1989 Leoville Barton
Decanter | 92 DEC
A delicious, well-structured Bordeaux, with plenty of ripe fruit, beautiful berry, green tobacco and cherry character. Full-bodied, adding velvety tannins and a long, caressing finish.--1989 Bordeaux horizontal. Best after 2002.
Wine Spectator | 92 WS
The bottle of 1989 Léoville-Barton is probably the best I have encountered over the years; indeed, it is better than a bottle opened by Lilian Barton-Sartorius when I visited the property a few weeks earlier. It has a comely old-school claret bouquet of red fruit infused with cedar and loamy scents, and maybe some dustiness, but I have come to expect that in older vintages of this Saint-Julien. The palate is medium-bodied, pure and elegant, with svelte tannin and moderate acidity and a surprisingly sweet, almost precocious finish thanks to that year’s hot summer. It has softened in recent years and yet there is still good backbone and grip to this wine. Just enjoy. Tasted at the 1989 Bordeaux dinner at Hatched in London.
Vinous Media | 91 VM
It has been a little while since I tasted the Château Léoville-Barton 1989. Now at 25 years of age, it has an open bouquet with vestiges of brambly red fruit, scorched earth and chestnut, touches of fireside hearth developing with time. There is something almost comforting about Anthony Barton’s wine, its familiarity putting you at ease. The palate is medium-bodied with tannins that have softened in recent years and it gently builds to a saline, rather austere finish. Gentle, but classy Saint Julien, you can enjoy this for another 15 years without worry. Tasted June 2014. Drink Date 2014 - 2030
Robert Parker | 90 RP
Wine Details for 1989 Leoville Barton
|Type of Wine||
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Red Bordeaux Blend
: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.
Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.
For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.
Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.
The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.
The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Chateau Leoville Barton
: What we know as Chateau Leoville Barton today, once was part of the largest estate in Saint Julien. The original Leoville property was divided in 1840, half becoming Las Cases, and the other Poyferre. Part of the Las Cases property was culled and sold to Thomas Barton shortly before the divide.
The Barton family who still presides over Leoville Barton today has roots in Bordeaux that trace back to 1722. Starting out as many successful owners did, he began his trade as a negociant and in time began to purchase properties. In 1821, Thomas Barton bought his first Saint Julien estate, Pontet-Langlois and quickly renamed it Langoa Barton. His next acquisition was from the vineyard that was removed from Leoville Las Cases, to which he named in their honor Leoville Barton, following the custom of the day.
Because no cellar or winemaking facility was included in the purchase, Barton was forced to make the wine at Langoa Barton. Over time it became a tradition and still to this day, Leoville Barton is produced at its sister, Saint Julien estate. Unlike most Bordeaux estates Leoville Barton has no chateau and in fact the one pictured on the label is actually that of the Langoa Barton estate. Since the 1855 Classification of the Medoc, which Leoville Barton was awarded status of Second Growth, the estate has remained in the hands of the Barton family. It is one of only two Saint Julien properties to remain under same ownership since the classification.
Tradition has always remained important at the Left Bank estate and to this day they are hesitant to become modernized, to which they are quite popular for their traditional winemaking and fair pricing policy. The wines remained fairly inexpensive until the 2005 vintage when the wine market saw increases across the board due to the fantastic growing season.
The 51-hectare vineyard of Leoville Barton is planted to 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Over the past few decades the amount of Merlot has increased slightly while the percentage of Cabernet Franc has decreased. The vines are planted north of Langoa Barton where it enjoys a warmer terroir with more access to direct sunlight. One parcel is planted in clear view of the Gironde River. This slight separation in location makes for different styled wines between the two estates.
Leoville Barton is a sturdy, structured Bordeaux wine with tannin that requires time to develop, in some vintages up to 15 years after bottling. This traditional, masculine wine sees and annual production of 20,000 cases and is quite popular due to its less expensive nature.