A few words from Damien Barton-Sartorius, director of Château Léoville Barton, on the 2019 vintage.
How would you define the 2019 growing season in a few words?
Stressful because of weather forecast – [it was] difficult to predict - but lucky as all events ended up being just the right amount at the right time during all growing period.
How did the vines cope with a challenging flowering period?
The rainy episodes that had a significant impact were during flowering and harvest. Some flowering did not happen very well, depending on where the thunder showers fell. In Saint-Julien, the southern part was more affected. For us at Langoa Barton and Léoville Barton, flowering happened quite fast and rather well.
What about the heat?
The heat spikes where actually quite early in July which was positive as the veraison happened fast and homogeneously due to the reasonable hydric stress. August had more moderate heat with regular weather. We had had a good amount of rain in winter so the stock of water in the ground was fine most of the growing season. What’s more, our vines are old and have long roots which allow them to reach water.
What about the rains at harvest?
It was very positive from our point of view: the right quantity to dilute the very high sugars, push acidity up without creating too much rot pressure. It allowed maturity to continue and also brought more volume, which is always nice from a farmer perspective
How did you adapt the winemaking to the vintage?
Last year (2018), the potential alcohol was higher thus more challenging in the winery; 2019 was not particularly challenging: a saignée here or there to concentrate those that would benefit from it.
We always try to have fine tannins and as extraction was easy we needed to be gentle - but not as sensitive as 2018.
How would you define the style of this year's vintage?
We are surprised to have so much freshness and balance in the wines. They are very fine and drinkable with great potential as well. If we could try to help you calibrate the vintage: 2014 - 2017 < 2019 < 2010 - 2016 .
For you, what continues to make Bordeaux wine unique?
They remain the best value for money. They are reliable in quality. Vintage style variation is important and fun. Bordeaux is a terroir driven wine.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview