Released this morning, we have yet to taste any wine more impressive than the 2020 vintage of Château Léoville Barton. Jancis Robinson was also very impressed, describing it as 'majestic...I don't remember being as bowled over by a Léoville Barton at this early stage before...Such grace!' (18 points). For context, this equals her scores for Latour 2015, '16 and '18. Suckling scores it 96-97 points, finding 'mineral and graphite undertones' and describing it as 'excellent'.
We were a little surprised to see a more modest 94 points awarded by Decanter's Jane Anson yesterday (the same score she awarded to the 2015), though she suggests it may increase when the wine is in bottle. That may be because the 2020 is less open and approachable at this stage than the 2019...but we love that austere quality. The tannins and structure are more pronounced and promise great things to come. At 13.6% abv and with fresh acidity, it also has remarkable balance for a wine from such a warm year.
A dry July and August produced a low yield in 2020 of just 34 hl/ha, leading to a 25% reduction in the harvest at Léoville. Harvest ran from the 14th to the 28th September and the final blend for Léoville was 85.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14.5% Merlot.
The magic of Léoville Barton is to produce wines in every vintage which express the terroir and the identity of the estate, with minimal intervention, using traditional vinification in wooden vats. With the 2016 at £950 on the market, it is also attractive value and is sure to sell out (as in 2019). For us, 2020 is an utterly classic expression of this wine and it deserves a place in your collection.
Landing spring 2023.