This morning sees the release of Leoville Barton, the adored 2nd Growth and classic-claret flag carrier of St. Julien. It is a favourite of ours and of traditional and new markets, a thoroughbred that in 2019 presents one of the buys of the vintage. It has been released today for £648 per case of 12, or £324 per six a 15% discount to the 2018 release. In 2019 it has been awarded 94-96 points from Neal Martin of Vinous Media, who describes it as having ‘a complex bouquet of blackberry, sous-bois, tobacco and minerals, much more introverted yet exceedingly complex. The palate is exquisite in terms of balance, laden with intense black fruit laced with orange zest, that citrus element counterbalancing the tannic grip and structure. There is a sense of completeness to this Léoville-Barton, certainly on par with the best vintages in recent years. A formidable yet charming Saint-Julien in the making.’ James Suckling has awarded it 95-96 and Jane Anson 96 points, who says ‘Strays almost to Pauillac in terms of the weight of the tannins, but it’s brilliant.’

The scores make it a potential modern great and having tasted it last week, it is one of the finest modern vintages, certainly on par with 2010 and 2016, the finest of modernity, which with 95 points from Neal Martin trades at £1,000 and £930 respectively. There is something in the style of Leoville Barton that is captured in these great vintages, a balance of power and grace, with high notes and earthy tones. It has it all in 2018. Priced at £54 a bottle it has a Price Over Points score (POP) of 43, it is a veritable no brainier for claret lovers.

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Leoville Barton represents the archetype of great Bordeaux, each vintage is built to last, an idiom for truly great, age-worthy Bordeaux. However, the price of Leoville Barton has always remained very appealing and Bordeaux lovers will appreciate today’s release price and stock up on this magnificent and venerable Chateau for the decades ahead.

Chateau Leoville was at the time of the French Revolution the largest Estate in the Medoc, however, it was confiscated when the Marquis de Las Cases fled the Revolution. Today it occupies a quarter of the original Estate. In 1826 Hugh Barton, of successful negociant business Barton & Guestier bought a share in the Estate with the purpose of returning it to its original owner. The Marquis de Las Cases, unfortunately, was unable to reimburse Barton for the land and so he remained the owner. Interestingly five years before, Hugh Barton had also acquired the neighbouring property of Langoa and as there was no chai on the Leoville land he was forced to vinify both the wines of Leoville and Langoa at the chai on the Langoa Estate. This practice continues to this day.

Langoa Barton 2019 has also released, the superb 3rd growth, so intertwined with Leoville Barton that property is that found on the label of Leoville Barton. It has been released for £354 a case of 12 or £177 per six, a 19% discount to last year’s release price. It has been awarded 93-95 points from Neal Martin who says ‘I love the generosity of this Saint-Julien, one that I suspect will be seductive on release but don’t be deceived – it deserves cellaring lest you get a smacked wrist for being impatient.’ James Suckling awards it 95-96 ‘Extremely long and refined. Clearly better than the 2018.’ Jane Anson completes the adoration with ‘For me this is more successful than the 2018 because it delivers an absolute punch of fruits but gently so, with elegance and control that is very St Julien. Grilled cedar finish, great stuff.’ Interestingly giving it a drinking window of 2027 – 2042. This speak volumes about how serious the 2019 is, a superb St. Julien in its own right. Indeed, it is the highest scoring vintage since 2009 and 2010 which trade at £540 and £520. At under £30 a bottle and with a POP score of 25, this is splendid value.