Barton named Decanter Man of the Year

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  • Tuesday 27 February 2007

Anthony Barton of Chateau Leoville-Barton has been named Decanter Man of the Year 2007.

barton

One of Bordeaux’s most respected proprietors, Barton – the 24th Man of the Year – joins an illustrious club.

The first to hold the torch was Lebanese veteran Serge Hochar of Chateau Musar in 1984. He was followed by Margaux proprietors Laura and Corinne Mentzelopoulos – who along with May-Eliane de Lencquesaing of Chateau Pichon Lalande and Jancis Robinson MW are the only women to be awarded the honour.

Other great names include Robert Mondavi, Grange’s Max Schubert, Andre Tchelistcheff, Angelo Gaja, Paul Draper, Ernst Loosen – and many more.

‘It was a great surprise,’ Barton told decanter.com. ‘I don’t deserve it but I’m absolutely thrilled. I know quite a few of the previous men of the year – like Len Evans – so I’m in good company.’

Barton features in the forthcoming April issue of Decanter magazine, in an interview with Stephen Brook, in which he speaks in detail of his often controversial attitude to pricing.

‘Unlike almost everyone else in Bordeaux,’ Brook writes, ‘he refused to increase his opening prices in [the mediocre] 1997.’

Barton said he refuses to ‘play the game of always competing with my neighbours. That’s all about vanity and doesn’t help the image of Bordeaux.’

And he adds that he’s quite happy that Leoville-Barton is cheaper than its peers. After all, he says, there are only so many new cars one can buy after each vintage.

The Irish-born veteran of Bordeaux – he has lived there 55 years, and has run Leoville-Barton and its neighbour Langoa-Barton since his uncle Ronald Barton retired in 1984 – says that one country that interests him is South Africa.

He’d like to try something there, he tells Brook, ‘but it’s only in recent years that our financial position would have made that possible, and now it’s rather too late.’

He tells decanter.com that by ‘too late’ he means that there is certain instability in the political situation, ‘and also because I am 76 years old and I want to spend more time at home in Bordeaux.’

Barton is now looking forward to the Man of the Year dinner on 13 March at London’s Turf Club. ‘Some of the guests are offering some wonderful wines. Jean Hugel is bringing a Riesling, and Pol Roger are going to bring some Champagne for the beginning and at the end.

‘I’m doing the seating plan now. It’s very difficult as there are various people who may get offended if they’re put in the wrong place.’

  • Read Stephen Brook's feature in the April issue of Decanter magazine, out on 7 March. Subscribe now and save up to 30%

    Decanter Men (and Women) of the Year 1984-2006

    2006Marcel Guigal -Rhône

    2005Ernst Loosen -Mosel

    2004Brian Croser -Adelaide Hills

    2003Jean-Michel Cazes -Bordeaux

    2002Miguel Torres -Penedès

    2001Jean-Claude Rouzaud -

    Champagne

    2000Paul Draper -California

    1999Jancis Robinson MW -London

    1998Angelo Gaja -Piedmont

    1997Len Evans, OBE AO -Australia

    1996Georg Riedel -Austria

    1995Hugh Johnson -London

    1994May-Eliane de Lencquesaing -

    Bordeaux

    1993Michael Broadbent -London

    1992André Tchelistcheff -California

    1991José Ignacio Domecq -Jerez

    1990Prof Emile Peynaud -Bordeaux

    1989Robert Mondavi -California

    1988Max Schubert -Australia

    1987Alexis Lichine -Bordeaux

    1986Marchese Piero Antinori -

    Florence

    1985Laura and Corinne Mentzelopoulos -

    Bordeaux

    1984Serge Hochar -Lebanon

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