Just half a mile from Haut Bailly’s vineyard, this estate is also owned by Robert Wilmers and the wine is made by the Haut Bailly team. It is fruitier, juicier, and more open than their Haut Bailly, and should provide great pleasure for mid-term drinking. The juicy Merlot fruit combines perfectly with a crunchy freshness, and its abundant fine tannins will knit together very nicely within a few years. Stylish.
The 2015 Le Pape is the third vintage made in four years by Haut-Bailly. Véronique Sanders described it as "a little bomb". It has a very attractive bouquet with ebullient dark plum, cassis and blueberry scents, quite floral and pure. The palate, built around 75% Merlot (the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon), is well balanced with a powdery texture on the entry. The new oak was quite prominent in my samples, although the final blend will be lower at 30%. With satisfying weight and structure, I would agree with Véronique that it is the best Le Pape...so far.
75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. (Vineyard is 85% Merlot.) Their third vintage; 2013 was declassified. Very dark crimson. Exceptionally dark crimson. Very subtle and plus and seductive on the nose. Really gorgeous! On the palate it's a little edgy still but with lots of richness. GV? Drink 2023-2035
A dense and racy red with dried berry and plum character, mineral and salt undertones. Full, fresh. 75% merlot and the rest cabernet sauvignon.
The 2015 Le Pape is round, succulent and generous, all qualities that are brought out by the radiance of the vintage and the high presence of Merlot in the blend. Red stone fruit, rose petal and sweet spice notes are front and center in this attractive, forward Pessac-Leognan from the team at Haut Bailly. Best of all, the 2015 will drink well early because of its fruit-driven juiciness and flesh. There is plenty to like. The blend is 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Known for its accommodation as much as its wines, this Haut-Bailly-owned property has been renovated in both cases. Balanced, vigorous and fine, the wine has chiselled tannins, seductive oak, bright minerality and a refreshing finish. Drink: 2020-28
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.