A recent VIP visitor to Arden’s Mayfair office was at Château Léoville Barton when its 1970 vintage was coming to life.
I couldn’t find any 1970 and the best that I could come up with (vis-à-vis lunchtime budgets) was 1992.
This was the least good vintage of the 90s. Frankly, it was shocker – the wettest Bordeaux summer for half a century.
My colleague Madeline was underwhelmed – but she is very high-maintenance when it comes to food and wine ????.
The ’92 Leoville Barton wasn’t quite as bad as I feared.
We drank it with some cheese (and good company) and it was a pleasant aged claret.
It’s probably one of the better wines of this tricky Bordeaux vintage.
Fortuitously, the day after entertaining our VIP guest some 1970 Léoville Barton was offered to Arden by a private client in deepest South London.
After the usual struggle discussion about price (because everybody’s a retailer aren’t they… ????), a deal was agreed and the bottles were collected.
Unlike the the relentless rain of 1992, the 1970 Bordeaux summer was mostly warm and dry. It was a big crop and the vats and barrels at Léoville and elsewhere were full to capacity. It’s perhaps the best vintage between 1961 and 1982.
As a quid pro quo, a dinner with our VIP friend was designed and hosted by him at the Savile Club – Arden’s near neighbour in Brook Street, Mayfair – and a bottle of 1970 Léoville Barton was opened to commemorate his part in witnessing its birth.
The wine had a ruddy appearance and the nose was lovely – a nice example of cedary, smoky old claret.
On the palate it was still esculent – more than a match for the classy dinner created by chef Michael James – with a finish like a fading coal.
The LB 1970 is a classic wine, like an old black-and-white movie – drink it and enjoy it before it’s past the point of no return.
Only one bottle remains – unless it’s drunk at the Savile Club in the mean time…