Volume 72: Macarthur family correspondence relating to wine, 1846-1900: No. 107
Langoa Medoc, Octr. 14th
In company with Monr. Danl. Guestier the eldest of Mon. Guestiers two sons I left Bordeaux at 2 P.M. Friday 12th on a trip to the Medoc-bound & a strong tide being against us in the Shannon [Gironde?] now made slower progress than was expected. The noble river widens out vastly, especially after receiving the Dordogne until before we reached our landing place Beychevelle then it is several miles across. The shores are either fertile low meadow, vineyard, of more or less [indecipherable] upon, gentle or moderate hills, or hollow ground. Very populous all the way. It was dusk nearly when we landed, where we found Charles Barton a fine intelligent youth of about 20 waiting for us with a dog cart to convey us & luggage to the Chateau de Beychevelle about a mile from the landing place, where there, Madame Danl. Guestier & two other maidens of the family having [indecipherable] gone out to dinner (not expecting us) now came on here (the Chateau de Langoa) about 1½ miles further to dine with Charles Barton. His father is travelling in Italy with younger members of the family & Charles's next elder brother, just married is also on a honey moon expedition, so that the former with Mr. Jouet the "homme d'affaires" wine [indecipherable] were the only occupants of the fine old Chateau. It has been built from one to two centuries, is kept in excellent repair and being charmingly situated in the midst of the Langoa & Leoville vineyards which are of high repute and embossed in fine old trees with every convenient appurtenance around it must be a most agreeable residence. l was shewn into a most comfortable sleeping room and soon after found myself seated one of a quartette at an excellent dinner. None but choice Medoc wines were served, the growth of the two estates belonging to Mr. Barton of which we discussed just one bottle each, Langoa of 44, 46 & 47 & Leoville of 47. I begged them not to tell me which was considered to be the best, and was justified to find that my judgement was confirmed by Mr. Danl. Guestier who is reported to be one of the best authorities of Bordeaux. I now learned for the first time that great stress is laid upon the produce of particular years over certain vineyards, some more than upon the "cru" for instance Chateau Margaux, Chateau La Tour & Chateau Lafite are the three premier "Crus". Whilst Leoville is only a first 2nd "Cru" yet the Leoville of 1847 is preferred to the three former of that year owing to its singular [indecipherable]. I have since had an opportunity of repeatedly tasting "La Fitte" & "La Tour" of good years & Chateau Margaux & although stronger I did not think them so good as the Leoville of 1847 which I also have had at same time to compare with them.