2011 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Bailly

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Village Pessac-Léognan
Classification Cru Classé
ABV 13%

13%. Merlot harvested over ten days from the 9th September, with the Cabernet from the 19th for another ten. Cool, quiet and rather withdrawn on first taste. The second time it seemed livelier, a bit of regal class and richness. Needs to open up, but shows good length. Rating: 92+? L&S (Apr 2012)

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Blackish crimson. Gosh, hugely concentrated on the nose and then rather pinched on the palate. Drying finish. Not the most natural, relaxed vintage for Haut Bailly. 2020-2032 Rating: 16.5 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2012)

While the elegant, stylish 2011 Haut-Bailly does not possess the density and concentration of the three vintages that preceded it, this is still outstanding wine as well as a tribute to the impeccable work done by proprietor Robert Wilmers and his manager, Veronique Sanders. Classic red and black currant aromas interspersed with notions of wet stones/crushed rocks, tobacco leaf and spice box are followed by a medium-bodied, well-balanced, impressively pure wine built on finesse and understatement. This beauty is capable of drinking well young or over the next 15+ years. 2012 - 2027 Rating: 91-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2012)

The Chateau Haut-Bailly is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc, which is close to 2000. Picking was from 9th September until the end of the month, around three weeks with 11-12 days of work. They thought they would end up picking in August as the season was so advanced! The bouquet is crisp and displays fine purity with blackberry, a touch of cassis, crushed stone and a touch of oyster shell. It has impressive delineation and focus. The palate is very well balanced and silky smooth in the mouth. It is tensile and animated, very composed and refined on the finish, perhaps more so than in the 2009 and 2010. It has lower alcohol than 2010 (13.0 degrees compared to 14.2). This is the style of Haut Bailly that I appreciate. Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, 2012)

Exemplary style and balance, racy tannins, it’s reminiscent of the magnificent 2008. (Les Echos, April 2012) Rating: 18 TAST, Bettane & Desseauve(Apr 2012)

Dark cherry crimson. Toasty but the oak doesn't cover the bright cassis and minerally freshness. Dense, pretty dry but very fine tannins and ones that suggest they will not overwhelm the fruit as it ages. Refined and more to come. 2018-2030 Rating: 17 Julia Harding MW, 2012)

Cabernet Sauvignon 50%, Merlot 47%, Cabernet Franc 3%. Alcohol 13%. A perfumed edge to the fruit on the nose here, lightly mineral, elegant, restrained too. This elegance comes through on the palate which has a very gentle, streamlined seam of fruit leading the way, and this remains restrained through the midpalate. Even though the tannins build here, showing their substance, they remain wholly within the wine, the gentle body of fruit enveloping them until they peak out only through the middle. Fresh and firm acidity complete the picture. The fruit character is certainly ripe, but with a fine minerally-gravelly edge to it. An elegant Haut-Bailly, gently successful, for those who miss the old days. Rating: 16-17 Chris Kissack, 2012)

Concentrated, slightly spicy and earthy black fruits, fine ripeness and great vineyard expression, tannins are still a bit raw but the rich middle fruit will dominate. Drink 2017-2035. Rating: 17.5 2012)

The age of the vines was the key to coping with the drought in 2011, according to technical director, Gabriel Vialard. Whatever the reason, he has made a very good wine, with rich, concentrated tannins and plenty of sweet coffee bean oak underpinned by serious, flavoursome black fruits, a touch of mint and refreshing acidity. 10+ years. Rating: 93 Tim Atkin MW, 2012)

Intense aromas of stones in the sun and dark fruits with hints of orange peel. Full to medium body, with ultra-fine and long tannins. A lovely line to this. Winery says its a baby 2000. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Rating: 92-93 James Suckling, 2012)

Château Haut Bailly

The now very reliable Pessac-Léognan estate of Haut Bailly was revived after its purchase by Belgian Daniel Sanders. He'd married into the Bordeaux wine trade in 1919, and formed a determination to buy Haut Bailly after tasting their awesome 1945. There was much work to do upon buying the estate, some of the vines were still ungrafted for instance, and the renovation was still not complete by the time Daniel's son took over in 1979. Véronique Sanders represents the latest generation to run the estate, albeit under the benign ownership of American Robert Wilmers who bought Haut Bailly in 1998 bringing more much needed investment, the fruits of which can be seen in the high quality of today's wines. The vineyards are planted to a fairly typical "Left Bank" mix of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.

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