Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Tour and Wine Dinner at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours (2015), France
The last event of the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy was a tour of and dinner at Château Haut-Bailly. It was a most memorable evening thanks to our charming host, Diana Paulin, the very special setting in the dining and the living rooms of Château Haut-Bailly, the excellent food of Chef Jean-Charles Poinsot, and – last but not least - the superb Chateau Haut-Bailly wines.
Château Haut-Bailly is a Graves Cru Classé estate that has really hit form in the last 5-7 years. It is located in the commune of Léognan, which is usually more associated with white wine production. Just a stone’s throw away from the city of Bordeaux and our hotel, Château Haut-Bailly, one of the most prestigious Cru Classé de Graves, sits majestically in a 30 hectare vineyard at the heart of the Graves region on the left bank of the river Garonne. Neighboring estates include Château Malartic-Lagravière, Château Smith Haut Lafitte and Château Carbonnieux. The estate's second wine is named Le Parde de Haut-Bailly.
At Château Haut-Bailly wine has been produced for more than five centuries. Like many Bordeaux estates, the property changed owners multiple times over the centuries. However, three owner families put their mark on the estate.
First, in 1630 it was bought by the Le Bailly family which eventually gave the estate its name. In those days the château had about 80 acres under vine, roughly the same as today. There were many ups and downs during the centuries and by the 1950s the estate was in a sorry state.
Second, a wine merchant from Belgium, Daniel Sanders, bought the château in 1955 and started intensive renovations. His efforts proofed him right and Château Haut-Bailly was one of the 16 wine producers awarded with the Grand Cru Classé certification in the 1959 classification of the Graves estates.
Finally, in 1998, Elisabeth and Robert G. Wilmers – he is an American banker, she is French – bought Château Haut-Bailly and spared no expenses to invest in the vineyards, winery, and the château to give the estate the possibility to keep producing top quality wines.
Today, Château Haut-Bailly is managed by Véronique Sanders, fourth generation of the Sanders family.
Château Haut-Bailly Portfolio
Château Haut-Bailly has 28 hectares of vineyards which are very well sited on high, gravelly ground just east of Léognan village. In total the estate produces 150,000 bottles annually. Approximately 50% of production from the property is Grand Vin, 30% is second and 20% is third wine, although this will depend on the
Grand Vin: Château Haut-Bailly
The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (65%), Merlot (25%) and Cabernet Franc (10%). The grapes are fermented in 26 concrete tanks of different sizes. The wines are aged for 18 months in new (about 50%) and used barrique barrels. There are 3 different cellars for barrel aging.
La Parde de Haut-Bailly
The estate's second wine is La Parde de Haut-Bailly, produced since 1967, but under the name Domaine de la Parde until 1979. It is aged in barrels for 12 months.
Pessac-Léognan by Chateau Haut-Bailly
The property’s third wine, "Pessac-Léognan," which bears the same name as its appellation, was created in 1987. It comes from young vines – an accessible wine that has spent less time in barrel and can be enjoyed young.
Rose de Haut-Bailly
Since 2004, Château Haut-Bailly has produced a ‘rosé de saignée’ when the conditions allow.
Robert G. Wilmers, Owner of Château Haut-Bailly
In 1998 Château Haut-Bailly was purchased by American Robert G. Wilmers, chairman and CEO of the M & T Bank based in Buffalo, New York. As a lover of Bordeaux Grands Crus, his dream came true when he became the owner at Haut-Bailly. He spent much of his childhood and professional life in Belgium. Along with his French wife, Elisabeth, he continues his close ties with Europe, where some of their family live.
Hugely conscious of Haut-Bailly’s history yet eager to ensure continuity and modernity, he entrusted in 1998 Haut-Bailly’s management to Véronique Sanders, granddaughter of Jean Sanders.
Véronique Sanders, General Manager
In 1998, at the age of 30, Véronique Sanders became the General Manager of Château Haut-Bailly, making her one of a very small number of women in charge of a vineyard and the fourth generation of her family to be associated with Haut-Bailly. After two years of preparation at the Grandes Ecoles françaises, she obtained a Master’s degree in economics at the Sorbonne. She began her career at Publicis-FCB in Paris and Prague. Deciding to improve her knowledge about wine, she returned to Bordeaux in 1997 to obtain her DUAD diploma from the Faculty of Oenology. Following the sale of Château Haut-Bailly by her grandfather, Jean Sanders, Robert G. Wilmers appointed Véronique as Commercial Director in 1998 and General Manager in 2000.
Champagne on the Deck
NV Pol Roger
One of the great nonvintage Champagnes, this is a wine with considerable bottle age, full of toasty flavors. With its gooseberry and apple fruit flavors, it is still fresh, but its great character comes from its supreme elegance. 94 pts. Wine Enthusiast: December 1, 2005. Approximately US$40
Wine Pairing Dinner
Cep mushroom raviolis
La Parde de Haut Bailly 2012
Better than many of the Haut-Baillys made in the 1970s and 1980s, the second wine exhibits nice, sweet black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, cedar, earth and spice box. It is lovely, round, seductive, medium-bodied and best drunk over the next 10-12 years. It’s a perfect second wine, with much of the character of its bigger sibling. Robert Parker, April 2015. 89 points. Wine-Searcher Average Price: US$23
Rack of veal and roasted figs
Château Haut-Bailly 2011
Absolutely brilliant - again! The lovely and charming Veronique Sanders and the team at Ch. Haut-Bailly have done it once more. In a vintage where all the châteaux really did have to craft their babies and contend with more than problematic growing conditions, Ch. Haut-Bailly has come out almost on top of the pile, surpassing several First Growths in quality. Sadly the rigorous selection needed to make the Grand Vin so Grand will make a staggering effect on supply this year in what is an already tiny production.
Incredible intensity and deep red and black fruit with the finest tannins of the vintage coating the palate. It has precision, grace, complexity and power with an outstanding richness that fills the mouth completely. Better than 2009 or 2010? It sort of sits between the two. The power of 2009 and finesse of 2010. A real must have and I think the price will be down on last year, but I worry about being able to buy enough. Heavenly happiness! Simon Staples, Berry Bros. and Rudd’s Fine Wine Director. Wine-Searcher Average Price: US$87
Château Haut-Bailly 2007
Manager Véronique Sanders and Technical Director Gabriel Vialhard have worked wonders here, catapulting Haut-Bailly into the very highest echelon of Bordeaux wines. The 2007 is as silky-textured and seductive as ever with refined, creamy black cherry and redcurrant fruit and a powerful yet feminine charm. The nose is more serious than usual with ripe raspberries and coffee hints, while the famous Haut Bailly terroir bursts through on the finish alongside firm, supple tannins and intense, minerally fruit. Made with more Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) than usual, this is another absolutely irresistible Haut-Bailly. Simon Staples, Berry Bros. and Rudd’s Fine Wine Director. Wine-Searcher Average Price: US$67
Vanilla parfait and cherry sorbet
In the Kitchen of Chef Jean-Charles Poinsot
Thank you very much Chef Jean-Charles Poinsot for an outstanding dinner.
What an evening!
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