Château Langoa-Barton: Tasting & Drinking

I suppose it is inevitable that the wines of Château Langoa-Barton and Château Léoville-Barton should be subject to comparison. They are essentially two distinct estates, but run by the same team using the same facilities, and so it is only natural to compare. It is generally regarded that Château Léoville-Barton is the greater of the two, the vin de garde, the “super-second”, and in recent vintages the prices, so long held back by Anthony Barton, have climbed a little closer to what might be expected of a wine of such status. Château Langoa-Barton has always been more affordable, not just during the primeurs but also looking at the prices of older stock, and this is despite the wine frequently being of excellent quality.

I clearly recall the 1985 which really stood out, alongside the elegance exhibited by Château Rauzan-Ségla, when tasted blind in a Bordeaux 1985 horizontal more than a few years ago. Since then I have always had considerable interest in the wines of Château Langoa-Barton, and paid no heed to those that ignore the wine in favour of Château Léoville-Barton; after all, there is room in my cellar for both.

It is important to stress that Château Langoa-Barton is not a second wine to Château Léoville-Barton; any difference between these two is down to terroir, and in some vintages the quality of the two wines is very close, although the style may differ, Langoa often showing a more feminine and approachable face. In more recent vintages, this thread of absolute quality has not been lost; the 2005 is in my opinion the greatest vintage yet produced at Château Langoa-Barton, within my lifetime at least, and even though the 2009 and 2010 were both superlative wines, for me they still feel short of what the 2005 had to offer.

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