Anthony Barton was born at Straffan House in Co. Kildare (Ireland) in 1930. He was destined to inherit little or nothing of the family estates. His elder brother Christopher was heir to Straffan and the vineyards in France were owned by his Uncle Ronald who would normally have married and had his own children to whom he would naturally have left his property. Although Ronald did marry late in life he had no children and Anthony thus became his heir. After studies in Ireland and in England, Anthony came to settle in France in 1951. Once again there were difficulties within the wine trade; the war had meant many years when exports to traditional markets had come to a complete stop and the lack of demand resulted in such low prices that Langoa and Léoville Barton were running at a loss. The first vintage that Anthony witnessed was 1951, so awful that his Uncle Ronald told him ‘another vintage like this and I will have to sell’ - not a very encouraging start to his new life! Fortunately there were two good years to follow but even so prices remained below a profitable level for some time to come. Although he kept in touch with the activities of the vineyards, he did not take a truly active part at the Châteaux until 1983 when Ronald donated the property to him. Since 1986, Anthony Barton has lived in the château with his Danish wife, Eva.
Châteaux Langoa and Leoville Barton can be proud to occupy the heart of Saint-Julien – an appellation generally regarded as one of the best wine regions in the world. The wines are typical of the Saint-Julien area; well-balanced, with a subtle bouquets and flavours.
The 50 hectares of Léoville and 17 hectares of Langoa, planted in gravelly soil with a clay sub-soil, include large proportions of old vines in order to obtain the best possible quality. The grape varieties planted are 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc for Léoville Barton, while Langoa Barton’s terroir is shared as follows 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc. Both properties have the same vinification methods.
With three waves of cold, the winter of 2007 was grey, long and severe. While the climate of March was close to seasonal averages, April was particularly dry, sunny and warm, which allowed the vines to quickly catch up. The Summer, marked by low rainfall and without excessive heat, was the driest vintage of the decade. These are privileged conditions for ideal Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon ripening. During the last half of September, the mild and sunny weather, with cool nights favouring colouring of the skins, offered ideal conditions for Merlot. In late September, the Autumn began to settle with cool nights and sunny days without rain. This perfect weather continued until the end of the harvest and allowed the Cabernet Sauvignon to ripen fully. To summarize, these were ideal conditions from start to finish being able to pick each grape variety and parcel at its optimum maturity.
This wine, aged in 60% new barrels, is a promisingly powerful, generously built teenager. The top class oak is dominating for the moment, with floral notes and a touch of acacia peeking through. It is in perfect balance; full and lush, rounded off with long, tasty tannins.