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2014 5ème Cru Classé Pauillac

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Pauillac
Classification 5ème Cru Classé
ABV 14%

This is bright and surprisingly elegant. Lots of fruit which is deep and nicely ripe, but the tannins are so silky and so fine that the feel is one of succulence and poise. Claire Villars says she does not remember an Haut Bages Liberal with this much elegance - and tannins 'si chargés'. Great Pauillac, but gentle. Rating: 90 L&S (Apr 2015)

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The 2014 Haut-Bages-Libéral has a lifted bouquet, quite floral in style with black cherries and a touch of cassis. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit tinged with graphite, moderate length with a slightly blunt finish. To be honest, it is not my favourite Haut-Bages Libéral in recent years. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2020 - 2032 Rating: 88 Neal Martin, (Mar 2018)

Rather stewed fruit on the nose. Lots to chew on, with tannins and greenness – a bit intrusive. Drinking range: 2022 - 2030 Rating: 15.5 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - (Feb 2018)

The 2014 Haut-Bages Libéral is vibrant and also quite closed in on itself, which is probably a good thing for the medium term. Smoke, gravel, smoke, anise, tobacco and intense red-fruit notes are front and center. I would give the 2014 a few years in bottle to shed some tannins, but I imagine the wine will always be a bit wild. Drinking range: 2019 - 2029 Rating: 90 Antonio Galloni, (Feb 2017)

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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