Very deep gravel outcrops and extremely old vines (some 15% of their vineyard exceeds 100 years of age) combine to make Haut-Bailly one of the finestst expressions of Graves in 2016. Galloni rhapsodized about a huge, powerful wine that explodes in all directions. Black cherry, smoke, tobacco, licorice, menthol, incense and gravel are all pushed forward, but it is the wine's volume and pure intensity that stand out most." A beauty!
The 2016 Haut Bailly is a blend of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked between 26 September until 18 October. Coming in with 13.6% alcohol and an IPT of 81, which is quite close to 2010, this was quite closed at first and so I allowed my sample 15-20 minutes to open while discussing the vintage with Véronique Sanders and technical manager, Gabriel Vialard. It has a classic bouquet that is certainly less opulent and extravagant than recent vintages. This is more controlled and focused, beautifully delineated with blackberry, cedar and Earl Grey aromas that gently waft from the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine-grain tannin, sappy with superb delineation and real weight and presence in the mouth. There is just the right amount of spice and salinity, the latter beckoning you back for another sip and there is a haunting pencil lead note that forms the closing credits on the aftertaste. What a brilliant Haut-Bailly, perhaps the best that I have tasted in almost 20 years of tasting at this estate.
96–98. Barrel Sample. Firm tannins cannot mask the fact that this aromatic wine is gorgeous, rich and fruity. It has a powerful structure to sustain the black plum and berry flavors. It is an impressive and concentrated wine, ready for the long haul.
This young wine shows such pinpoint precision with a full body, dense fruit and gorgeous intensity. Muscular yet toned and beautiful. It really builds on the finish. Very fine-grained. So long and beautiful. Sophisticated power. Oyster shell and iodine undertones. Traditional style yet with a modern interpretation. Savory.