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.
|RED||2020||Château Léoville Barton||75cl||£730 per case of 12||Château Léoville Barton
2020 / / 75cl
£730 per case of 12
Tasting NotesSOLD OUT “Cask sample taken 6 April. 85.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% Merlot. Aged for 18 months in barrel (60% new). Lustrous purple. Minerally, stony, saline nose. Really remarkably opulent on palate entry which almost distracts from those massive tannins underneath. There's just a suggestion of vintage port tannins here (not the sweetness). Very fine winemaking indeed. I have to admit I was tempted to swallow this, it was so majestic. I don't remember being as bowled over by a Léoville Barton at this early stage before. Lovely, confident, persistent finish. Such grace! 13.6%. Drink 2030 – 2055. 18 points.” (JH), Jancisrobinson.com, Apr 21------"Packed full of black chocolate shavings, liquorice, cocoa bean, concentrated cassis and bilberry fruits. Good quality, will bed down and age extremely well, with depth and character but also classicism. As with many in this corner of the Médoc peninsula in this vintage, the austerity to the tannins is very much to the fore right now. May be upscored when in bottle. Drinking Window 2029 - 2045. 94 points" Jane Anson, Decanter Magazine------"The 2020 Léoville Barton reveals a deep purple-black color, springing from the glass with vivacious scents of crushed black cherries, cassis and black raspberries, plus hints of cinnamon toast, wild sage, red roses and sassafras. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with muscular black fruits, framed by grainy tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and perfumed. Drink 2026-2047. 93-95 points" Lisa Perotti-Brown, RobertParker.com------"The 2020 Léoville Barton reveals a deep purple-black color, springing from the glass with vivacious scents of crushed black cherries, cassis and black raspberries, plus hints of cinnamon toast, wild sage, red roses and sassafras. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with muscular black fruits, framed by grainy tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and perfumed."A full-bodied red that builds on the palate with lots of blackberry and blueberry character, as well as chocolate. Mineral and graphite undertones. Chewy, yet very integrated. Excellent, as expected. 96-97 points" jamessuckling.com------"The 2020 Léoville Barton was picked September 15–16 and matured in 70% new oak. It is one of the best vintages that I have encountered in barrel. Wow! This shoots from the glass with beautifully defined black fruit, mineral-rich aromas, pixelated with laser-like focus. The palate is medium-bodied with chiseled tannins, a perfect line of acidity, layers of vibrant, vivacious black fruit and a very persistent finish that is pure class. If you don’t have this in your cellar, then there will be a Léoville Barton–shaped hole to fill. 94-96 points" Neal Martin, Vinous.com