Chateau Haut-Bailly 2016
Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Château Haut-Bailly always seems to show a little more muscle and sheer fruity strength than the majority of its same-appellation mates, and, while it does once again in 2016, it shows a certain sense of reserve and leaves the indelible impression that it is far from revealing all that it has. It is solidly built stuff with the tannic grip of a claret that, in no uncertain terms, begs for age, and we would not be surprised if it has yet to fully open up even as it approaches its tenth birthday.
The vineyard of Haut-Bailly as we know it today began to take shape when the Goyanèche and then the Daitze family acquired and unified the best vine growing plots in the 1530s. The estate remained in the Daitze Family until 1630 when it was purchased by Firmin Le Bailly and Nicolas de Leuvarde, wealthy Parisian bankers and lovers of Graves wines.
Following substantial investments, the property continued to be passed down the Bailly family line until 1736, when Irishman Thomas Barton took the helm. His strong business network allowed him to spread word about the quality of Chateau Haut-Bailly at a time when French ‘claret' was beginning its rise to stardom in England and Ireland.
Throughout the 18th century powerful, well-connected and ambitious owners drove Haut-Bailly to new heights, including Christophe Lafaurie de Monbadon and his son Laurent who went on to become Mayor of Bordeaux in 1805.
In 1872, Alcide Bellot des Minières acquired the estate and constructed the imposing, stone chateau building that remains to this day. He pioneered a precise, science-driven approach to viticulture, becoming a figure of legend widely known as the 'King of Vintners'. Thanks to Alcide's incredible drive, Haut-Bailly experienced a remarkable golden age, commanding the same prices as the First Growths: Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion.
The purchase of Haut-Bailly in 1955 by Daniel Sanders, a Belgian negociant, opened up a new era. Daniel and his son, Jean, recomposed the vineyard, renovated the winery and took pains to select only grapes from the best vines for their grand vin. They succeeded in giving the wines a unique style and reputation, and Haut-Bailly recovered its image as a great wine on the international marketplace.
In July 1998 Chateau Haut-Bailly was purchased by American Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of the M&T Bank based in Buffalo, New York. A lifelong lover of Bordeaux Grands Crus, Bob was behind every strategic decision, ensuring that Haut-Bailly followed a path of progression and continuity whilst remaining ever-respectful of its heritage.
After Mr. Wilmers purchased the property, he first asked Jean Sanders to stay on board, and then Véronique Sanders, fourth generation, to serve as general manager, overseeing a far-reaching investment programme to modernise the vineyards, cellars, offices, and chateau itself.
For Bob and his wife Elisabeth, Haut-Bailly went well beyond a financial investment: it was a joint passion. Following the sad passing of Bob in December 2017, his family has taken over and will continue in his footsteps. Together with the management team, they are committed to continuing Bob’s work in the same spirit and energy as in the past twenty years. The many recently initiated and future projects will be pursued.