2012 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The classic 2012 Haut-Bailly is staggeringly great wine, with a stunning bouquet of lead pencil shavings, blueberries, black raspberries and blackcurrants and perhaps a touch of spring flowers, followed by a medium to full-bodied wine with an almost seamless integration of wood, alcohol and tannin. It is rich, concentrated, stunningly supple, pure and a total hedonistic and intellectual turn-on. This wine defines what is meant by intensity of flavor, but it is light on its feet, à la great cuisine. It should be drinkable reasonably young, but age effortlessly for 25-30 years. One of the great shining superstars of Pessac-Léognan has been the ascent of Haut-Bailly under the ownership of Robert Wilmers, an American, and his winemaking team lead by Véronique Sanders. Readers checking the database of the Wine Advocate will note that the 2009 has been elevated to a perfect score, which is of course not surprising, since it started off with a 98-point rating.
The 2012 Haut Bailly is quite fragrant and inviting. Dark raspberries, mint, crushed flowers, spices and rose petals all lift from the glass in this feminine, gracious Haut-Bailly that offers considerable near and medium-term appeal. All the elements fall into place in an effortless, stunningly beautiful wine endowed with personality and class. One of the wines of the vintage, the Haut Bailly will drink well for two decades-plus. This is a superb showing from proprietor Bob Wilmers and his team headed by Véronique Sanders. The decision to lower temperatures in fermentation and go for a soft, gentle extraction, along with strict selection has paid off big time.
Dark in structure, with a sense of austerity and dark tannins, this is a wine that will need time to develop. There's a hint of tobacco and ripe plum on the palate, and the aftertaste promises juiciness.
A beautiful red with plums and chocolate and hints of licorice. Full body, with super polished tannins. Ripe fruit with forest undergrowth, dark fruits and sweet tobacco. Goes on for minutes.
Well-stuffed, with thick and muscular brambly structure that easily supports the core of macerated black currant, fig and boysenberry fruit flavors. A tarry edge coats the finish. More backward than most of its peers at this early stage, but all the elements are in place. Best from 2018 through 2027.—
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep purple-ruby. Clean, fresh, very deep aromas of cassis, blackberry, minerals and smoke. Rich, dense and suave, offering intense flavors of dark cherry and blackcurrant lifted by graphite and ink. Finishes very long and pure. Estate manager Veronique Sanders plans to age this very promising Haut-Bailly for about 18 months in 50% new oak. For my money, this is one of the top 20 wines of the vintage.
Dark with a purple rim. Lifted, appetising nose. Racy and flattering even if without enormous concentration. Flattering mouthfeel. No rusticity here! Though perhaps a little alcohol on the dry, slightly angular finish. A menthol note.