Château Léoville-Barton is a Second Growth Bordeaux located in St.-Julien. It was once part of a vast estate owned by the Marquis de Léoville. After the French revolution the estate was divided and sold at public auction. In 1836 an Irishman named Hugh Barton bought the property and it has remained with his descendants, the Barton family. One thing that sets Château Léoville-Barton wine apart from other Medoc wines is that it is made with only a small amount of Merlot. Since there is no château on the estate, the wine is actually made at nearby Château Langoa-Barton, also owned by the Barton family. The wines of Léoville-Barton have been extraordinarily well reviewed since the 1980s, and some critics consider them the best value of all the premier wines of St.-Julien. Château Léoville-Barton is made up of 123 acres of vineyards planted to 72 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 % Merlot and 8% Cabernet France. The average age of the vines is 30 years. About 264,000 bottles are produced annually. La Reserve de Léoville-Barton is the estate's second wine.
Saint-Julien is the smallest of the four main Médoc appellations with 2,175 acres of vineyards. It is just south of Pauillac on the left bank of the Gironde, and although it has no First Growth châteaux, its 11 Classified Growth estates are widely admired. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that winemaking in Saint-Julien from all classifications “is consistently both distinctive and brilliant.” He adds it is Médoc’s “most underrated commune.” The best-known estates are Léoville Las Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Poyferré, Léoville Barton and Gruaud Larose, and most of those have riverside estates. The soil in this appellation is gravelly with clay. Cabernet Sauvignon is the main grape grown, and it is blended with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and sometimes small amounts of Petit Verdot.