While the estate known as Chateau Haut-Bailly dates back to 1461, its wine production began in 1530, falling into the hands of the de Leuvarde and Le Bailly families in 1630. It was purchased in 1998 by Robert G Wilmers, a Harvard-educated banker, and his French wife Elisabeth and under their care, the estate has begun producing some of the best wines in its history. The cellars and production procedures were renovated and modernised and this year, the Chateau itself was awarded government recognition of its cultural and vinious heritage.
From some of the oldest vines in the region, the 2016 has been lauded as one of the Chateau’s best, with Neal Martin hailing it as “perhaps the best that I have tasted in almost 20 years of tasting at this estate.
"This is a vivid and powerful red with lots of bright fruit and spice character. Full body, chewy tannins and loads of fruit on the finish. Firm and focused tannins. Lots of energy and vibrance. Spice and violet leaf undertone. Pure fruit. Pure structure."
98-99 points, James Suckling, jamessuckling.com
"The 2015 Haut Bailly is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot (Véronique Sanders told me that the latter was planted three years ago.) My sample included 80% new oak, but there will be 50% in the final blend. Deep in colour, the bouquet is very intense with multilayered blackberry, blueberry, crème de cassis and subtle black olive aromas, introverted at first but soon racing out of the blocks with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe, quite firm tannin. This is an Haut-Bailly with real backbone, real sense of purpose. It could have tipped over into being overpowering due to that intense Merlot, but the acidity keeps everything in check and the finish demonstrates wonderful tension. In particular, the aftertaste is incredibly long in the mouth. This Haut Bailly is up there with the 2009 and 2010 - a bravura Pessac-Léognan destined for long-term ageing. Do yourself (and the wine) a favour and cellar it for 12 years, drinking the 2012 or 2013 before reaching for this."
95-97 points, Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com
"The 2015 Haut-Bailly is remarkably vivid for such a big wine. Firm beams of tannin give the 2015 much of its shape and overall energy, both of which the 2015 needs to balance its superb concentration. Sweet floral and spice notes give lift to the unctuous red cherry jam, pomegranate and blueberry flavours. The 2015 is likely to need quite a bit of time to come together, but it is already a very special wine. Even with all of its obvious depth, the 2015 retains gorgeous freshness. In 2015, the blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, the first time Petit Verdot has appeared in the blend."
95-97 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
Though wine has been made in Pessac-Léognan since ancient Roman times, it was only in 1987 that the neighbouring villages of Pessac and Léognan were singled out from the surrounding Graves region and given their own appellation. The designation acknowledges that Pessac-Léognan is home to the most acclaimed properties of Bordeaux’s Graves region, such as the Premier Cru Château Haut-Brion.
The vineyards of Pessac-Léognan, just south of the city of Bordeaux, are crowded by suburban sprawl. About 3,000 acres are dedicated mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown for red wines, with a small portion devoted to Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and other grapes for white wines. Pessac-Léognan red wines are elegant and concentrated, with medium to full body. They offer distinct aromas and flavours of mineral and earth, and can have lush fruit or smoky tobacco character. Pessac-Léognan white wines are dry, unlike the famous sweet white wines from nearby Sauternes. They are generally crisp and minerally with citrus notes, often with rich character from oak aging and capable of improving with additional age.