Wine Director Veronique Sanders expressed the importance of meticulous and gentle handling of the fruit during the wine making, and the fine quality of their merlot this year can clearly be seen in this excellent 2011. Beautifully sweet ripe loganberry aromas, this is a very layered and rounded wine, with rounded tannins and finely balanced concentration. Classy and complex.
The saturated ruby/purple-hued 2011 Haut-Bailly exhibits a glorious, subtle, noble set of aromatics consisting of red and black currants, sweet cherries, graphite, truffles and a faint hint of wood spice. The wine hits the palate with the profound elegance and purity that have become so much a characteristic under Wilmers and Sanders. Still youthful, with good acidity and freshness, this brilliant, medium-bodied 2011 needs another 4-5 years of bottle age, and should evolve effortlessly for 20-25 years. Drink 2018-2043. 94+/100
While the elegant, stylish 2011 Haut-Bailly does not possess the density and concentration of the three vintages that preceded it, this is still outstanding wine as well as a tribute to the impeccable work done by proprietor Robert Wilmers and his manager, Veronique Sanders. Classic red and black currant aromas interspersed with notions of wet stones/crushed rocks, tobacco leaf and spice box are followed by a medium-bodied, well-balanced, impressively pure wine built on finesse and understatement. This beauty is capable of drinking well young or over the next 15+ years. Drink: 2012-2027.
Dark cherry crimson. Toasty but the oak doesn't cover the bright cassis and minerally freshness. Dense, pretty dry but very fine tannins and ones that suggest they will not overwhelm the fruit as it ages. Refined and more to come. Drink 2018-2030.
Intense aromas of stones in the sun and dark fruits with hints of orange peel. Full to medium body, with ultra-fine and long tannins. A lovely line to this. Winery says its a baby 2000. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Concentrated, slightly spicy and earthy black fruits, fine ripeness and great vineyard expression, tannins are still a bit raw but the rich middle fruit will dominate. Drink 2017-2035. (4 stars).
Rich in sandstone composed of fossilised shellfish ("faluns"), Haut Bailly has one of the mostnoteworthy terroirs in Pessac Léognan. As a direct result of this ancient soil, their wines areextremely elegant and pure. Though not enormously high profile, this château is one of the mostappreciated by critics and collectors alike.
Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.