April 27th 2019
We have had storms all week but today is a beautiful sunny day. We have a day in Pessac Léognan tasting at some of the region’s great properties. Our first visit was to La Mission Haut-Brion. There has been a lot of talk about these wines and they were all fabulous. David noted how much La Mission Haut-Brion had evolved since the UGC tasting, showing far better integration of fruit and tannins. Haut-Brion was nothing short of majestic and this is certainly one of the wines of the vintage. It is an extraordinary wine that is effortless yet hugely powerful. Both La Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion and Le Clarence Haut-Brion are true baby siblings of the grand vin, showing all the hallmarks of the flagship cuvée but without the depth. La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc and Haut-Brion Blanc were amazing, the first beautifully vibrant and the Haut-Brion Blanc very serious and composed.
Then on to Les Carmes Haut-Brion (always a great tasting). Unusually for Bordeaux, this property does 30% whole bunch pressing which gives the wine a certain sweetness and structure. It was also one of the earliest properties to pick in the appellation (15th September). The resulting wines have incredible freshness with noticeably lower alcohol. It also boasts one of the most distinct wineries that looks a bit like a submarine, most impressive!
We had a fabulous tasting at Domaine Chevalier with the wonderfully charismatic Olivier Bernard. He said it was the best Domaine Chevalier he has ever made, and it really was superb: a real beauty with concentrated elegance and wonderful freshness. Domaine Chevalier Blanc was also very good indeed, showing lots of concentration and complexity that will make for a delicious glass of wine.
You could spot Ch Haut Bailly from quite a way off due to the enormous crane being used for the extensive building works to dig, what sounds like, spectacular new cellars. The range of wines was fabulous and included a delicious Le Pape that showed lovely vibrant red-berried fruits. It was great to also see the new label of the second wine Haut Bailly II. Both this and the grand vin showed off the wonderful terroirs of this property and had a delicate texture, wonderful freshness and lots of concentrated fruit.
Veronique Saunders gave us an amazing lunch with a magnificent flight of wines. 2015 Parde Haut Bailly, followed by 2015, 2014, 2006, 2010 Haut Bailly. A fascinating line up, 2015 was gorgeous with juicy red fruits. It was great to see how the 2010 was progressing, it will last decades! 2014 was lovely and elegant with great freshness and the 2006 has some nice, sweet maturity of fruit with some good density. We finally got to the airport with a storm closing in around us!