1998 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
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)
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)
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)
Aromatic - so fragrant! Luscious on the palate too. Great for now. Complete. Youthful. 17.5/20 points.
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.