Saint-Julien clarets are reckoned to be amongst the finest available because of the well-drained soil and their many generations of experience since the growers were listed back in 1855. My Father first bought bottles of Château Léoville-Barton in honour of our neighbours in Cambridge, the Bartons. This bottle of 1989 vintage was one of the last bottles of Léoville-Barton he laid down for drinking much later. The same year, 1989, he also inscribed and presented to me a copy of Féret’s classic guide Bordeaux and its wines.
We came to it with high expectations and were not disappointed. The cork pulled without trauma. Two years short of the thirtieth birthday of this vintage, the wine was strong and full, appreciably tannic when first opened but mellowing out within a very few minutes to a fine, strong and very enjoyable wine firstly with some Gruyère and some Camembert as apértitif; and also when Terry presented, a short while while later, an entrée of venison in a sloe sauce with a little of his home-grown salsify alongside fine green beans.