Legendary Bordeaux winery owner Anthony Barton has died aged 91. Owner of second growth Château Léoville-Barton and third growth Château Langoa-Barton, Anthony was known for both his charm and ambition.
“Anthony Barton was the perfect gentleman, always smiling and gracious,” Jean-Christophe Calvet, co-owner of négociant Aquitaine Wine Company, told Wine Spectator. “He told hilarious stories about the wine business and he had a terrific ability for observation of his visitors and customers. Above all, he was extremely modest about the incredible success of his two estates in St Julien. He was a man of distinction, quiet determination and elegance. We miss figures like Anthony Barton so much.“
Anthony’s ancestor Thomas “French Tom” Barton arrived in Bordeaux in 1725 and launched a trading firm. His grandson Hugh, who inherited the business, but nearly lost his life and his fortune during the French Revolution where he escaped prison and the guillotine, reportedly fled to Dublin, and transferred ownership of the company to his French shipping partner Daniel Guestier. When it was safe, he returned to France, eventually acquiring Château Langoa in 1821. Five years later, the vast Léoville estate was sold, and Barton acquired a large section of the vineyards, creating Château Leoville-Barton.
Anthony initially worked for Barton & Guestier. In 1954, Seagram acquired a 50 percent stake in Barton & Guestier. Anthony continued to work as export director until 1967, when he left to start his own business, Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton, and Seagram took full control.
His daughter Lilian joined him at Les Vins Fins Anthony Barton and, in 1983, Anthony inherited Châteaus Léoville-Barton and Langoa-Barton from his uncle. He lived at the château from 1986 with his wife, Eva.
In recent years, Lilian assumed management along with her husband, Michel Sartorius and their children Damien and Melanie. Lilian and Michel acquired Château Mauvesin-Barton in Moulis in 2011.
For more information, head over to Château Léoville-Barton’s official website.