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There are few places where terroir truly affects production but Château Haut-Bailly is definitely one of those. Château Haut-Bailly has a distinctive style that harmoniously combines classicism with modernity, elegance, finesse and softness with structure. The silky smoothness of the tannins echoes the elegant yet complex aromas.
Château Haut-Bailly has great ageing potential and consistently wins praise from experts who agree that it offers complex pleasure and a richness that is neither aggressive nor ostentatious. These are natural qualities which Haut-Bailly is determined to keep.
Each year the team at Château Haut-Bailly works hard at developing the quality of the wines without interfering with nature. Since 1998, thanks to even more stringent selection controls, the wine has gained a greater depth and precision.
1998 was a strange year. We had a wet spring followed by hot, dry weather in May. Mid-flowering occurred on the 4th of June, ten days ahead of normal. Véraison, consistent with flowering, was quick and uniform, which enabled us to calculate the beginning of the harvest, 23 September. But the most important factor that summer was the very hot weather with no rain at all throughout July and August. Without the slightest drop of water, even the grass stopped growing. September started off in the same way, then once again the skies opened and the rain poured down!
For the very first time we had a sorting table set up in a new and unusual position: the stemmer was uncoupled from the crusher so that the grapes could be sorted between the two machines. An eager team of workers picked off all the bits of stems and stalks which managed to get through the stemmer.
The way the vines were looked after right through the year and the successful way they were treated undoubtedly contributed to their inexplicably healthy condition. The merlot looks as though it may be the finest Merlot Château Haut-Bailly has ever produced and wines from the parcel known as « Vieilles Vignes » have shown exceptional colour and richness in tannin. In other words, this vintage should be excellent.