WSDC Event - The Three Leovilles Dinner

What: The Three Leovilles Dinner  
When: 05 Nov 19 ,19:00 -22:30
Where: Drapers Hall EC2N 2DQ map
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Guest Speaker: Tim Sykes, The Wine Society

St Julien is a small commune with the least production of the four major Medoc players – St Estèphe, Pauillac, and Margaux being the other three. But with its mounds of gravel – not as deep as in Pauillac - and with the Léoville vineyards having a view of the river it has the potential for great wine production. 

In 1638 Jean de Moytié planted extensive vineyards just south of Château La Tour de St Lambert (now Ch Latour) and which he modestly called Mont Moytié. By the vagaries of marriage, in 1740, the land eventually became part of the estate of Alexandre de Gascq who renamed it Léoville and by 1775, the wines of Léoville were sold under four different names: Abadie, Lacaze, Chevalier, and Monbalon. One of Alexandre’s four heirs – he had no children - was The Marquis de Las Cases. The next bit gets complicated with the interruption of the French revolution, the inheritance laws, the childless marriage and probably some family warfare.

Meanwhile, Hugh Barton, the fourth son of the rather acrimonious and disagreeable William Barton who nevertheless fathered nine children, ran the family’s wine business in Bordeaux until the middle of the French Revolution (1789- late 1790s). On the 14th October 1793, Hugh and his wife Anna were arrested and incarcerated along with other British nationals living in Bordeaux. Their assets were seized and their future looked uncertain. William Barton had fallen ill and poignantly died on the 23rd October 1793 before his son could say his goodbyes. Hugh and Anna were unexpectedly freed on the 21st December 1793. They moved back to England and Ireland although Hugh maintained close relations with Bordeaux. The company did so well that he was able to purchase Château Langoa in 1821 and then the Chevalier and Monbalon domaines from the Léoville estate in 1826 and which he renamed Léoville Barton. Hence the inscription above the front portal “CHATEAU LANGOA – LEOVILLE BARTON”.

The rest of the Léoville vineyards (Abadie and Lacaze), still in the hands of the Las Cases descendants, accounted for three quarters of the original estate. In 1840, the Lacaze parcels became Château Léoville Lascases, which was inherited by Adolphe de Lascase. His sister, Jeanne, inherited the remaining Abadie parcels, which were transferred to her daughter, who married Baron Jean-Marie Poyferré de Cerès. Hence, Château Léoville Poyferré was born.

The largest plot of Léoville-Las Cases’ vineyards is nowadays known as the Grand Clos, and is located on the northern boundary of St-Julien, with only the Juillac tributary separating its vineyards from those of Château Latour in Pauillac.

So, we have the three Léovilles with fairly similar terroirs but different winemakers. We are going to explore to 1995 Poyferré and Barton along with the 1998 Las Cases in the safe hands of Tim Sykes the Bordeaux buyer for the Wine Society who many years ago could not tell Tetleys from Terroir but knew what was Wednesbury unreasonable.

But first some Tarlant reserve NV champagne with some bottle age.

Then with the seared seabass on a thermidor mousse and a prawn sauce vierge a white Bordeaux − Fieuzal 2013. Since 2001, Fieuzal has been owned by Brenda and Lochlann Quinn (Chair Allied Irish Banks), a couple passionate about wine who completely rebuilt the winery in 2011. Three quarters sauvignon blanc one quarter semillon this wine packs “stone, lemon grass, spice and vanilla” (Wine Cellar Insider 2016).

With mint crusted cannon of lamb, milk potatoes, pea purée and baby vegetables:
1995 Léoville Poyferré
1995 Léoville Barton
1998 Léoville Las Cases

Doisy Védrines 2007 should complement the apple tart tatin and vanilla bean ice cream.

Coffee follows.

The dining Club has purchased the three 2017 Léovilles, so make good tasting notes; do not relinquish your membership and hang on in there so we can rerun the dinner in about twenty years.

- Tony Wright

Dress Code: Black Tie 

Tickets:
Guests: £185
Members: £175

Forthcoming events:

Thursday, 5 December 2019 – Christmas Tasting and Raffle at the Army & Navy Club

Wednesday, 5 February 2020 – Rhône Dinner with Marcel Orford-Williams at the Apothecaries’ Hall

Tuesday, 2 June 2020 – 70th Anniversary Dinner and AGM, including ’89 Lafite and 1970 Grahams, with Sebastian Payne at the Drapers’ Hall

Vintages available from The Wine Society:

Half bottle of Château Doisy Védrines, Barsac 2012

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