More often than not Haut Bailly produces one of the wines of the vintage and their 2016, released today at £498 per 6 IB, is no exception. The dynamic and charming wine director Veronique Saunders and the immensely talented wine making team led by Gabriel Vialard have fashioned a wine that stops you in your tracks.
When current owner Robert Wilmers purchased the chateau in 1998, he with the help of Veronique began a project with the single aim to produce the best wine the estate could. Since then there have been many high points and without question the 2016 is the equal of any of them; beautifully delineated but at the same time brooding with an intensity that suggests a long and rewarding life ahead of it. This is a mightily impressive wine, more so considering the challenges of the vintage, and comes thoroughly recommended.
2016 has also been a hugely successful year for their second wine, La Parde de Haut Bailly, released at £260 per 12 IB. Described by Antonio Galloni as “a gorgeous second wine” and Matthew Jukes as “a standalone wine of immense charm and class” this excellent, and excellent value, second wine should not be overlooked.
Ch Haut Bailly Grand Cru Classé Pessac-Léognan 2016
£498.00 per 6 bottles IB
£996.00 per 12 bottles IB
£504.00 per 3 magnums IB
Véronique Sanders is rightly proud of her superb 2016, which I give the edge to over her already excellent 2015. She says the warm summer days allowed the fruit to reach the phenolic ripeness of 2005 and 2009, but the cool August and September nights maintained an acid level equal to the 2010 vintage. The perfect combination. Shining purple colour, with a lovely floral nose full of violets and fresh summer fruits. A very layered style of wine, rather than being flashy, with a lovely line of tannic intensity flowing throughout this fine wine, guaranteeing long term complexity. Superb. Drink 2025-2040. 95-97 points, Goedhuis & Co
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. 96-98 points Neal Martin
The 2016 Haut-Bailly is a huge, powerful wine that explodes in all directions. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco, licorice, menthol, incense and gravel are all pushed forward, but it is the wine’s volume and pure intensity that stand out most. Readers will have to be patient, as the 2016 is likely to be a slow-maturing wine, but even today the phenomenal finish is a marvel. The 2016 is a great Haut-Bailly in the making. It will reward several decades of cellaring. 94-97 points Antonio Galloni
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. 98-99 points, James Suckling
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. 97 points, Jane Anson, Decanter
The aromatic attack is amazing in this wine. There is serious intensity here, but this is not a heavy or muscular Haut- Bailly. The fruit is compact and sour, raging with powdery tannins and considerable energy, but the wine’s framework is bold and it takes this onslaught in its stride. The length is staggering and the balance spot on and while this is a very early moment in this wine’s life (I can see it making 40 years of age with ease) it is clear to see that this is a true Grand Vin. The overriding scent of roses and musk coupled with exoticism and also classicism is all-consuming. Delicious and lip-smacking but with a huge warning sign, saying ‘do not approach’, it is still easy to appreciate the generosity of fruit underpinned by the immensity of the power in this landmark vintage of Haut-Bailly. 19++ points, Matthew Jukes
La Parde de Haut Bailly Pessac-Léognan 2016
£260.00 per 12 bottles IB
£270.00 per 6 magnums IB
47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc. This is one of the most successful second wines of the vintage. It has delicious fruit on the nose and bright freshness and balance on the palate. The tannins are both firm and silky. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93 points, Goedhuis & Co
It has a typical bouquet for the vintage with black fruit, smoke and a touch of bay leaf, a little reserved at first but opening with time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin on the entry. The Merlot imparts a lot of vigor into this Deuxième Vin, which is a feisty little number with great tension on the finish, cedarwood and tobacco lingering on the aftertaste. This comes recommended. Drink Date 2020 – 2035. 90-92 points, Neal Martin
The 2016 La Parde de Haut-Bailly is a gorgeous second wine. Plump, dark and juicy, it will be absolutely delicious right out of the gate. The significant presence of Merlot in the blend gives La Parde its midpalate voluptuousness and juiciness. 92-93 points, Antonio Galloni
Moreish and rather indulgent, this is just the right side of expressive and intense. The Merlot helps to refresh the whole and the oak is wonderfully discreet. This is a standalone wine of immense charm and class and I will be following it closely. 17.5 points, Matthew Jukes