2018 Chateau Haut-Bailly

Year: 2018
Appellation: Pessac-Leognan
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 96-98+
Vinous Media: 94-97
James Suckling: 97-98
Jeb Dunnuck: 97-100--Wine Enthusiast: 95-97--Jeff Leve: 96-98
Red Wine


Price :


"The 2018 Haut-Bailly is blended of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Grapes were harvested September 17 to October 9, and the wine has 14.4% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it opens slowly with profound notions of Black Forest cake, crème de cassis, roasted nuts and black olives, unfurling to reveal notions of menthol, crushed rocks, molten licorice and chargrilled meat plus a hint of lilacs. Full-bodied, rich and densely laden with layer upon layer of vibrant black fruits and mineral nuances, it has a solid backbone of firm, velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long with compelling restraint and exciting energy.

Château Haut-Bailly is among the ranks of great estates with lamentably small yields in 2018. “We averaged around 21 hectoliters per hectare,” Véronique Sanders informed me. “It was a heavy price to pay for our no-toxic-chemicals philosophy, but we stuck to it.” Apart from mildew struggles, Haut-Bailly’s vineyard also suffered from coulure (poor flowering/fruit set) of the Merlot. And, thirdly, they lost 10% to 15% of potential volume due to the dry spell and ensuing concentration of very small berries it yielded. Their sister estate, Le Pape, furthermore got whacked with hail on May 26, making the crop there about half of average.

Now for the good news: quality is sky high! “The Cabernet Sauvignon crops were of a very high standard,” Véronique smiled at last. “We struggled to find some to put into the second wine. The Merlot looked like the Cabernet—very small berries this year.” Also noteworthy is the quantity and quality of the tannins this year. “These are the biggest tannins we have ever had—even bigger than 2010!” Véronique exclaimed. Meanwhile, acids are lower than 2010 or 2016, but not to the detriment of balance in my view.

One other piece of noteworthy news from this estate: the second label has had a name change. It will no longer be called "La Parde de Haut-Bailly"—from 2018 it will be known as "Haut-Bailly II."" (WA)

"The 2018 Haut-Bailly speaks with real authority and class. Deeply spiced notes lead into a core of red/purplish berry fruit, lavender, licorice, new leather, menthol and tobacco. Vivid and dramatic in bearing, the 2018 possesses striking resonance from start to finish. There is plenty of tannin as well, but it is pretty much buried by the sheer luxuriousness of the fruit, while the mid-palate and saline-infused finish show terrific freshness as well as purity. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot." (VM)

"Incredible depth of fruit to this with a center palate that shows superb character and texture. I love the hazelnut and coffee-bean undertones to the beautiful fruit, which shows great finesse. Full-bodied yet compact and tight, giving a sense of agility and flight to the wine. Extremely tight and polished tannins." (JS)

"A wine that's going to flirt with perfection, the 2018 Château Haut-Bailly is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 5% Each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, brought up in 60% new French oak. Hitting 14.5% alcohol, its deep purple color is followed by a fabulous bouquet of pure crème de cassis, crushed violets, white flowers, graphite, and damp earth. An incredibly powerful, opulent wine, it nevertheless has sensational purity as well as the freshness and elegance that's the hallmark of this terrific estate. It will drink well in just a few years yet keep for 20-25 years or more." (JD)

"95–97. Barrel Sample. This wine initially seems easy and just packed with fruit. As you delve behind the black fruits, the tannins come into play. The considerable structure shows concentration with a dense side that has power and a lighter side that has fresh fruit. The wine should age impressively." (WE)

"With a gorgeous, deep ruby hue, the wine pops from the glass with floral, tobacco and a mélange of fresh fruits. The wine is full-bodied, concentrated, powerful and refined but what's more important here is the elegance in the mouth, the sweetness in the fruit and the balanced levels of acidity, giving you simultaneous weight, lift, length and purity in a classic, restrained style. The wine was made from 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.4% alcohol with a pH of 3.87. The Grand Vin was produced from 50% of the harvest, which took place from September 17 to October 9. 2018 was produced from some of the lowest yields in the history of the estate at 21 hectoliters per hectare. " (JL)