Château Haut-Bailly Pessac-Léognan 2013
2013, A MIRACLE
Meteorological Data The winter, like the spring of 2013, was characterized by an almost constant humidity, allowing the water table to re-establish itself. Following a late budburst, the development of the vines slowed due to a lack of sunshine, which in turn delayed the entire growth cycle. Haut-Bailly was spared a series of morning frosts which occurred throughout the region on the 28th of April and again on the 17th and 26th of May. A particularity of the 2013 vintage was the simultaneous flowering of Merlots and Cabernets; a delicate situation due to the abundant June rainfall, which led to an acceleration in the growth of shoots as well as “coulure” and “millerandage”.
Weather in July was hot and dry, ending with a series of violent hailstorms that ravaged 7,000 hectares of vineyards throughout the region, but fortunately did not cause any damage at Haut-Bailly. August followed with hot temperatures, resulting in the formation of smaller grapes than usual. September, with its mild temperatures, left us waiting impatiently for the late harvest.
Harvest September 29th and 30th saw a wave of low pressure coming in from the Atlantic which brought with it warm, wet weather. Harvesting began with the Merlots on October 1st and finished with the Cabernets ten days later. Weather conditions required us to double the team of pickers quickly. Our quick reactions and flexibility along with sorting and selection were crucial to ensure that only ripe, concentrated fruit went into the cellar.
Wines A slow and gentle vinification was carried out at 25°C, preserving fresh fruit flavours and extracting soft yet elegant tannins. A number of elements, including the losses in spring, small grapes and meticulous sorting explain the low yields for this vintage.
Despite reduced production, a number of quality batches combining fruit and elegance have resulted in the creation of a wine that lives up to Haut-Bailly’s strict standards of quality. The 2013 vintage, full of finesse, is both lively and supple, retaining freshness and a harmonious structure. Its relative scarcity will not be its only distinguishing quality.
Blend of Château Haut-Bailly:
64% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Cabernet Franc
October 1st to 4th: Merlot
October 5th to 10th: Cabernet Sauvignon
Yields: 20,6Hl /Ha
New oak: 55%
There are only 2,500 cases of the 2013 Haut-Bailly because yields were a microscopic 20 hectoliters per hectare. Made from a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, this elegant effort boasts a dense ruby/purple color as well as a beautiful, intriguing bouquet of spring flowers, creme de cassis, plums and an underlying Graves earthiness. Layered with more texture and concentration than many of its peers, it will benefit from several years of cellaring, and should last an atypically long time of 20 years.
The harvest occurred at this beautiful estate in the heart of Pessac-Leognan between October 1-10. Production was tiny, and Veronique Sanders, the brilliant winemaker, was worried about pushing for too much extraction, so vinification was intelligently done in a gentle manner in order to extract the softest tannins possible.
Score: 91/93 Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (214), August 2014
The 2013 Haut Bailly is a cut above many Pessac-Léognan wines this year. It is bestowed an engaging, red cherry, strawberry and iodine-scented bouquet that unfolds in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with quite bold tannin for the vintage, but here there is the fruit to back it up and there is real density on the ferrous finish. "Team Sanders" has made a considered, harmonious and very agreeable wine for the vintage, even if it might pale against other recent releases. Just 2,000 cases this vintage. Last tasted at the property in March 2016 and you know, it might well garner a higher evaluation with bottle age.
Score: 90 Neal Martin, RobertParker.com (227), October 2016
The 2013 Château Haut Bailly is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked 1 to 10 October, cropped at 20.6hl/ha. The grand vin represents 40% of the crop and it saw 55% new oak (though Véronique Sanders told me that it may undergo a shorter élevage). It comes in at 12.8% alcohol. It has a clean pleasant bouquet, defined but perhaps missing the usual flair and exuberance, which is typical of the vintage. The palate is structured with a firm grip, a slight saltiness in the background. There is tightly packed black fruit here and it builds nicely to a masculine, tobacco-tinged finish. I will happily drink this over the next ten years whilst I await the 2009 and 2010 to come round. Tasted March 2014.
Score: 88/90 Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2014
A firm and juicy wine with dried berry, sweet tobacco and cedar character. Medium to full body, with fine tannins and a pretty finish. Iodine. 64% cabernet sauvignon, 34% merlot and 2% cabernet franc. Tiny production.
Score: 91/92 James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2014
Score: 89 Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2014
Inventory status is as current as possible, but may not reflect today's deliveries or sales.