2022 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux
The 2022 Haut-Bailly was picked between 7 and 27 September and underwent a four-week cuvaison, taking longer to consume the sugar and was matured in 50% new oak. It has a bouquet that compels you to sit and contemplate. It gradually unfolds with blackberry, raspberry, potpourri and iris flower scents, well-defined, not showy but suave.
The palate is medium-bodied with filigree tannins. Minerals, black pepper and clove off a gentle grip with an impressive crescendo. It will need a decade in bottle. This Haut-Bailly has a haunting beauty, the kind of wine that will bring people to tears!
Drink 2033 - 2065
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Haut-Bailly is dark and quite brooding in bearing. The raw intensity of small grapes comes through in the wine’s dark fruit and firm, imposing tannins. Black cherry, gravel, cloves, cured meats, liquorice, incense and charcoal embers add to an impression of virile thrust.
I imagine the 2022 will take some time to come together, as the tannins are pretty forbidding at this stage.
Drink 2030 - 2052
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2022 Haut-Bailly is deep garnet-purple in colour. It needs a fair bit of swirling to bring out fragrant notes of kirsch, warm cassis, black raspberries, and underbrush, followed by hints of star anise, peonies, graphite, and wood smoke.
The full-bodied palate is densely laden with ripe, expressive black fruit and earthy accents, framed by firm, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and minerally. pH 3.92.
Drink 2030 - 2065
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Stunning aromatics, with crushed roses and fragrant spice, edges of incense and gunsmoke. On the palate, the fruits are intense cassis and bilberry, dusted with cocoa and liquorice root, and shot through with gentle acidities of pomegranate, mandarin peel, saffran and slate.
Concentrated dark rosemary on the finish, this is so well judged, effortlessly impressive, and a little atypical of Haut-Bailly in that there is less austerity to the tannic architecture than in the more understated vintages. Still, it captures the finessed heart of the property and will age for decades.
3.92ph, Axel Marchal consultant. 50% of the vines here are over 50 or 60 years old, helping them withstand the heat. 30hl/h yields, 2nd vintage in the new cellar.
Drink 2030 - 2048
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
The 2022 Haut-Bailly offers dark berry aromas complemented by iris, lilac, rose petals, graphite and liquorice accents. Medium to full-bodied, dense and concentrated, dense, it's layered and textural, with a deep core of fruit, powdery tannins and a brilliant, saline finish.
Vinified along traditional lines, it is a structured wine that will take some time to hit its stride, but at this early stage, it appears suppler and more seamless than its 2020 and 2019 predecessors.
A blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc from grapes picked from September 7 to 27, it's maturing half in new barriques and half in one- or two-year-old barrels.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
Refined bouquet with cassis, mineral and liquorice notes to the fore. Velvety texture, the plentiful tannins rounded and smooth. Rich and moelleux on the mid palate. Crunchy tannins on the finish that lend a little freshness. Warm. A mix of gourmandise and power.
Drink 2030 - 2042
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2023)
Incredible complexity of aromas here with ripe currants and blackberries, but also dried flowers like violets and roses. Then there’s forest flower character such as bark, mushroom and sandalwood. Black truffles. Full-bodied with tight and chewy tannins that are polished and pure, with a solid and tight finish. It builds on your palate and frames the wine beautifully. 56% cabernet sauvignon, 37% merlot, 5% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
Fragranced nose, purple fruits, blackcurrants, juniper, liquorice, crushed stones, salt, violets, roses, dark chocolate and cherries - perfumed, alive and expressive. Smooth but generous with crunchy fruit and salty touches that coat the super fine tannins with a powdery sensation that fills the mouth.
Pleasant terroir aspects, smooth, well textured and elegantly weighted. It gives dark fruit, and subtle savoury tones, with dark chocolate and herbal characteristics giving nuance. It has excellent length and freshness; it’s graceful but almost a bit light in fruit density and plushness - although the tannins are exceptional, they are so sleek and silky with definition and detail.
Feels well worked, gentle, confident and shiny. It’s missing a touch more excitement and juicy liveliness, but it’s hugely finessed, and you can’t fault the attention to detail of the tannins and the moreish quality they give. Great potential.
3.92pH. 2% Cabernet Franc completes the blend. A yield of 30hl/ha. Consultants Christophe Olivier and Axel Marchal. Harvest 7-27 September.
Drink 2029 - 2046
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Château Haut-Bailly will be one of the legendary vintages at this château, and it should be a no-brainer purchase for readers. Based on 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc, it has an incredible perfume of cassis, ripe black cherries, crushed stone, tobacco, and wood smoke.
Earning more than a few expletives in my notes, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a deep, layered, multi-dimensional mouthfeel, and ultra-fine, silky tannins. Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen; this is an incredible wine in the making!
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
About this WINE
Château Haut-Bailly is a Graves Cru Classé estate that has really hit form in the last 5-7 years. Haut-Bailly was bought by the Sanders family in 1955 and was run by Jean Sanders until 1998 when Robert G. Wilmers, an American banker, purchased it. It is located in the commune of Léognan, which is usually more associated with white wine production.
Haut-Bailly has 28 hectares of vineyards which are very well sited on high, gravelly ground just east of Léognan village. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). It is matured in small oak barriques (50% new) for 15 months and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Ch. Haut-Bailly makes small quantities of a rosé from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, preferring to use the single varietal to maintain freshness in the blend. The wine is fermented 1/3 in new oak barrels and 2/3 in stainless steel at 16°C.
Haut-Bailly is renowned for its smoothness and silkiness but, since the mid 1990s, the wines have better depth of fruit as well as more grip, concentration and body. They are now amongst the top echelons of Pessac-Léognan wines.
In 1986 a new communal district was created within Graves, in Bordeaux, based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city. Essentially this came about through pressure from Pessac-Léognan vignerons, who wished to disassociate themselves from growers with predominately sandy soils further south in Graves.
Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the classed growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.
The climate is milder than to the north of the city and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.