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Bordeaux 2015: Château Haut-Bailly

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0993Château Haut-Bailly has produced beautiful wine in 2015. This historic property with enviable terroir close to Léognan has been on song for a number of years. Considerable investments by the owners across almost two decades are resulting in wines that are now regularly amongst the very best Bordeaux offers. Haut-Bailly’s 2015 blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, and, for the first time, a smidgen [4%] of Petit-Verdot, is top-drawer. It has tremendous concentration and depth but also approachability this year which contrasts with the wines usually brooding infancy. Recent acquisition Château La Pape is pretty and perfumed and has attractive texture. Both wines, Haut-Bailly especially, speak to the excitement that surrounds the 2015 vintage here in Pessac-Léognan.

The success of the vintage lies both in the weather [less rain in September than in Bordeaux’s northern appellations] but also in the terroir. Warm and dry conditions enabled even flowering which led to a consistent fruit set. Hot weather in June and July evoked the spirit of 2005, but these dry conditions were ameliorated somewhat by the deep ground water reserves at Haut-Bailly, built up over a wet winter and a series of previously wet summers. Rain in late July spurred on colour change in the grapes [veraison] which was quick and even. Generally dry conditions in September [Pessac-Léognan had half its average amount of rainfall] allowed for the harvesting of consistent and healthy fruit, with excellent potential alcohols. Yet the cooler August and September conditions allowed the fruit to retain acidity. This helps create the feeling of balance and harmony in the wines. The vendange occurred between September 15 and October 8.

Château Haut-Bailly 2015 is exciting, certainly up there with 2009 and 2010 qualitatively if different stylistically.

The following wines were tasted at Château Haut-Bailly on Thursday 7th April, 2016.

Château Le Pape, Pessac-Léognan

Deep colour; quite saturated; purple at edge; deep and ripe; some earth; some mineral notes; pretty and perfumed; lots of texture; plenty of extract and matter but soft and harmonious tannins; some chew; elegance; harmonious wine. Nice finish. This is the third vintage of Le Pape produced by the new owners following a new replanting regime better suited to the soils with increased vine density. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5ha]. Drink 2020-2028. 89-91+

La Parde Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

Deep colour; purple edge; deep wine; chocolate and some earth; strong; cooler; structured wine; strict; fresh acidity; grip on the finish; good stuff. [60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. 13.6%]. Drink 2019-2025. 87-89+

Château Haut-Bailly, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, Pessac-Léognan

Deep and glossy; colour tight to the rim; purple at edge; very pure Cabernet nose; clean; precise; some minerals; spices at the edge; very deep indeed; lovely wine; purity; texture but plenty of flesh here too; really excellent; open for HB at this stage; lots of elements; beautiful Cabernet and structured Merlot; outstanding quality; flesh here but considerable structure beneath; finishes correct with nice acid twist. Grip and structure at the end. Long. All adds up to a tremendous effort from Haut-Bailly. [Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 36%, Petit Verdot 4%, 50% new oak, 13.6% alc]. Drink 2023-2040. 96-98+


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