Red, Ready, but will keep

2003 Ch. Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

2003 Ch. Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

Red | Ready, but will keep | Code:  981 | 2003 | France > Bordeaux > Pessac-Leognan | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium Bodied, Dry | 12.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

The Wine Advocate

91/100

The Wine Advocate - I remember being worried about how well the 2003 Haut-Bailly would turn out, but it has aged beautifully. Made from a final blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, it currently offers fresh tobacco leaf, red and black currant notes, and hints of burning embers and charcoal. Having put on weight over the last eleven years, it is more complete and fuller than I expected. Enjoy this pretty, luscious, fully mature 2003 over the next decade.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 28/08/2014

Lyons - This Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wine startles with its unusual smell, a mix of ripe sweet fruit and dusty, woody notes. It retains its freshness and tannic grip.
Berry Bros. & Rudd wines featured in The Wall Street Journal by Will Lyons - 15 Aug 2013

Will Lyons writes a weekly column for The Wall Street Journal. His humorous, informed, down-to-earth writing has been recognized in both the Glenfiddich and Roederer wine writing Awards. He began his career in London, as a wine merchant in St. James’s where he developed a love for the classic wines of Europe. He has written for a variety of publications including The Scotsman, Reader’s Digest, The Spectator and Decanter.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.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.

The Region

Pessac-Leognan

Pessac-Leognan

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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