Posted on October 11th, 2008
There is so much history and myth about the “Irish Wine Geese” in Bordeaux, you’d think we invented wine, when not building America and Great Britain.
The “Barton” family is arguably the most famous of the “Irish Wine Geese” being featuring in many of Bordeaux’s wines, from Barton & Guestier wine merchants to the famous Châteaux Léoville Barton.
Thomas Barton’s arrival in Bordeaux
Tom Barton arrived in Bordeaux in 1725 and not long after established himself as a wine merchant, shipping wine back to the old country and further afield.
Sixty years later with the French revolution in full swing, Hugh Barton (Tom’s grandson), as a foreigner, could not own any property in Bordeaux. To maintain his business interests, Hugh teamed up with a Frenchman, Guestier, a partnership which was later to become Barton & Guestier, which is still know today.
In the 1820′s, with all the profits from his merchant business, Hugh Barton was able to buy into winemaking, purchasing what is now Langoa-Barton and the highly regarded Léoville Barton. Both properties are still run by the Barton family which, according to Chris Kissack at thewinedoctor.com (the best online resource for Bordeaux information), at over “180 years this is the longest period of single-family ownership of any property in Bordeaux”.
Why the history lesson?
Well, with the new Thomas Barton Réserve range, B&G are giving a hat-tip to to the rich wine history of the Barton family and paying homage to the revered Thomas, the man who started it all.
They’ve even gone to the trouble of recreating the heavy 18th century-style Bordeaux bottle with a “short coloured capsule”.
The Thomas Barton Réserve wines
There are six wines in the range:
- Thomas Barton Réserve Bordeaux: a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot
- Thomas Barton Réserve Graves: a white blend of Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon
- Thomas Barton Réserve Médoc: Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend from the Médoc on Bordeaux’s left bank.
- Thomas Barton Réserve Saint-Emilion: from the right bank of the Gironde where Merlot dominates blends along with smaller amounts of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Thomas Barton Réserve Margaux: Made “in the tradition of the first growths”, this is a 65% Cab. Sauvignon, 35% Merlot blend
- Thomas Barton Réserve Sauternes: the classic sweet stuff made from rotting grapes (which shrivels the grape, concentrating the flavours of the grape).
Courtesy of Julia Kennedy in Gilbeys, I’ve got my hands on the six wines above and will be posting tasting notes along with some tidbits on Bordeaux over the next couple of weeks.