Tasted at the château, the 1996 Haut Bailly is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc. It has an attractive bouquet with blackcurrant pastilles, briary, a touch of gravel and dried orange peel. As I commented a few years ago, this is a 1996 that is not as immediate as others, but seems to find its voice with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a soy-tinged opening. This is well balanced and quite rounded in the mouth, quite masculine and perhaps having dispensed with some of the freshness and vitality that it showed in numerous tastings in the previous decade. There is a noticeable salinity here, lending it a marine-like finish with black olive on the aftertaste: a highly enjoyable Haut-Bailly, perchance one soon to reach the end of its plateau? Whatever -- I like where this is at now. Tasted July 2016. (NM)
The 1996 Haut Bailly is about as classic as they come and shows the more focused, elegant style of this vintage nicely. Cedarwood, lead pencil shavings, tobacco leaf and plenty of earthy dark fruits emerge from this medium-bodied, fresh, balanced, textbook Pessac that’s drinking at point today. It should last for another 15-20 years.
Shows wonderful berry, tobacco and vanilla character, is full- to medium-bodied, with velvety tannins and a mineral, spice aftertaste. Next to Haut-Brion, this is the wine from Pessac. (JS)
Deeper red-ruby. Quite withdrawn on the nose today; hints at roasted plum and Cuban cigar tobacco. Intensely flavored but firm and tight; sound acids and a solid tannic spine make this difficult to taste today. Finishes with a minty nuance. 'In a period of somnolence,' says Veronique Sanders. (ST)
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