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Chateau Haut-Bailly (1.5 Liter Futures Pre-Sale) 2016

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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JS 99
James Suckling
This young wine shows such pinpoint precision with a full body, dense fruit and gorgeous intensity. Muscular yet toned and beautiful. It really builds on the finish. Very fine-grained. So long and beautiful. Sophisticated power. Oyster shell and iodine undertones. Traditional style yet with a modern interpretation. Savory.
Barrel Sample: 98-99 Points
WE 98
Wine Enthusiast
Firm tannins cannot mask the fact that this aromatic wine is gorgeous, rich and fruity. It has a powerful structure to sustain the black plum and berry flavors. It is an impressive and concentrated wine, ready for the long haul.
Barrel Sample: 96-98 Points
RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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.
Barrel Sample: 96-98 Points
D 97
Decanter
Hugely successful, a wine where the architecture becomes clearer with every minute that it remains in your mouth. Each strand of those softly-spun tannins really stands out, giving effortless support to the cassis, charcoal, tobacco and slate. Over it all, the most appealing, gently curling woodsmoke comes right on up through the palate. The whole effect is of a soft, caressing texture that manages to also be hugely intense. A wonderfully complex layering of flavours, absolutely no doubt that this is going to age beautifully. Harvest lasted for 12 days but was spread out over four weeks. Alcohol levels are the same as last year because they had no blockages of ripening. The blend is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc aged in 50% new oak.
Barrel Sample
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Chateau Haut-Bailly

Chateau Haut-Bailly

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Chateau Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
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Chateau Haut-Bailly is situated on the left bank of the River Garonne, south of Bordeaux  in the commune of  Pessac-Léognan –  home to all the Graves Crus Classés. A vineyard with 30 hectares (74 acres) of planted vines on one piece of  land, it sits on a high ridge overlooking a small winding road leading from Leognan to Cadaujac. The sloping terrain is well-graded and has excellent drainage.

If great wine results from a harmonious relationship between man, the vine, and nature – a concept the French call terroir – the most subtle of these three elements is the soil. At Haut-Bailly, it is sandy, mixed with gravel, and rests on a subsoil of sandstone petrified with the remains of prehistoric fossil shells. All this contributes to the special character of Haut-Bailly wine.

Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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