|Classification||5ème Cru Classé|
Slightly one dimensional nose, attractive but very restrained. Gentle soft fruit on palate - there is a nice pretty feel to it. Despite a hint of green leafiness and some mineral edge, this finishes long and bright. Slightly lacking fruit savour. Rating: 89 L&S (Apr 2013)
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The black fruits on the nose are deep brooding lots of black cherry. The palate has some rich flavours ripe fruit quite concentrated the black cherry and sloe underpinned by coffee beans which linger on the long finish. 2020-30 Rating: 88-91 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk (Dec 2013)
A blend 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, picked between 1 and 12 October, the Haut Bages Liberal has a dusty black fruit on the rather austere nose. The palate is medium-bodied with light tannins, a nice seam of acidity but to be honest, it is just a little flesh on the conservative finish that decided to play it safe. Rating: 86-88 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2013)
Despite a slightly pinched, narrow mid-palate, the 2012 Haut Bages Liberal has turned out to be reasonably attractive. Medium-bodied and elegant with notes of plums, black currants, cassis, cedar wood and underbrush, it is a well-made, pure effort to drink over the next 10-12 years. 2013 - 2025 Rating: 86-88 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com (Apr 2013)
Château Haut Bages Libéral
Pauillac Cinquième cru 1855 Château Haut Bages Libéral sits nearly atop the hill to the south of the hamlet of Bages - hence the name, Haut Bages - seperated by a country lane from Château Latour. The estate was owned by the Libéral family during the 18th Century, hence the last part of the name. Despite being surrounded by illustious neighbours - aside from Latour to the immediate south, Haut Bages Libéral can also count the two Pichons as "next door" - achieving 5th Growth status in 1855 seems to have been a bit of a high point as a century of typically Bordelais decline followed. In 1960 the Cruse family took control and, apart from cleaving off a portion of vineyards and handing them over to Château Pontet-Canet, the fortunes of Haut Bages Libéral began to improve. The Cruse family were forced to sell in 1982 and Château Haut Bages Libéral became part of the Merlaut family's Taillan Group, which includes Chasse Spleen and Gruaud Larose. The 28ha of vineyard are planted to 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. The wine is fermented in stainless steel before spending 16 months in wood (40% new). Whilst not living up to the greatest heights of its neighbour Latour, Haut Bages Libéral offers some very good value for a really well-made Pauillac.
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