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News

Haut-Bailly announces Chris Wilmers as new president

Chris Wilmers is set to take over as president of Château Haut-Bailly and Château Le Pape following the death of his father, Bob Wilmers, in December 2017.Wilmers, 45, has been on the board of directors of Haut-Bailly since his father bought the Pessac Léognan estate in 1998.

 

 

CHÂTEAU HAUT-BAILLY: THE FIRST CLARET IN SPACE?

Chateau Haut-Bailly may become the first claret to be enjoyed in space after the estate puts its name to a wine bottle designed for use in zero-gravity.

The circular bottle was created by design student Octave de Gaulle as part of his Civilizing Space project, which is being exhibited at Bordeaux’s Museum of Decorative Arts and Design.

The bottle, which carries a specially made Haut-Bailly label, is one of a range of designs de Gaulle has created to “enable people to take a bit of their earthly culture into the skies”, the designer told Le Pan. The bottle is designed to be connected to a drinking utensil that resembles a conductor’s baton with a circular grip attached. Château Haut-Bailly came to be involved in the project as a result of being a patron of the museum.

Veronique Sanders, general manager of Haut-Bailly, said: “We had the honour and privilege to meet and host French astronaut Jean-François Clervoy at Château Haut-Bailly a few years ago. He is a brilliant, passionate space professional with whom it would be great to share a glass of Haut-Bailly while learning more about our universe.”

While the Grave estate may lay claim to being the first bottle created for space travel, it is not the first time wine has been considered as a space libation.

Sherry fails to launch

In the 1970s, following extensive research on ways to improve astronauts’ dining experience, Nasa’s Charles Bourland considered introducing cream Sherry as part of their space rations. Bourland shared his recipes and reminiscences in his book The Astronaut’s Cookbook.

Following consultation with professors at the University of California, Davis, Sherry was chosen because its natural stability would make it easier to be repackaged for space journeys.

Paul Masson California Rare Cream Sherry was chosen following a taste test of Sherries, and was ordered for the 70s Skylab mission.

However the Sherry received a lukewarm response from Nasa astronauts preparing for the mission. Indeed, it was reported that when the drink was tested prior to the Skylab mission on Nasa’s special low-gravity ‘Vomit Comet’ aeroplane, the smell made several astronauts nauseous.

Plans to take the Sherry into space were subsequently dropped.

Other drinks to have entered the space age include Scotch whisky. The drinks business reported last year how a vial of Ardbeg had returned to earth after three years in orbit.

The vial of un-matured malt whisky containing particles of charred oak was blasted up to the International Space Station in 2011 as part of an experiment to discover whether there were any differences in the ageing process between whiskies aged in space and those matured on earth.

(TDB)

 

 

 

Château Haut-Bailly 2009 receives 100/100 from Robert Parker!

“Many insiders in Bordeaux claim that the best private chef in all of Bordeaux is among the kitchen staff at Château Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Leognan.” Robert Parker started his article from November 7th 2014 by praising Haut-Bailly’s Private Table.

 

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History

Careful research in the archives of Château Haut-Bailly reveals the ancient origins of this estate. Already, in 1461, vines were cultivated on this land which at the time was known as « Pujau » (« small height » in Gascon) to emphasize the topography of its exceptional terroir. The foundations of the modern vineyard, however, came from the 1530s, under the leadership of the Goyanèche family and then the Daitze family. These wealthy Basque merchants began buying up prime plots of land. A ‘bourdieu’ (the old name for a wine château in Bordeaux) was soon created.


Following his death, Gaillard Daitze’s heirs took over and continued to manage the estate until it was sold in 1630 to Firmin Le Bailly and Nicolas de Leuvarde. Both men were bankers in Paris as well as great admirers of Graves wines. Recognising the potential of the land, they invested significant funds and built a manor house. Firmin even gave his name to the property. After his death in 1655, the estate was handed down from heir to heir for almost a century. In 1736, the running of the estate was assigned to Thomas Barton, of Irish origin, head of a major trading company specialising in fine wines. Benefiting from a huge amount of business relations in England and Ireland the wines of Château Haut-Bailly started to be greatly appreciated by the "New French claret" fans.

 

In the 18th century, Château Haut-Bailly was acquired and devotedly managed by two well-known local politicians: Christophe de Lafaurie, Baron de Monbadon and a member of the Bordeaux Parliament, and his son, Laurent, who was elected Mayor of Bordeaux in 1805. Soon after, he became a senator with responsibilities lying outside of Bordeaux and was therefore forced to sell Haut-Bailly in 1813.
In 1872, Alcide Bellot des Minières, following the Archbishop of Bordeaux’s advice, bought the property and built the château as it is known today. Alcide was a man of prodigious energy, who was fascinated by science and driven by new viticultural techniques. After making a fortune in the U.S.A. by opening up new transatlantic maritime routes, Alcide, an outstanding entrepreneur threw his heart and soul into wine. Thanks to his energy and enthusiasm along with rigorous application of precise scientific detail, Haut-Bailly reached the same price-levels as the first-growths: Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion, and continued to command such prices until the 1940s... His many scientific contributions made him a legend and earned him the nickname "King of Vintners.”

 

Following the death of Alcide Bellot des Minières, Haut-Bailly experienced a period of instability, with frequently changing ownership: Frantz Malvezin, a geographer by training, author of a number of books and editor of L'Oenophile in 1918, the Earl of Lahens and Paul Beaumartin in 1923, Georges Boutemy, originally from northern France whose career was in industrial textiles, in 1940. But the prestigious reputation of its wines had not changed and Haut-Bailly was therefore naturally made one of the "Cru Classé de Graves" in 1953.
In 1955, Château Haut-Bailly was bought by Daniel Sanders, a Belgian wine merchant from Barsac (Gironde). His arrival marked a crucial turning point for the property. Convinced of the estate's potential, he soon undertook significant works. The vineyard was recomposed and the winery and the house renovated. In 1979 his son Jean took over the management of the vineyard and continued to improve the quality and reputation of the wine by putting a focus on selection. His imprint and style have long marked the estate.

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Vineyards

Château Haut-Bailly has a unique terroir and it is this which gives its wine such remarkable character and elegance. Terroir encompasses topography – where a vineyard is situated – but also climate – sun, heat, rain, wind, humidity – and the soil in which the vines are grown. Just a stone’s throw away from the city of Bordeaux, Château Haut-Bailly, one of the most prestigious Cru Classé de Graves, sits majestically in a 30 hectare (74 acres) vineyard at the heart of the Graves region on the left bank of the river Garonne.


If great wine results from a harmonious relationship between man, the vine, and nature, the most subtle of these three elements is the soil. Positioned on a high ridge of land excellent for drainage, the soil is sandy and mixed with gravel, sitting on a layer of sandstone petrified with the remains of prehistoric fossil shells. All this contributes to the special character in Haut-Bailly wines.

 

The vineyard is managed according to strict tradition and chemical weed killers are never used. Spraying is carefully limited, the soil is ploughed and weeded with hoes, and the grapes are picked entirely by hand. In order to grow and harvest grapes of impeccable quality, the volume of production is intentionally limited. Nothing is considered too much for the ‘first wine’ – be it vigorous pruning, crop thinning when necessary, a harvest entirely picked by hand, bleeding ("saignée"), and the strictest selection controls.

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Winemaking

Handpicking is still de rigueur at Haut-Bailly and the greatest care is taken to select only the best grapes. These are subjected to the strictest sorting controls, first in the vineyard, next in the winery before being de-stemmed, and finally on a vibrating table following de-stemming.

Vinification takes place in a fermentation room containing 26 thermo-regulated cement tanks of different sizes (ranging from 30 to 120 hectolitres). These specially adapted vats ensure that grapes grown in different parts of the vineyard are kept separate from the time they are picked until the vinification is complete. The wine-making process takes place in cement tanks, whereas the blending is done in stainless steel tanks – a good example of how tradition and modernity go hand in hand at Haut-Bailly.

Alcoholic fermentation lasts eight to ten days and is followed by maceration. This process lasts about three weeks during which time the wine is never overheated – this is when we strive to achieve a perfectly balanced wine.

 

After the wine is drained from the tanks leaving behind the skins and pips, malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The blending only takes place after a number of tastings, 3 to 4 months after the grapes are picked. Only the very best plots will be used for the first wine, “Château Haut-Bailly”. The young wine is stored in oak barrels and left to age in the cellars for sixteen months. Each year, a large number of barrels are replaced – the exact proportion varies according to the vintage. For instance, in 1987, Château Haut-Bailly aged in 33% of new oak barrels while it rose to 65% in 1990. More recently, 60% of new barrels were used in 2004, 63% in 2005 and 55% in 2008. Three cellars have been built to accommodate the ageing process.


For more than forty years, from 1956 to 1990, Professor Emile Peynaud was the consultant-oenologist at Haut-Bailly. In 1990, Professor Pascal Ribereau-Gayon took over. Professor Denis Dubourdieu joined in 1998 & brought his expertise to Haut-Bailly. Under his guidance a research study was carried out to establish balance between terroir, grape variety and graft stock for each plot of land. In 2004, Jean Delmas also became a member of our consulting team.

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3 different wines with 55 vintages

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 


2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

11h 18min ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  100 wines 

I'll repeat myself with the phrase, "Pomerol is one of the strongest districts in 2018"! The truth is that it's s an accurate and valid statement. Despite not tasting Petrus and Lafleur, to name some of the big hitters, I can assure, that there is enough exceptional goof for every taste from Pomerol. As everywhere in Bordeaux, there also are very few wines under the usual standard in Pomerol.


 

2m 7d ago

 Camille Meyrou / Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  9 wines 

Interesting tasting Half Blind, trying to compare Smith Haut Lafitte and it's two second label (issued from younger vines) on a very recent vintage. And then compare a couple of Pessac Leognan wines of 2014. Parde was completely bretted sadly... Pontet Canet was just a special treat during this blind tasting, as for the old white from Smith Haut Lafitte that was interesting to compare two very old vintages side by side.

7m 26d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  50 wines 

BORDEAUX 2019 / Ch. Margaux 2019 - only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon + 7% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot, 14.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux' technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me, that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch.  Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"
It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with wonderful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 99-100p. 

9m 28d ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Our weekly pro-tasting had this time wines from 1837-2015. Best ones were Yquem 1947, Latour 1996, Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc 2015, Masseto 2014, Petrolo 2003....

9m 30d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  25 wines 

The 1961 Palmer is a wine that tends to deliver upon its gargantuan reputation and we were rewarded with an exemplary bottle here. It has a clear colour with modest bricking on the rim. The bouquet is difficult to encapsulate into words – utterly ethereal. Heavenly definition, almost Burgundy-like in purity with traces of pencil box and pressed violets. It grows in stature with each swirl of the glass and leaves you transfixed. The palate is bestowed beguiling balanced, almost symmetrical, framed by filigree tannin and pitch perfect acidity. Like the aromatics it coheres with aeration, the fruit undiminished by time even if it is no blockbuster. Quite the opposite – this 1961 Palmer is the apotheosis of finesse with just a hint of balsamic on the aftertaste. This Margaux can bring you to tears of joy. Tasted at the 1961 dinner Chairman Miaow’s in Hong Kong.

1y 1m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  44 wines 

I’ll refer to what Guillaume Poithier, manager of Les Carmes Haut Brion told me during my visit in the end of March 2019 – “2018 started like a nightmare and finished like a dream. It was vintage of belief – you could choose what you wanted to do with wine”.


It was a year of two extremes - a lot of rain in the spring causing quite many outbreaks of mildew, which particulary attacked Merlot and a glorious summer durings months of July, August and September. All these three months were particulary dry and created a fundament for great quality.


Water from the spring showers was well stored in limestone/clay based soils, allowing vine roots to "drink" it when they needed to. Mildew cut production at some chateaux by app. 50% and up to 90% at biodynamicly run oroperties. Grapes from vines on gravelly soils looked pretty small and thick skinned to me. Warm days and cool nights did once again preserve aromas and freshness.


With long term forecasts promising perfect weather during harvest, there was no need to rush it, but wine growers could risk high alcohol levels if they waited too long. Harvest of grapes in two colors started at normal time in Bordeaux, white finished by mid September and red finished more or less on Right Bank by 5th October, while late ripening soils (f.i. around St.Etienne de Lise) have more or less finished by mid-October. Haut Medoc finished harvest by mid-October. 


When I did my annual check of the harvest in October 2018, I noticed that the colour of the mousse (foam) was pink to medium-red, which promised huge fatness and big concentration in wines. It was duly confirmed when I tasted them for two weeks during primeur tastings in March/April 2019.

2y 14d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  32 wines 

Château Palmer 2018 / 100 points / Deep colour intense dark cherry, black currant fruits with mocha espresso notes. Amazingly powerful and expressive wine with deep set blackcurrant pastille fruits, richly concentrated graphite tennins. Incredible balance and mineral length. Superb density and complexity. The wine of the vintage?

2y 24d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  100 wines 

Bordeaux 2018 - TOP 100 Wines. "The best vintage of my live" says Christian Moueix of the Ets. Jean Pierre Moueix in Libourne. In fact, 2018 is a vintage with wonderfully ripe tannins which taste almost sweet and are characterizing wine with excellent structured. However this vintage was everything else than easy-going. The first six months of the year saw the complete annual rainfall for the Bordeaux region, over 800mm. Mildew attacked the grapes, what meant a reduction in quantity but as the leaves have not been attacked the maturity process continued and the lower yields brought concentrated grapes. Another problem where hailstorms bringing further damage. Some Châteaux like Château Guiraud have lost the complete harvest. "We went from hell to heaven" summarizes Véronique Sanders from Château Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Léognan the vintage. After the deluge in the first half of 2018, there was a dramatic change for the second half bringing great, dry weather with a lot of sun. The partially high daily temperatures were in change with lower night temperatures and created a tension for aromatic wines. The correct amount of extraction and maceration was crucial and some vintners have changed their maceration processes and made great wines with a lot of freshness. These vintners are amongst the winners of the vintage. If 2018 will belong to the greatest vintages in Bordeaux for the overall production might show the future. However already today there is a number of Châteaux performing 

2y 1m ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  52 wines 

Penfolds Grange 2006 / 100 points / This is classic, inimitable, perfect Grange. With its deep saturated colour, intensely fresh dark berry/ mocha/ paneforte/ roasted chestnut aromas, rich velvety palimpsest of flavours and wonderful vinosity, it evokes Max Schubert's "buoyant and ethereal" vision splendid. This is not just any wine. This is great lasting legend-making Grange; a beautifully aromatic and voluminous wine with superb fruit complexity, balance of weight, substance and texture. Seductive, elemental and expressive, it will further develop and improve beautifully over the forthcoming decades. This is a forty or fifty year wine at least. 100 points, Andrew Caillard MW

2y 3m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Haut-Bailly . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Château Mouton Rothschild 2011 - 96+ points - Much better than Lafite with great sophisticated touch, stunning ripeness and depth. Nose is so aromatic and distinguished, captivating, intense and deep. Immense class and style. This wine was already one of my favorites from barrel (96p) and it didn't change from the bottle. 96+p.

2y 5m ago

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