|Classification||5ème Cru Classé|
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, www.vinous.com (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 - www.JancisRobinson.com (Feb 2018)
The Château Haut-Bages Libéral 2014 has generous bouquet with plush red cherry and crushed strawberry scents, touches of cassis developing in the glass. The palate is better with gently gripping tannin and an attractive grainy texture. It is nicely balanced with blackberry and graphite notes on the linear finish. Not a bad Pauillac 2014 with its pencil lead aftertaste, though it could do with a bit more flair. Drinking range: 2018 - 2030 Rating: 88-91 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2015)
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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