Jeroboam Club: Ch. Leoville Barton Vertical

Averys, Bristol

Tasted March 12, 2008 by wineamateur with 1,272 views

Introduction

An excellent tasting, truly demonstrating the consistency of this great wine. There was real class in the great years (2000, 1996, 1990), a further demonstration of the beautiful drinking currently provided by the 1985 Bordeaux vintage, and a very strong performance even from the less heralded years (e.g. 1998, 1988)

Flight 1 (2 notes)

Red
2001 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
90 points
Youthful deep, bright purple in appearance. Toasty nose of roasted nuts, Juicy Fruits gum, mocha, cassis and mint. Forward, fruity but complex. Medium-full weight in the mouth, oaky and with somewhat muddy tannins, but with some nice fruit rounding things out, and an attractive if unassertive finish. Very good but obviously needs time.
Red
2000 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
94 points
Youthful deep, saturated, inky purple in appearance. Exotic nose of toasted coconut, ripe jammy cassis and blueberry fruit, Juicy Fruits gum. Bigger and denser than the 2001. Also fuller bodied in the mouth. Weighty and impressively structured; fills the mouth; refined tannins. Still an adolescent, big-boned, but shows excellent promise.

Flight 2 (2 notes)

Red
1999 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
89 points
Deep purple colour. Sweet, forward, attractive nose, with plenty of secondary development. Ripe cassis and pear drops; and a spicey complexity suggesting orange peel and cloves. Sweet and mouthfilling on the palate, but with a good backbone of cranberry and redcurrant. Not the weight or structure of 2001 or 2000, but an attractive medium weight wine with nice balance between reasonably prominent acidity and sweet fruit. Now reaching its plateau of maturity. Perhaps a tad less classy than the 2001 and 1998.
Red
1998 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
90 points
Deep purple colour. Less exuberant on the nose than the 1999, but shows a lovely, silky elegance with ripe blueberry and cassis, and pear drops testifying to secondary development. More austere on the palate than the 1999 too, with some rough-edged tannins and a cranberry streak of bitterness. But greater weight here, and better structure. Needs time - not for drinking now- but should be a beauty.

Flight 3 (2 notes)

Red
1996 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
92 points
Deep plum colour. Clean, fresh nose of slightly restrained blueberry fruit with a mineral complexity. Elegant and refined. Just a slight dustiness, with hints of fruniture polish. On the palate, quite austere (like the 98) with a distinct lead pencils / cranberry backbone. At present, a bit lacking in expressivity, with pronounced (though refined) tannins. But the fruit does come through on the long, lingering finish. Not remotely ready, and maybe not showing its full potential tonight.
Red
1995 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
88 points
Deep plum colour. Attractive, sweet, fruity nose, with complexity from secondary development. Pear drops, cassis, mocha. Lighter bodied than the 1996, with less grip, and a bit watery in comparison. Some slightly tart but still attractive fruit (sour plums). The flavours develop in the mouth, but there's a slightly dusty, floor polish note on the finish.

Flight 4 (2 notes)

Red
1990 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
95 points
Deep plum colour, hints of maturity. Sweet cassis on the nose, malty, quite high-toned, lots of red fruits. Full-flavoured in the mouth, round and mouthfilling, red fruits again, with a gorgeous milk-chocolatey mid-palate, and a long elegant finish. A point.
Red
1989 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
91 points
Deep plum red, hints of maturity. Sweet attractive nose, hints of cola bottles, elegant but a bit muted. Good weight and structure but lacks sweetness and plumpness in comparison with the 1990. Hefty, clay-like tannins still coat the mouth, and slightly detract from the sweet fruit revealed (at last) on the long finish. Still needs time.

Flight 5 (2 notes)

Red
1988 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
90 points
Medium plum red, hints of maturity. Forward chunky and a bit green; strong whiff of tobacco leaf; but also some elegant, if restrained cassis and blueberry fruit. Round attractive and assertive on the palate; a nicely balanced and flavoursome wine; redcurrant fruit (but more sweetness than that suggests); chunky tannins but finishes well. Nice now, but will go on, though perhaps has less class than the very top vintages of this wine.
Red
1986 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
flawed
Corked.

Flight 6 (2 notes)

Red
1985 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
93 points
Bright gleaming red-plum colour. Roasted, toasty notes on the initially fumey nose, but lying underneath a true kaleidoscope of flavours: cassis fruit, some secondary fruit development, mint, cedar... A textbook example of what one looks for from the nose of a fine claret. Wow! Round, sweet and mouthfilling on the palate, yet with only medium weight and with relatively high acidity compared with other vintages. Great elegance and balance, and very well integrated tannins. A wine at the top of its game.
Red
1982 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
91 points
Apparently this was the last wine made by Ronald Barton before his nephew Anthony took effective control. It shows a deep plum-red coloration, appearing noticably older than preceding wines in this tasting. The nose is classy and intense, though not textbook (modern) Bordeaux. There's an icing sugar sweetness, spiced plums, and liqourice. Complex and very impressive. On the palate, this is a round, weighty wine, with the spicy plum fruit and liqourice again prominent. On the downside, there's a bit of flabbiness mid-palate and an obtrusive sugary quality. This was very different in style from later wines (from 1985 on), and hard to assess against them, but a very good wine in its own right.

Closing

My WOTNs: (1) 1990, (2) 2000, (3) 1985, (4) 1996.

Overall Club WOTNs: (1) 1990; (2) 1985; (3) 1996; (4=) 2000; (4=) 1988.

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