2023 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

2023 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

Product: 20238006996
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2023 Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux

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Blend: 58% Cabernet Sauvignon; 34% Merlot; 4% Cabernet Franc; 4% Petit Verdot.

This is without a doubt one of the wines of the vintage. There is 50% new oak, which already fits seamlessly into the wine. The bouquet is attractive and incredibly pure with crushed red fruits, blackcurrant and rose petals. The palate is hugely concentrated and well textured, holding a firm tension throughout. It is all brought back to focus by very fine and elegant tannins. This is a classic Haut-Bailly with a modern charm.

Drink 2032 - 2065

Our score: 18.5/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson97/100

Inky plum colour, this is just so effortless, incredible savoury and moreish, salted cracker and cocoa bean, fine plentiful tannins, with plenty of hidden depths. Feels like a wine that you know you will be thrilled to be drinking in years to come. High floral aromatics unwind as you sit with the glass, showing purity of rose bud and liquorice, chalky tannins that are supple with finesse and grain. 50% new oak. Harvest September 11 to 29.

Drink 2031 - 2048

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous96-98/100

The 2023 Haut-Bailly was picked from September 11 to 29 at 40.5hL/ha. It is being raised in 50% new oak for a planned 14 months, plus another three in vats. Véronique Sanders told me that there is 6% vin de presse in the blend this year. This has a beguiling bouquet that instantly switches on a metaphorical neon sign that announces you are in the presence of a very serious wine. Extremely pure and delineated, the nose presents aromas of blackberry mixed with wild strawberry, cedar and light sous-bois. It's much more classical in style compared to the 2022. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins that frame the blackberry, raspberry, cedar and graphite-infused fruit. It boasts more grip and persistency on the finish than its peers, with a residual subtle pinch of black pepper. This ranks as one of the standout wines in Pessac-Léognan, perhaps in Bordeaux itself. Outstanding.

Drink 2030 - 2065

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous94-96/100

The 2023 Haut-Bailly is one of the most sensual, elegant wines I have tasted here. Soft, curvy and racy, the 2023 is impeccably balanced right out of the gate. Deceptively approachable and soft, the 2023 is much more about finesse than power. It’s a wine that represents the new spirit of Bordeaux—a wine that emphasizes understatement and class.

Drink 2033 - 2063

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW96-98/100

A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2023 Haut-Bailly has a pH of 3.75. It is deep garnet-purple in color and it waltzes out with showy scents of boysenberry preserves, stewed plums, and fruit cake, followed by underlying suggestions of Indian spices, menthol, graphite, and lavender, with a hint of cardamom. The full-bodied palate is rich and seductively plush, with layers of black fruits and exotic spices, plus mint and floral sparks, finishing long and fragrant. It is so graceful and opulent!

Drink 2029 - 2050

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16.5+/20

58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. 40.5 hl/ha. Cask sample.

Fresher than HB II with more of a Cabernet leaning (cassis and blueberry notes). Texturally smooth and round, the tannins fine but plenty of drive and persistence. Crunchy fruit and a light chalky finish. Less power than 2022 but more freshness and finesse and maybe balance.

Drink 2031 - 2045

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2024)

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Wine Advocate94-96/100

A blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon (harvested from the 20th to the 29th of September), 34% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the 2023 Haut-Bailly offers up aromas of mulberries, cassis, dark wild berries, pencil lead, licorice and spices, followed by a medium to full-bodied, concentrated and rich palate that is both layered and seamless, its deep mid-palate animated by lively acids, concluding with long, mineral, penetrating finish. Although it displays a darker, more brooding profile character than in previous years, it remains highly representative of its terroir and will benefit from some patience. It's being matured in 50% new oak.

Drink 2025 - 2045

Yohan Castaing, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling97-98/100

I am thinking about the purity of fruit here, with blackcurrants, cassis and lead pencil. There's an underlying character of mineral and flint. The palate is dense, focused and precise, with very fine tannins that are ultra-fine and layered and go vertically down the palate. Everything is in the right place. So much polish and a svelte nature. Then hints of hazelnut and walnut to the refined texture. Sophisticated. 58% cabernet sauvignon, 34% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2024)

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Such pretty aromatics, gorgeous florally on the nose - roses and peonies, blackcurrant leaf, cranberries and cherries with some plum and black chocolate too. Soft and smooth, sumptuous like Haut-Bailly usually is. Juicy and plump for the vintage, it keeps its defined frame thanks to fine tannins with slightly sharp edges but it also has some softness with ripe fruit and lots of freshness. This is a real success, slightly hot on the finish and a little toasted but this has finesse and complexity with layered of flavour and texture. Stylish and confident. 3.75ph. 6% press wine. 55% grand vin production. Ageing 14-15 months, 50% new oak. 4% Petit Verdot completes the blend.

Drink 2030 - 2050

Georgina Hindle, Decanter (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck95-97/100

The 2023 Château Haut-Bailly is 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, aging in 50% new French oak. It has an incredible sense of purity and elegance, with perfumed redcurrants, darker berries, dried herbs, flowers, and tobacco. This carries to a medium to full-bodied red with beautiful tannins, a seamless, layered mouthfeel, integrated acidity, and that undeniable sense of class and finesse that define this château.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Chateau Haut-Bailly

Chateau Haut-Bailly

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.

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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.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet-Haut-Brion, Ch. Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.

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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

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.

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