2009 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A dense ruby/purple-tinged color offers up notes of forest floor, subtle wood smoke, mulberries, black cherries, cassis and a hint of lead pencil shavings. There is even a floral component lurking in the intricate aromatic profile. The wine is medium to full-bodied with wonderful intensity that builds incrementally and has a long, silky, luscious finish. There is plenty of tannin, but it is largely concealed by the wine’s beautiful fruit and ethereal complexity. Given its virtually perfect balance, this brilliant Haut-Bailly should age effortlessly for 3-4 decades.This is a tour de force in winemaking, particularly for readers seeking the quintessential example of a Bordeaux that combines compelling complexity and finesse with significant flavor authority and intensity. I suppose we could see this coming as American owner, Robert Wilmers, along with his winemaker/manager, Veronique Sanders, continue to push the envelope. Yields were extremely low in 2009, and the final blend was an intriguing concoction of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It came in just under 14% natural alcohol, which makes it among one of the more powerful Haut-Baillys produced. However, power is not the hallmark of this wine. This terroir is known to produce relatively light wines, and by reducing yields and picking riper fruit, Wilmers and Sanders have achieved a level of concentration and intensity that is unprecedented for Haut-Bailly.
Aromas of blackberries, wet earth and mushrooms, follow through to a full body, with a solid core of fruit. Velvety and delicious, yet wonderfully structured. Muscular wine. Best ever? Try in 2018.
Barrel sample. Dominated by firm tannins, dark texture, black berry and currant fruits. A powerful wine that shows an immense dry core.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Medium ruby-red. Very ripe but subdued aromas of dark berries, black cherry, minerals, woodsmoke, mocha and smoky underbrush. Silky on entry, then utterly smooth and seamless in the middle, with outstanding concentration and lift to the berry, tobacco and hot rock flavors. Finishes with utterly noble tannins and outstanding, slowly building length and lingering perfume. This outstanding Haut-Bailly saturates every square millimeter of the palate without leaving any undue impression of weight. I was reminded of the time I was served three classy old Pessac-Leognan wines blind. I guessed that I was tasting Haut-Brion, but the bottles turned out to be Haut-Bailly 1961, 1945 and 1928.
Offers a rich, very dense feel, but stays racy thanks to a strong graphite frame around the core of roasted fig, plum sauce and maduro tobacco. Muscular but defined on the finish, with a long tarry edge in reserve. This shows serious depth and is more backward than most of its peers. Should really stretch out nicely in the cellar. Best from 2017 through 2035.
**½ 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Absolutely charming wine, with a cashmere-like texture. Excellent.