Château Mauvesin Barton
When I first began exploring Bordeaux, too many years ago now, it was not long before I recognised the value of the name Barton. Sitting on the second and third tiers of the 1855 classification of the Médoc there were two properties which carried this name, Château Léoville-Barton and Château Langoa-Barton. Both were turning out wines of exceptional quality, typifying the classic left-bank, St Julien, Cabernet-dominant style. They developed beautifully in bottle, which meant they could be purchased in maturity with some confidence, handy for somebody with no family cellar to fall back on (the only cellar I was ever likely to inherit was a salt cellar). And this was true even in lesser vintages; I am still drinking my way through the case of 1994 Château Léoville-Barton I picked up at auction at about that time.
And so when in 2011 I learnt of the creation of a third, ‘new’ Barton family property my interest was piqued. There is of course no land for sale in St Julien, and so this new acquisition – Château Mauvesin, rechristened Château Mauvesin Barton as Lilian Barton Sartorius (pictured below) took possession – is located outside this famous commune, in the Moulis-en-Médoc appellation.
The history of Château Mauvesin Barton can be traced back as far as the 15th century, when records indicate in 1457 that the land belonged to Jean de Foix Grailly (died 1485), Comte de Candale. By the end of this century ownership had been transferred to the Rivière family, and with the marriage of Marguerite de la Rivière, Dame de Mauvesin to Jacques Le Blanc, Conseiller du Roi in the Bordeaux parliament, it passed into the hands of the Le Blanc family.