This is a vivid and powerful red with lots of bright fruit and spice character. Full body, chewy tannins and loads of fruit on the finish. Firm and focused tannins. Lots of energy and vibrance. Spice and violet leaf undertone. Pure fruit. Pure structure.
The Graves wine of the vintage (along with Haut-Brion’s red). A structural, sensual, expansive wine. Dense but deft, 3.75pH, 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and for the first time this year a new plot of 4% Petit Verdot (young vines but already powerful and spicy). Incredible persistency. Picking dates were 15 September for the first Merlot grapes and 8 October for the last Cabernets, allowing for a truly relaxed pace. Represents 55% of total crop. Double the usual rain in August after four months of serious deficit, then back to half of normal rainfall for both September and October (44mm instead of 90mm) – which is why director Véronique Sanders said for the first time ‘August rains saved the vintage’. This has the potential to be upscored when in bottle.
The 2015 Haut Bailly is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot (Véronique Sanders told me that the latter was planted three years ago.) My sample included 80% new oak, but there will be 50% in the final blend. Deep in color, the bouquet is very intense with multilayered blackberry, blueberry, crème de cassis and subtle black olive aromas, introverted at first but soon racing out of the blocks with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe, quite firm tannin. This is an Haut-Bailly with real backbone, real sense of purpose. It could have tipped over into being overpowering due to that intense Merlot, but the acidity keeps everything in check and the finish demonstrates wonderful tension. In particular, the aftertaste is incredibly long in the mouth. This Haut Bailly is up there with the 2009 and 2010 - a bravura Pessac-Léognan destined for long-term ageing. Do yourself (and the wine) a favor and cellar it for 12 years, drinking the 2012 or 2013 before reaching for this. (NM)
The 2015 Haut-Bailly is remarkably vivid for such a big wine. Firm beams of tannin give the 2015 much of its shape and overall energy, both of which the 2015 needs to balance its superb concentration. Sweet floral and spice notes give lift to the unctuous red cherry jam, pomegranate and blueberry flavors. The 2015 is likely to need quite a bit of time to come together, but it is already a very special wine. Even with all of its obvious depth, the 2015 retains gorgeous freshness. In 2015, the blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot, the first time Petit Verdot has appeared in the blend. (AG)
Barrel Sample. This wine is finely balanced with its ripe, dusty tannins contrasted by bold blackberry fruits. This is an impressive wine that has great structure, showing the quality of the Cabernet in the vintage. (RV)
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot. Very dark, luscious colour - one of the most distinctive colours of all! Savoury and not forced but awfully attractive. Round and fresh. Very nicely assembled. Definitely Graves. Long and very 'cashmere'! Real lift yet intensely ripe fruit too. Very neat! 18/20 Score.
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