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CHÂTEAU HAUT BAILLY

2016 Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan Château Haut Bailly

Grapes Merlot, Cab Sauv, Petit Verdot, Cab Franc
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Village Pessac-Léognan
Classification Cru Classé

53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, Petit Verdot 4%, Cabernet Franc 3%. Cool tension. With the fruit flavours there's weight but above all intensity. Very streamlined and sleek. Feels very long-term. Palate-staining intensity, really drawn-out and long. Superb. Drinking range: 2028 - 2050 Rating: 93-95 L&S (Apr 2017)


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The 2016 Haut-Bailly has a concentrated bouquet with more floral scents than its peers, violets and iris petals infusing the black fruit. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine bead of acidity. Quite mineral-driven, leading to a vibrant finish full of tension. There is classy winemaking behind what is clearly a very classy wine. It might have shut down in recent months, hence my slightly lower score, but expect that to rise again. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2026 - 2050 Rating: 95+ Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)

Matching the brilliant 2015, the 2016 Château Haut Bailly checks in as a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc brought up in 60% new French oak. This sensational effort boasts a deep purple color as well as a massive bouquet of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, crushed flowers, and graphite, with just hints of smoky earth emerging with time in the glass. Deep, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, it’s nevertheless all about finesse and elegant, and this beauty just glides across the palate. Reminding me a little bit of the 2009 with its textural richness and length, it’s another awesome wine from Véronique Sanders that’s capable of keeping for 30+ years. Drinking range: 2019 - 2049 Rating: 98 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)

The 2016 Haut Bailly is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked between 26 September until 18 October. Coming in with 13.6% alcohol and an IPT of 81, which is quite close to 2010, this was quite closed at first and so I allowed my sample 15-20 minutes to open while discussing the vintage with Véronique Sanders and technical manager, Gabriel Vialard. It has a classic bouquet that is certainly less opulent and extravagant than recent vintages. This is more controlled and focused, beautifully delineated with blackberry, cedar and Earl Grey aromas that gently waft from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine-grain tannin, sappy with superb delineation and real weight and presence in the mouth. There is just the right amount of spice and salinity, the latter beckoning you back for another sip and there is a haunting pencil lead note that forms the closing credits on the aftertaste. What a brilliant Haut-Bailly, perhaps the best that I have tasted in almost 20 years of tasting at this estate. Drinking range: 2024 - 2060 Rating: 96-98 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 2017)

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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