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At a recent dinner, we had the superb opportunity to participate in a 6 years vertical tasting of Château Léoville Barton. The wines were impressive and the experience unique.

Château Léoville Barton is a Bordeaux second growth from the Saint-Julien appellation.

The years tasted were 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995.

1989 was an outstanding vintage for Saint-Julien. Wines were full of fruit character, tannic and long-aging.

1990 was also very successful. The sunny, warm and dry summer produced opulent and age worthy wines.

It rained in 1992 and the wines were light, and early maturing.

1993 was another rain-plagued year. The wines were light but fruity and perfumed.

In 1994, it rained in September, like in the other three vintages. 1994 produced medium-bodied wines with some good fruit.

After four straight years of uneven quality, the 1995 vintage was excellent and produced harmonious wines full of fruit and fine tannins.

1989 Château Léoville Barton
This wine was the first Léoville Barton of the tasting and everybody's favorite. It possessed a lot of elegance and classicism, a nose full of complex earthy flavors, a well balanced medium to full-bodied palate and finally, a long tasty finish. This was the perfect match for the grilled steak and herb butter that was served for dinner.
1990 Château Léoville Barton

This wine was closed at the beginning and unfortunately started to fully open when little was left in our glass. Our last sips revealed sweet ripe berry aromas and a dense and full-bodied palate. It was definitely bigger and more fruity than the 1989 but did not possess the same elegance and classicism.

1992 Château Léoville Barton

This wine was a surprise and amazingly good for the vintage. It possessed a nice aromatic nose and a medium-bodied well balanced palate with soft tannins. Overall, a pleasant wine on the ligher side.

1993 Château Léoville Barton

The 1993 was one step above the 1992 with a similar nose but more body and a more lengthy finish.

1994 Château Léoville Barton

The 1994 was the least favorite of the vertical tasting. It appeared as a weaker version of the 1993.

1995 Château Léoville Barton

I found the 1995 as good as the 1990 although in a different style. It exhibited a classic fruity nose and on the palate, was dense, chewy and still tannic. The finish was nice and long. The wine may need more cellaring for the tannins to continue to soften.

See our other tasting reports.