With all the doom n’gloom email and news that bombardes us, daily, the one thing that is a staple down here are our Wednesday lunches. An opportunity for the local wine trade to meet and chat freely about the important things in life. Yesterday, one of our younger luncheoners asked the question “what would be your desert island wine?” A little suprised by the question I instinctively, and maybe for good reason, replied ‘It would have to be a Saint-Julien‘ and ‘probably Langoa Barton 2000‘. He laughed, maybe I was being too specific, so I asked him what his choice would be. He replied ‘Romanee-Conti’, another guest chose Sassicaia (that could possibly be my second or third or fourth choice maybe), there was a Malbec and the others with their various-vinous ideas that I cannot for the life of me remember right now. I then thought to myself, have they actually drunk any of these wines? Ummmm, probably not the R-C! as we are living in a Malbec-protectionist heaven/
2000 Langoa Barton, Saint-Julien
Ruby-red. Super ripe aromas of roasted black raspberry and blackcurrant complicated by roasted nuts, sexy oak spices and game. Still juicy, penetrating and vinous, with complex currant, lead pencil and oak flavors. A firm, structured wine with very good backbone and big, cheek-coating velvety tannins that still want to go on. A very excellent Claret.
You probably know already that the history of Langoa Barton is inextricably linked with Leoville Barton as Hugh Barton, the grandson of an Irish wine merchant, back in the day, settled in Bordeaux and first bought the Langoa domaine, and then also the Leoville domain. These two famous Saint-Julien vineyards still belong to the Barton (Barton-Sartorius) family. The Ch.Langoa Barton was classified back in 1855 as a 3rd Growth. Goodness me how many times between then and now has someone wanted to scare the pants of us all with an end of the world story. Anyway Langoa and Leoville nestle between two other giants of the area, Talbot and Ducru-Beaucaillou. The wines of Leoville and Langoa Barton are both vinified in the same chais at Langoa. There is no physical Chateau Leoville. The wines produced here are always fleshy and balanced with superb velvety smoothness on the palate. Developing classic ripe fruit aromas that have serious cellaring potential, as this 2000 vintage just goes to show. So when today’s “Postpone the end of the world” news came through from Brazil of all places. I seriously know that I will be enjoying my Claret (s) well into the year 2040++, if I have not popped all of the corks between now and then that is. The message today from Brazilian earthwatcher Ailton Krenak read:
“We are constantly alerted to the consequences of these recent choices we have made. And if we can pay attention to some vision that escapes this blindness that we are living all over the world, maybe it can open our minds to some cooperation between peoples, not to save others, but to save ourselves.”
Who am I, but what I can confirm dear reader is that my recent, and past, wine choices have and will give me and my guests nothing but enormous old school Claret pleasure, today and tomorrow and for the rest of my conscious little life I hope. Please do the same if you can find Langoa Barton from any vintage, I promise you this much. You will not be disappointed. And if you can find the 2000 vintage you are in for a real treat. We still do have a case (OWC) lying at London City Bond @ GB£85 per bottle, ex usual bond-business, should you be tempted. I have my own eye on it aswell, be warned!
“Ordem e Progresso.”
As a wee footnote for you dear reader, Herr Robert Parker (USA) had this to say about the Leoville Barton 2000, just to give you an idea of what the bigger Barton tasted like. We sold all our stock unfortunately ‘en primeur’ back in the day, but today you can find some on the market for around double the price of the Langoa @ GB£170 a bottle.
I found this to be one of the more backward wines of the 2000 vintage and gave it a window of maturity of 2015-2040 when I reviewed it in 2003.
In my two recent tastings of it, I changed that window to 2018-2050, which probably says more than the following tasting note could say.
This is a behemoth – dense, highly extracted, very tannic, broodingly backward, with a dense purple color and very little evolution since it was bottled 8 years ago. Wonderfully sweet cedar and fruitcake notes are intermixed with hints of creme de cassis, licorice, and earthy forest floor. It is full-bodied and tannic, with everything in place, but like so many wines that come from Leoville Barton, it makes a mockery of many modern-day consumers wanting a wine for immediate gratification. Those who bought it should continue to exercise patience and be proud to own a wonderful classic with five decades of longevity ahead of it. Drink 2018 – 2050.