The Medoc region surrounding Bordeaux on the Garonne river in France, is one of the greatest wine producing regions in the world, with around 1,500 vineyards.
Within the appellation of St Julien lies Chateau Leoville Barton, The proprietor of which is the charming Irish gent Anthony Barton. The Bartons have been producing wine in the region since 1722 when Thomas Barton settled in Bordeaux from his native Ireland. It wasn't until the early 1820's, however, when his grandson Hugh Baron purchased Chateau Langoa and shortly afterwards acquired a portion of the Leoville estate, now known as Chateaux Langoa and Léoville Barton respectively, that the Bartons really established themselves as one of the great wine producers of the region.
Anthony Barton took control in 1984, having lived in Bordeaux since the early 50's when he moved from Ireland. The Bartons have been at Langoa Barton now for 200 years, making it the longest period of single family ownership of any of the Chateau's in the Bordeaux region. Stictly speaking there is actually no chateau at Leoville Barton as it was only a portion of a much larger estate, so the cellars of Langoa Barton are used to make the wines of both properties.
Admirably, it has been Anthony Bartons aim to produce extremely high quality wines in the classic St Julien tradition and to release them at a reasonable price. He believes that wine is to be drunk, not viewed as an investment opportunity. If you ask him how long a vintage will last he replies with a sardonic grin that "it will last until you drink it". It was in the 80's under Anthony Barton's supervision that the quality of the wines produced at Leoville Barton dramatically improved from an average second growth classification wine (still a very highly rated wine) to being consistently exceptionally highly rated, in fact many think it behaves like a first growth wine.
- Grenville Charles
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- Chateau Leoville Barton