Complex and expressive nose, offering red and dark fruit, spices and pepper with wood and mushroom undertones. Fresh mussel shell and a hint of ink, too. Full-bodied with a fine texture and great balance between the acidity and the controlled, tannic structure. Very long finish. Goes on and on. Tiny production, 21 hectoliters per hectare. Try after 2025.
First vintage under Chris Wilmers, succeeding his father Bob. A brilliant Haut-Bailly, living up to its En Primeur promise, packed with ripe rippling black and red berry fruit and a wonderful velvety texture. Still extremely young, more closed than it was during En Primeur but packed with layers of brilliance, saline quality on the finish, with a tight slate grip slowing everything down. 5% Cabernet Franc completes the blend, co-fermented with Petit Verdot. A yield of 21hl/ha. (JA)
The Grand Vin 2018 Château Haut-Bailly checks in as 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. It spent 18 months in 60% new French oak. This is a beautiful, classic expression of this terroir, and its dense purple hue is followed by gorgeous black cherry and cassis fruits interwoven with ample tobacco leaf, cedary herbs, earth, truffle, and floral nuances. While 2018 was a hot, dry year (at the end of the season anyway), this shows a mix of cooler-climate, vibrant aromatics paired with a rich, concentrated, fresh style on the palate. It has plenty of tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. A beautiful, elegant 2018, it's going to need 5-7 years of bottle age and keep for 3-4 decades.
The 2018 Haut-Bailly soars out of the glass, showing magnificent poise that only grows with time. Sweet, perfumed aromatics, silky tannins and mid-weight structure add to its considerable allure. Ripe red berry fruit, spice, blood orange, licorice, cedar, tobacco and menthol are all woven together in an effortless, classy Haut-Bailly that delivers the goods. I suppose the 2018 doesn't quite have the explosive energy of the very best years, but it more than makes up for that with its sensual, seductive personality. (AG)
The 2018 Haut-Bailly is blended of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, and it has 14.4% alcohol. Deep garnet-purple colored, it needs a little coaxing to unlock a powerhouse of black fruit preserves, offering notes of blackberry pie, crème de cassis and black cherry compote, giving way to nuances of Chinese five spice, camphor, chocolate box and licorice with a touch of crushed rocks. The medium to full-bodied palate is jam-packed with plush textured, rich black fruits, supported by a lively backbone and finishing long and spicy. It is decadently tempting to drink now, but give it 5 years in bottle to begin to see its full glory, while it should continue to transform for a further 20 years or more in cellar. (LPB)
The balance between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine gives it swathes of rich fruit and a classic structure. Blackberry flavors layered with firm, dense tannins convey elegance and richness. This is a ripe wine, generously proportioned and ready for aging. *Cellar Selection* (RV)
Packed with steeped plum, blackberry and cassis flavors, this also sports licorice root, applewood and tar notes. Dense and shows a chewy edge, but it's seriously long, energetic and vibrant, so just cellar to let it unfurl. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. (JM)
Black core. Intense black fruit, less open than Haut-Bailly II, as you might expect, but just as intense in fruit. Deep, more chewy than velvety but the layers of tannin are very fine, there are just a lot of them. A more savoury quality on the palate than in the Haut-Bailly II. Packed with fruit but all coiled up on itself. Big but nothing sticks out. Clean, dry, dark-chocolate finish. Very ripe Cabernet cassis but with the freshness of the Merlot (they always pick the Cabernet late and the Merlot early). Juicy at the core. Big, harmonious and smooth. Embryonically elegant in its power and concentration. 17.5/20 points (JH)
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