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Barton: ‘I don’t make investment wines’

Anthony Barton of Chateau Leoville-Barton has vigorously defended his pricing policy, saying he will not make ‘investment wines’ like many of his neighbours.

Speaking exclusively to Decanter, Anthony Barton suggests that many Bordeaux properties make wine simply for investment.

‘Rightly or wrongly, my idea has always been that wine is made to be drunk,’ the owner of Chateau Leoville-Barton and its sister property Langoa-Barton tells Margaret Rand in the January 2012 issue of the magazine.

‘The price should be what suits the people who buy and drink it. Higher-priced wines are sold for investment. Some châteaux only make investment wines; they’re exclusively speculative, and there’s a lot out there.’

Leoville-Barton has always had a reputation for reasonable pricing en primeur, but Barton (pictured), among many others, put his prices up on the 2010 vintage.

‘And I should jolly well think so,’ he says. ‘They went up a quarter as much as everyone else’s. Ex-château they went up to €52 from €42. Lynch-Bages or Montrose went up 70 or 80%.’

Barton, who was Decanter Man of the Year 2007, insists that he does not stint himself, and has the wherewithal to hire a private jet if he fancies a spot of salmon fishing in Scotland, Rand says.

But, he says, if he had made vast amounts of money from the properties that he inherited from his uncle Ronald Barton, he may well have bought another property.

‘If I’d been younger I might have been interested in going abroad; South Africa, maybe. It wouldn’t have been as an investment; it would have been something I’d live with.’

  • If Barton had not been a second son he would not be in Bordeaux now. Family tradition meant his elder brother Christopher inherited Straffan, the Barton estate in Ireland, while Anthony took on what at the time were two crumbling and unprofitable Bordeaux properties. But Straffan was sold in 1949, before Christopher could inherit, and is now the Kildare Hotel and Country Club. ‘The second sons have been better off for the last [few] generations,’ Barton says.

The January issue of Decanter is out this Wednesday 7 December.

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Written by Adam Lechmere

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