It was indeed a pleasure doing a tasting with The Wine Raconteur, Jr. with me at the Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan. My Bride and I have been members of the wine club there, and now so have our dear friends. I get a different perspective watching him do a wine tasting, but he seems much more focused than I, but then again, maybe I just think that I am more cavalier, as I don’t get a chance to observe myself. He has also had the experience to absorb the world of wine tasting, since everyone is a sommelier or has interest in being a sommelier or they just want to sound like a sommelier. Actually, I think that it is very cool, it is just that this old dog really doesn’t want to learn any new tricks and I am quite content speaking from the knowledge that I have acquired over fifty years of tasting and drinking. I think that I can speak for the two of us, that I do think we were having a grand old time.
Chateau Langoa Barton is located in the Medoc and is a famed appellation on its own right, though it is sometimes overlooked, because it is sandwiched between Pauillac and Margaux. Saint-Julien may not have a First Growth from the 1855 Classification, but it is home to eleven classed growths. Almost every hectare in the Commune of Saint-Julien is covered with vines except for one strip of land that borders the Gironde. The commune is rather small and there are only two villages located there and they are only two kilometers apart from each other. Saint-Julien is also bordered at parts by the Commune of Saint-Laurent which carries the appellation of Haut-Medoc, except for a few plots that are allowed Saint-Julien status. The appellation laws require that the wines carrying Saint-Julien must only be made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Petit Verdot and Malbec. It is the grounds that differentiate Saint-Julien from Pauillac and Margaux, even though vineyards may back up to each other, the taste is enough to entitle the commune to be its own entity. The wines are historically considered long-lived and very elegant.
Chateau Langoa Barton Saint-Julien 2009 is a Third Growth of the Medoc, and the last time that I had some wine from this estate was from their 1966 vintage. Hugh Barton was an Anglo-Irish wine merchant who in 1821, purchased Chateau Langoa and a portion of the Leoville estate, which became Chateau Leoville Barton. The estates have been in the Barton family ever since. While the soils of the two estates are almost identical of gravel over clay soil, and they are managed the same way, with traditional plowing, hand harvesting and fermented plot-by-plot. The make up is different. Chateau Langoa Barton is fifty-seven percent Cabernet Sauvignon, thirty-four percent Merlot and nine percent Cabernet Franc on their seventeen hectares. This vintage was a blend of fifty-four percent Cabernet Sauvignon, thirty-four percent Merlot and twelve percent Cabernet Franc. I could not find how long the wine was aged, but I did find that they used sixty percent new French Oak for this vintage. I am sure that I may have had a goofy look on my face as I was admiring this wine, it was just sublime, a classic Saint-Julien with its mellow tannins and dark fruit. I kind of nursed this glass, a little longer than usual, because the finish was nice and with a very long count. What a wonderful avocation in my senior years.