Château Haut Bailly
Classification: Grand Cru (Graves Classification 1959)
Château Haut Bailly is located along the Left Bank of the River Garonne in the commune of Léognan. It's neighbours are Châteaux La Louviere and Carbonnieux. The château takes its name from Firmin Le Bailly, a Parisian banker, who bought the vineyard in the 1600s. In 1872, Alcide Bellot des Minières, purchased the estate of Haut Bailly on the advice of Cardinal Bonnet, Archbishop of Bordeaux. A man with a passionate interest in using scientific methods to improve viticulture, des Minières was a legendary figure, known to his contemporaries as “King of Wines”. He reorganized and enlarged the property and built the château.
Des Minières was much opposed to grafting his French vines onto phylloxera-resistant American rootstocks – something that was being done in most other Bordeaux vineyards. He believed this would result in wines of lesser quality, and although some American graft stock was later planted, Haut-Bailly still has 15% of its old vines dating from the pre-phylloxera period. Thanks to his drive, huge energy, and meticulous attention to scientific detail, prices for Haut Bailly rose to a level similar to those of the Bordeaux First Growths – Châteaux Lafite, Latour, Margaux, and Haut Brion. Today Château Haut Bailly is owned by Robert and Elizabeth Wilmers who have restored the château and invested in new wine making equipment. Château Haut Bailly is one of the most respected vineyards of Bordeaux.
The 70 acre vineyards of Château Haut Bailly are acknowledged as one of the great terroirs of France as they are a single piece of land which sits on a high ridge of sandy gravel which rests on Faluns de Léognan which is a subsoil of sandstone petrified with the remains of prehistoric fossil shells. Thanks to des Minières foresight the vines are a mixture of genuine French vines over 100 years old from the pre-phylloxera period - Cabernet Franc, Carmenère, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The remainder of the estate is planted with 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc.
The wines of Château Haut Bailly are renowned for their silkiness, gentle ripe tannins and fine balance. They have the flavours of blackberries, nuts, oak and can have a mineraly and floral bouquet. They are well polished and elegant wines which age well and continue to express themselves whilst cellared.
Owner: R Wilmers
Château Website: www.chateau-haut-bailly.com
Oenologist: P Ribéreau-Gayon / D Dubourdieu / J Delmas