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Great Wine: Chateau Leoville Barton Saint-Julien

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Old school drinkers of fine wines have this thing about waiting… and waiting—forever—to open up a special bottle of wine. Their obsession with waiting sometimes comes off like endless reels of actionless foreplay before the money shot happens in the most painfully and torturously boring wine porn movie ever made.

New school wine drinkers, in great majority, it is statistically proven, open up a bottle of wine the day that they buy it. The new school drinker wants the money shot to happen now and often.

So, when Robert Parker is adamant in his review of the 2009 CHATEAU LÉOVILLE BARTON Saint-Julien (which he rated 93 points) that one must, must absolutely wait 30 years, no exceptions, before opening up the extraordinary 2009 vintage bottling, what is the new school drinker supposed to do? Ignore his advice, of course. Now, I find myself somewhere in the wilderness between the old and new school, so my window for enjoying any classic Bordeaux red wine like the Léoville Barton is five to eight years. To a new school drinker, I have the patience of a monk. (P.S. I was informed by someone in the know, by the way, that the Barton part of the Chateau’s name should be pronounced with decidedly English emphasis and not French—so it’s BAHR-ton, not bar-TOHN.)

I have to admit, I’ve had several long-aged wines, and I don’t particularly love them. For me, there’s a certain drive, a vitality that goes away when you wait too long. And boy, you don’t want to let that happen to a Léoville Barton. Much has already been written about what a gorgeous vintage 2009 was in Bordeaux, so the only question is where does this wine stand after spending eight years in the bottle? Answer: it’s nearly perfect.

This Cabernet-blend is one that’s sleekly smooth—beguiling and seductive with its charms. Fruit is sumptuous, overflowing in expression of fresh blackberry and dark red currant, and there’s attractive aromas of violets, toasted wood and forest floor that, together, comes off like a masculine musk. The wine finishes on an emphatic note of spicy tannins. Balance is in perfect sync—like a platinum Rolex wrapped around the wrist—exuding precision yet the romanticism of money. Stylish, sleek and modern, this is Saint-Julien that’s irresistibly sexy and undeniably hot with its charm, sex appeal, polish and sense of style. Truly, an object of desire. Stunning.  –J.M.

 

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October 11, 2017

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