2023 Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac, Bordeaux

2023 Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac, Bordeaux

Product: 20238014795
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2023 Château Haut-Bages Libéral, Pauillac, Bordeaux

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Description

The 2023 Haut-Bages Libéral was picked at 53hL/ha between September 12 and 30 and matured for 16 months in 40% new oak. 

The nose was quite backward when I tasted it, though Claire Villars-Lurton commented that it had just closed down the week I visited. It will be more open once in bottle. The palate is more indicative: clean, fresh, linear and nicely focused, with more grip than the Ferrière. Touches of graphite linger on the finish. This is very classically styled, and there is nothing wrong with that–a wine for Pauillac purists and those seeking wines with fewer sulfites.

Drink 2028 - 2046

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson93/100

Intense and crunchy blue and black fruits, delivering tons of Pauillac character, reserved and well judged, juicy cassis, liqourice root, slate and cocoa bean. Delicous, a lovely vintage of this wine. Harvest September 12 to 30. 53hl/h yield, just a little higher than the already high yield of Pauillac in this vintage, no mildew. 3.48ph, 40% new oak, with the rest of one year old, pls concrete eggs and amphora. Claire Villars-Lurton owner.

Drink 2030 - 2044

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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Neal Martin, Vinous92-94/100

The 2023 Haut-Bages Libéral was picked at 53hL/ha between September 12 and 30 and matured for 16 months in 40% new oak. 

The nose was quite backward when I tasted it, though Claire Villars-Lurton commented that it had just closed down the week I visited. It will be more open once in bottle. The palate is more indicative: clean, fresh, linear and nicely focused, with more grip than the Ferrière. Touches of graphite linger on the finish. This is very classically styled, and there is nothing wrong with that–a wine for Pauillac purists and those seeking wines with fewer sulfites.

Drink 2028 - 2046

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Antonio Galloni, Vinous94-96/100

The 2023 Haut-Bages Libéral is fabulous. Deep, layered and exquisitely beautiful, the 2023 bristles with tension. Dark red cherry, plum, spice, leather, menthol and liquorice grace a wine of depth, richness and sensuality. It's a terrific effort from proprietor Claire Villars-Lurton.

Drink 2030 - 2053

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2024)

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Jancis Robinson MW16+/20

86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot. 53 hl/ha. Cask sample.

Purple hue. Slightly restrained and reduced on the nose. Fruit is present on the palate with freshness as well. Firm tannins but an austere, chalky finish. Not a great sample. Should improve.

Drink 2028 - 2040

James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2024)

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Wine Advocate93-95/100

It's a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon and 14% Merlot with a low pH of 3.48.

The 2023 Haut-Bages-Libéral is very promisingbursting with aromas of dark berries, cassis, pencil shavings and violetsfollowed by a medium to full-bodied, fleshy and suave palate with an enveloping core of fruit, lively acids typical of this limestone terroir, and sweet, powdery tannins. 

William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2024)

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James Suckling95-96/100

86% cabernet sauvignon and 14% merlot. From biodynamically grown grapes with Demeter certification.

A very pure and beautiful HBL with blackcurrant and mineral notes, like crushed stones, and a vivid freshness. Purity and brightness in the centre palate, with the essence of cassis and a crunchy minerality from part of the vineyard in limestone.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (May 2024)

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Decanter93/100

3.45pH

Great aromatics, really quite scented on the nose. Highly fragrant with purple flowers, damsons and rich black and red fruit. It has great acidity and is more juicy and fun than some Pauillacs, with lots of energy and brightness. I really feel the vivacity of this wine; straight and clean, precise, not so much weight; the straight Cabernets are doing all the talking with some wet stone minerality on the back. Friendly, lovely and precise. Approachable, this doesn’t have the seriousness of some, but this is well made with lots of freshness, mint, cedar, tobacco and liquorice on the long finish.

Drink 2030 - 2044

Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2024)

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Jeb Dunnuck94-96+/100

The 2023 Château Haut-Bages Liberal is gorgeous, with classic Pauillac cassis, cedar, graphite notes, and a beautiful sense of minerality. More medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has a round, supple, yet focused mouthfeel, classy tannins, and an excellent finish. It's a stunning bottle of wine that will have some early accessibility yet also age gracefully.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2024)

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About this WINE

Château Haut-Bages Libéral

Château Haut-Bages Libéral

Château Haut-Bages Libéral is a Fifth Growth in Pauillac owned and run by Claire Villars-Lurton and her husband Gonzague Lurton. It is one of the couple’s three Classified Growths in the Médoc with biodynamic certification, along with Château Durfort-Vivens and Château Ferrière. The 30-hectare property sits next door to Château Latour; the two are the only Pauillac estates with parcels of limestone soils, thought to lend elegance and finesse in a commune often known for power. The vineyard is planted to a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by Merlot.

Though it has a long history, Haut-Bages Libéral has come into its own since 2000, when Claire came on board after the tragic death of her parents. Under her leadership, the property is making perhaps its best-ever wines. In the cellar, Claire works with some striking diamond-shaped amphorae, made from Limoges porcelain.

“Claire is one of the most creative and instinctive winemakers in Bordeaux, and you can really feel this now in her wines,” says Max Lalondrelle, our Bordeaux Buyer.

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Pauillac

Pauillac

Pauillac is the aristocrat of the Médoc boasting boasting 75 percent of the region’s First Growths and with Grand Cru Classés representing 84 percent of Pauillac's production.

For a small town, surrounded by so many familiar and regal names, Pauillac imparts a slightly seedy impression. There are no grand hotels or restaurants – with the honourable exception of the establishments owned by Jean-Michel Cazes – rather a small port and yacht harbour, and a dominant petrochemical plant.

Yet outside the town, , there is arguably the greatest concentration of fabulous vineyards throughout all Bordeaux, including three of the five First Growths. Bordering St Estèphe to the north and St Julien to the south, Pauillac has fine, deep gravel soils with important iron and marl deposits, and a subtle, softly-rolling landscape, cut by a series of small streams running into the Gironde. The vineyards are located on two gravel-rich plateaux, one to the northwest of the town of Pauillac and the other to the south, with the vines reaching a greater depth than anywhere else in the Médoc.

Pauillac's first growths each have their own unique characteristics; Lafite Rothschild, tucked in the northern part of Pauillac on the St Estèphe border, produces Pauillac's most aromatically complex and subtly-flavoured wine. Mouton Rothschild's vineyards lie on a well-drained gravel ridge and - with its high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon - can produce (in its best years) Pauillac's most decadently rich, fleshy and exotic wine.

Latour, arguably Bordeaux's most consistent First Growth, is located in southern Pauillac next to St Julien. Its soil is gravel-rich with superb drainage, and Latour's vines penetrate as far as five metres into the soil. It produces perhaps the most long-lived wines of the Médoc.

Recommended Châteaux
Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Latour, Ch. Mouton-Rothschild, Ch. Pichon-Longueville Baron, Ch. Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ch. Lynch-Bages, Ch. Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Ch, Pontet-Canet, Les Forts de Latour, Ch. Haut-Batailley, Ch. Batailley, Ch. Haut-Bages Libéral.

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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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