1998 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #994909 94 points Wine Spectator

 I love the nose on this wine; multidimensional, with flowers, sweet blackberry and citrus fruit. Full-bodied, with superclassy tannins that are polished and very refined. Goes for minutes on the palate. Still very reserved and not giving all it has. Give it much more bottle time to realize its wonderful style. One of the sleepers of the vintage. (JS, Web-2009)

91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted at the château, the 1998 Haut-Bailly is a wine that exploits what was a fine vintage in Pessac-Léognan, and appears to slowly improve with age. Having not reached adulthood yet, it has a simmering, powerful bouquet with smoke and truffle accompanying the red berry fruit, perhaps a little mintier than previous bottles. The palate is complex and well balanced, harmonious with kirsch and bay leaf, you could say "modestly precocious" in style. The acidity cuts through nicely here, lending freshness on the finish that feels long and possesses the substance to suggest that it will easily bestow drinkers with another 15-20 years of pleasure. You could broach this now, but it possesses the concentration to mature over the next 20 years without problem. (NM)  (3/2016)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark red. Plum, currant, tar, tobacco, smoke, cedar and minerals. Supple and dense, with excellent precision of crystallized red berry flavors thanks to ripe acids and firm minerality. Very dry, sophisticated finish is long and gripping. The Merlot was even better in '98 than in '00, said Sanders, but in a different style. (ST)  (6/2001)

Jancis Robinson

 Aromatic - so fragrant! Luscious on the palate too. Great for now. Complete. Youthful. 17.5/20 points.  (11/2011)

K&L Notes

Here's one of our favorite wines of the vintage. 50% Merlot 50% Cab Sauvignon (usually 65% Cabernet Sauvignon). Blackberry and blueberry aromas with plenty of minerally nuances. Touch of violet. Here is a pure wine, not over extracted or mixed up. Superbly integrated tannins and layers of fruit. Not huge, just elegance personified. Absolutely fantastic.

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By: David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/21/2016 | Send Email
Maybe the best of the Left Bank in this Right Bank-centric vintage, the Haut-Bailly shows tons of dense plum fruit framed in a bed of powerful herb and sweet licorice. The palate is wonderfully complex, showing great maturity at this stage, but with no signs of slowing down. A serious wine for serious lovers of Bordeaux that won't necessarily be accessible to the average Joe, but will make the diehards fawn for sure.

By: Jacques Moreira | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 9/19/2016 | Send Email
A fantastic wine experience. From the vintage when the "Merlots were blessed by the gods" (can't recall who said that... But it is true!). Beautiful notes of coffee, leather, some capsicum and even honey on this developed wine. The tannins are soft and very much resolved. Incredibly alluring and very elegant.

Additional Information:

Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Pessac-Leognan/Graves

- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.