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.
"The 2016 Haut-Bailly was mightily impressive when tasted from barrel. Now, matured in 50% new oak and bottled at the end of April 2018 (they prefer to bottle before spring here), it has a very well defined bouquet of black fruit, graphite, crushed stone and light rose petal aromas that gain intensity with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with quite grippy tannin. This Haut-Bailly feels pure and classic in style, offering well-judged acidity and a sophisticated, quite tensile finish that lingers long in the mouth. I suspect this might close down in a year or two and deserves perhaps 8 to 10 years in bottle to show what it can really do. The best Haut-Bailly in the modern era? For certain. 2026-2050"
97 Points, Vinous
"Wonderful aromas of tobacco, sweet fruit and licorice follow through to a full body with ultra-fine tannins that caress every inch of your palate. Love the length and subtlety to this young wine. Gorgeous. Drink after 2024."
98 Points, JamesSuckling.com
'A big, vertical wine, the 2016 Haut-Bailly explodes onto the palate with tremendous depth and intensity. Readers should be in no rush to drink the 2016, as it won't be close to ready to drink for at least a decade, and I say that as an eternal optimist. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco, cedar, gravel and incense add to the wine's decidedly somber personality. 2028-2056'
97 Points, Antonio Galloni
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.