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.
The estate’s second wine, La Parde de Haut Bailly, was released in 1967, first sold under the name of Domaine de La Parde and changed to its current iteration in 1979. A blend of 47% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 has been widely praised as a “gorgeous” second wine with “feisty” characteristics and a smooth, supple texture.
"The 2017 La Parde Haut-Bailly is showing beautifully today. Pliant and engaging, La Parde is a terrific second wine. The dark red cherry, plum, licorice, spice and new leather are all nicely amped up in this super-expressive, generous wine. Soft contours make La Parde quite accessible young, but there is more than enough freshness to support 20+ years of very fine drinking. The blend is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is a little more Merlot than usual."
89-92 points, Antonio Galloni
"The 2017 La Parde de Haut-Bailly is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon with 35% Merlot. Deep garnet-purple coloured, it's scented of crushed blackcurrants, blackberries and pencil lead with touches of garrigue, bay leaves and dusty soil. The palate is medium-bodied, finely crafted and refreshing with lively red and black fruits in the mouth and a herbal lift on the finish."
89-91 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW
"65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvested 13–29 September. Winemaker Véronique Sanders said they made sure not to do too much extraction. 30% new oak.
Very dark with black core. Dark and fine fruit if not that open at the moment. Just a little hint of oak savour. Super-fresh and quite luscious but so fresh too. Juicy in the middle. Real beauty and quite accessible. Perfect balance with a fine tannin flourish on the finish. Drink 2022-2030"
16.5 points, Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com
"The 2017 La Parde Haut-Bailly was not affected by the frost since most of the parcels that were damaged went into the third wine. It has a sweet black cherry, black plum and a touch of violet, nicely defined and quite generous in terms of fruit, especially for a deuxième vin. The palate is medium-bodied with succulent ripe tannin, low acidity, rounded in texture with plush black fruit laced with a pinch of sea salt towards the finish. Very fine."
89-91 points, Neal Martin
"Currant and light herb character underlines the medium body and firm tannins here. Bright and pretty."
90-91 points, James Suckling
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.