Mineral and graphite undertones. Chewy, yet very integrated. Excellent, as expected.

James Suckling (April 2021) Read more
Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100
Deep purple – almost blue – in color, the 2020 Château Léoville Barton offers up an exotic, vibrant, perfumed nose that carries loads of pure cassis fruit interwoven with violets, sappy green herbs, and floral aromatics. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, this thick, chewy, powerful Saint-Julien has good acidity, building, firm, yet ripe tannins, and a great finish. My money is on this requiring 15 years to come anywhere close to maturity. It doesn’t get any more classic Barton than this.

Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (May 2021) Read more
Michael Schuster93-94/100
Inky purple; dense, closed, raw blackcurrant and subtle gravel; concentrated, medium- to full-bodied, muscular wine, firm in acidity and firmly tannic, a clear long-term prospect, but without the sinews of 2010, for example; crisply ripe blackcurrant in flavor, long to taste across the palate, with a notable tenacity rather than sheer size. Elegance, complexity, finesse, and length. A sort of 1996 with more matter? This will probably need a decade and a half to really mellow and bouquet.

Drink 2030 - 2050

Michael Schuster, The World of Fine Wine (May 2021) Read more

About this WINE

Chateau Leoville Barton

Chateau Leoville Barton

Château Léoville Barton is the smallest portion of the great Léoville estate and has been owned by the Barton family since 1826. There is no château and the wine is made at Langoa Barton.

Léoville Barton's 48 hectares of vineyards are located in the east of the St-Julien wine appellation and lie on gravelly-clay soils. They are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon 72%, Merlot 20%, Cabernet Franc 8%. The wine is matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months.

Since Anthony Barton took over the reins from his Uncle Ronald in the mid 80s, quality has soared at Léoville Barton and the wine has gone from being a solid mid-league performing 2ème Cru Classé to one of the most exciting and scintillating wines in St. Julien.

Léoville Barton is tannic and austere in youth but with time develops the classic cedary character that is the hallmark of St. Julien, along with intensely pure blackcurrant and cassis fruit notes. Léoville Barton's wines are made for extended cellaring and tend to show at their best with 10-15 years of bottle ageing.

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St Julien

St Julien

St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year. 

St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but,  further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.  

The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.

The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.

Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Léoville Las CasesCh.Léoville Barton, Ch Léoville Poyferré, Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, Ch Langoa Barton, Ch Gruaud Larose, Ch. Branaire-Ducru, Ch. Beychevelle

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Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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