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Château Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan 2010

Red Wine from France - Bordeaux
One of the finest wines of the great 2010 Bordeaux vintage, and one that re-established Haut-Bailly as the leading château of Pessac-Léognan after Haut-Brion and La Mission. A complete wine with velvety texture cloaking a wonderfully rich mix of fine and persistent flavours, evocative of ripe, black fruits and autumnal scents. This wine is a Museum Release: thanks to our member-owned co-operative model, our buyers are able to buy wines to mature in the perfect conditions of our temperature-controlled cellars and release them when they are ready to enjoy.
is no longer available
Code: CM15411

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • Cabernet Merlot
  • 75cl
  • Now to 2040
  • 14% Alcohol
  • oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Cork, natural

Cru Classe Medoc, Graves

The original and most famous wine classification came about when the organisers of the 1855 Universal Exposition of Paris wanted, naturally enough, to show the finest wines of the Bordeaux region. Brokers dealing in the wines got together and produced two classifications of the best red and sweet wines respectively, based on the selling price of the wines at that time. The list was produced very soon after a request for it from the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce was made, strongly suggesting that there was an ‘unofficial’ hierarchy already well known to the brokers.

These Grand Cru Classé wines were ranked in five tiers and, apart from the famous promotion of Château Mouton Rothschild in 1973 and the addition of Château Cantemerle to the fourth growths soon after the classification was established, they have remained unchanged ever since. Effectively, they represent what should be the best wines of the Médoc with the one interloper, Château Haut-Brion from Pessac-Léognan in the...
The original and most famous wine classification came about when the organisers of the 1855 Universal Exposition of Paris wanted, naturally enough, to show the finest wines of the Bordeaux region. Brokers dealing in the wines got together and produced two classifications of the best red and sweet wines respectively, based on the selling price of the wines at that time. The list was produced very soon after a request for it from the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce was made, strongly suggesting that there was an ‘unofficial’ hierarchy already well known to the brokers.

These Grand Cru Classé wines were ranked in five tiers and, apart from the famous promotion of Château Mouton Rothschild in 1973 and the addition of Château Cantemerle to the fourth growths soon after the classification was established, they have remained unchanged ever since. Effectively, they represent what should be the best wines of the Médoc with the one interloper, Château Haut-Brion from Pessac-Léognan in the Graves region.

The wines of the right bank, such as Saint-Emilion and Pomerol were not included because their selling price was not as high at that time. Five first growths sit at the head of 62 properties, all of them from the Médoc except for Château Haut-Brion in Pessac-Léognan.

Naturally enough, there have been many unofficial revisions made over the years, with expert opinions brought to bear on what promotions and demotions might have been over the years, but none of these musings, no matter how reflective of changing standards and prices they might be, will change the stratification as it stands.

The classification is as follows:
First Growths (Premiers Crus)
Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac; Château Latour, Pauillac; Château Margaux, Margaux; Château Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan ; Château Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac.

Second Growths (Deuxièmes Crus)
Château Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux; Château Rauzan-Gassies, Margaux; Château Léoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien; Château Léoville-Poyferré, Saint-Julien; Château Léoville-Barton, Saint-Julien; Château Durfort-Vivens, Margaux; Château Gruaud-Larose, Saint-Julien; Château Lascombes, Margaux; Château Brane-Cantenac, Margaux; Château Pichon Longueville Baron, Pauillac; Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Pauillac; Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien; Château Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estèphe; Château Montrose, Saint-Estèphe.

Third Growths (Troisièmes Crus)
Château Kirwan, Margaux; Château d'Issan (Margaux); Château Lagrange, Saint-Julien; Château Langoa-Barton, Saint-Julien; Château Giscours, Margaux; Château Malescot Saint Exupéry, Margaux; Château Cantenac-Brown, Margaux; Château Boyd-Cantenac, Margaux; Palmer, now Château Palmer, Margaux; Château La Lagune, Ludon (Haut-Médoc); Château Desmirail, Margaux; Château Dubignon, Margaux; Château Calon-Ségur, Saint-Estèphe; Château Ferrière, Margaux; Château Marquis d'Alesme Becker, Margaux.

Fourth Growths (Quatrièmes Crus)
Château Saint-Pierre, Saint-Julien; Château Talbot, Saint-Julien; Château Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien; Château Duhart-Milon, Pauillac; Château Pouget, Margaux; Château La Tour Carnet, Saint-Laurent (Haut-Médoc); Château Lafon-Rochet, Saint-Estèphe; Château Beychevelle, Saint-Julien; Château Prieuré-Lichine, Margaux; Château Marquis de Terme, Margaux.

Fifth Growths (Cinquièmes Crus)
Château Pontet-Canet, Pauillac; Château Batailley, Pauillac; Château Haut-Batailley, Pauillac; Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, Pauillac; Château Grand-Puy-Ducasse, Pauillac; Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac; Château Lynch-Moussas, Pauillac; Château Dauzac, Margaux; Château d'Armailhac, Pauillac; Château du Tertre, Margaux; Château Haut-Bages-Libéral, Pauillac; Château Pédesclaux, Pauillac; Château Belgrave, Saint-Laurent (Haut-Médoc); Château de Camensac, Saint-Laurent (Haut-Médoc); Château Cos Labory, Saint-Estèphe; Château Clerc-Milon, Pauillac; Château Croizet Bages, Pauillac; Château Cantemerle, Macau (Haut-Médoc).

Alongside the reds resides the classification for Sauternes and Barsac from further up river on the Garonne. There, 27 estates make up a smaller pyramid of their own, topped by the legendary Château d’Yquem, which had been classified out on its own above all the other sweet wines of the region.

Since the 1885 classification there have been other such systems established. Those of Graves and Saint-Emilion, both established much later than the 1855 and both subject to change, changes which cause no end of trouble for the authorities as estates are promoted or, more contentiously demoted and seek legal redress for the perceived injustice.

Cru Bourgeois is a further classification in the Médoc, representing some 30% of the production of the area. It was established in 1932 to represent properties outside of the Grand Cru Classé estates, though it was not officially recognised by the French government until 2003. At that time the selection of properties entitled to use the designation was revised and, unsurprisingly, fiercely contested by those who were left outside the classification, leading to a legal decision annulling the original classification while their status is re-examined by the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce. The list has previously been revised every 12 years, but from the 2018 vintage will be accredited every five years, and is based on the history terroir, winemaking and quality control of the properties, overseen by the Alliance des Crus Bourgeios de Médoc created in the same year as the revision. It is divided into three categories: Cru Bourgeios, Cru Bourgeios Supérieur and Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel. In theory the fact that qualification for the designation is based on quality should see improvements in the quality of wines made under its nomenclature.
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Chateau Haut Bailly

This fine old property of some 32 hectares sits in the commune of Léognan, to the south of the city of Bordeaux. In 1955 the estate was bought by Belgian wine merchant Daniel Sanders and his family, who began turning its fortunes around. It had been in particularly bad shape, after the war and Depression of the earlier half of the century. Sanders embarked on an ambitious restoration project here, overseeing a great period of prosperity and quality which continued under his son Jean from 1979.

Control of the château was threatened when some members of the family decided to sell their shares but fortuitously, in 1998, an American financier and Francophile, the late Robert G Wilmers came to the rescue with financial backing although the Sanders family remained and remain heavily involved in the day-to-day running of Haut-Bailly. Véronique Sanders is the respected general manager, ably assisted by Gabriel Vialard, the technical manager who was formerly the winemaker at Smith Haut Lafitte.

The vineyards are thought of as some of the best in the region to the east of Léognan village. They are sited on high slopes of sand and gravel on a bed of fossil-rich subsoil known as Faluns de Léognan. The vineyards are planted to 65% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot and 10% cabernet franc. After maceration the wine is matured in small oak barrels, many of which are new, for up to 18 months. In a typical vintage between 30-40% of the wine is bottled under the estate’s charming second label,...
This fine old property of some 32 hectares sits in the commune of Léognan, to the south of the city of Bordeaux. In 1955 the estate was bought by Belgian wine merchant Daniel Sanders and his family, who began turning its fortunes around. It had been in particularly bad shape, after the war and Depression of the earlier half of the century. Sanders embarked on an ambitious restoration project here, overseeing a great period of prosperity and quality which continued under his son Jean from 1979.

Control of the château was threatened when some members of the family decided to sell their shares but fortuitously, in 1998, an American financier and Francophile, the late Robert G Wilmers came to the rescue with financial backing although the Sanders family remained and remain heavily involved in the day-to-day running of Haut-Bailly. Véronique Sanders is the respected general manager, ably assisted by Gabriel Vialard, the technical manager who was formerly the winemaker at Smith Haut Lafitte.

The vineyards are thought of as some of the best in the region to the east of Léognan village. They are sited on high slopes of sand and gravel on a bed of fossil-rich subsoil known as Faluns de Léognan. The vineyards are planted to 65% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot and 10% cabernet franc. After maceration the wine is matured in small oak barrels, many of which are new, for up to 18 months. In a typical vintage between 30-40% of the wine is bottled under the estate’s charming second label, for a long time called La Parde de Haut-Bailly but now renamed as Haut Balliy II. A generic AC Pessac-Léognan is also now released in order to help retain the quality of this fine second wine. Unlike many other producers from Léognan, no white wine is produced here although there are a few white vines maintained in the vineyards and records show whites were in fact made here during the 18th century.

This is a château that is now fully showing its potential thanks to extra improvement since the Wilmers era of financial stability. An important geological survey of the vineyards which allowed a better understanding of the soil types as well as purchase of new equipment for the cuvérie have been recent undertakings. The harmonious, medium-bodied wines can show many-faceted aromas, rich-textured palates and considerable depth and grip with impressive consistency.
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Bordeaux Vintage 2010

This is Bordeaux at its best. 2010 clarets have superb ripeness and depth of flavour, balance and freshness. The vintage was memorable on several counts. There is no question that some ‘knock-out’ wines were made. It is exciting that this was true all over Bordeaux and at all price levels. Of course, at the top end 2010 produced some of the finest red wines you can find in the world. Though prices were high for such a great vintage there are lovely wines that punch well above their weight.

The growing cycle ticked all the boxes required for a good vintage, the only drawback being uneven flowering that reduced the volume. Summer in Bordeaux, unlike in much of northern Europe) was unusually dry, causing stress to the vines but concentrating the flavour and the fruit. This is essential in great years. There was ideal weather at vintage with plenty of light but no torrid heat during the day and cool nights over an extended period that provided good harvest conditions into late October....
This is Bordeaux at its best. 2010 clarets have superb ripeness and depth of flavour, balance and freshness. The vintage was memorable on several counts. There is no question that some ‘knock-out’ wines were made. It is exciting that this was true all over Bordeaux and at all price levels. Of course, at the top end 2010 produced some of the finest red wines you can find in the world. Though prices were high for such a great vintage there are lovely wines that punch well above their weight.

The growing cycle ticked all the boxes required for a good vintage, the only drawback being uneven flowering that reduced the volume. Summer in Bordeaux, unlike in much of northern Europe) was unusually dry, causing stress to the vines but concentrating the flavour and the fruit. This is essential in great years. There was ideal weather at vintage with plenty of light but no torrid heat during the day and cool nights over an extended period that provided good harvest conditions into late October. This was particularly beneficial to the later ripening cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot. Grapes had a rich abundance of all the necessary elements: fruit, natural sugar, acidity for freshness and life, and tannins that preserve the wine. The berries were smaller than usual with a higher percentage of skin to pulp, which means more flavour. The elimination of bunches affected by poor flowering was important, as was managing the tannins in the cellar by gentle handling and cooler fermentation temperatures.

Successful wines have superb ripeness and depth of flavour, balance and freshness. No two vintages are alike but the style is closer to a riper, better-balanced 1986 or a fuller rounder 2000 than the gentler charm of 2009. Great wines are to be found all over Bordeaux.

Sauternes also had a good year with lovely pure, succulent, luscious wines, most picked in the second week of October. Dry whites too were aromatic and elegant.
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