2011 Château Haut-Bailly (Pessac-Léognan)
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $73.94 (reg. $89.94)
Hot on the heels of two back-to-back blockbuster vintages, 2011 had a lot to live up to. Mother nature was not kind on the Bordeaux vineyard that year, so it wasn’t exactly the vintage of the century. Six years on from the vintage, however, things are looking up. Hugh Johnson considers the vintage on the left bank to be “better than its reputation”. Top producers still made great wines, however, and they often come at a considerable discount to the more celebrated vintages.
The 2011 Haut-Bailly is a case in point. It’s a 95-pointer from one of Graves’ top Grand Cru Classé estates. Per Robert Parker, the property is “one of the great shining superstars of Pessac-Léognan”. And while the estate’s 2009 and 2010 efforts will set you back $150-200+, we’ve got this 2011 for under $75!
Situated right at the heart of Pessac-Léognan, the estate has been making quality red wine for centuries, though its success today comes down to more recent history. American banker Robert Wilmers bought the estate in 1998 and struck up a working relationship with Véronique Sanders. Parker calls this partnership – between an enthusiastic new owner and the granddaughter of the previous owner – “an amazing success story”.
That may be putting it mildly. The two, per Parker, have “raised Haut-Bailly’s quality to the level of Pape-Clément, La Mission Haut-Brion and Haut-Brion.” Keeping company like that places Haut-Bailly right at the top tier of Graves, and it’s certainly well-deserved. Parker says that the property “is making its finest wines in nearly three decades”, and indeed its 2009 vintage scored a perfect 100 points per the Wine Advocate, taking the estate to new heights.
This is top-tier classified growth Bordeaux at a very favorable price. Six years on from the vintage, it’s in a wonderful spot and is ready to give some real pleasure. This is a great buy from an estate that can seemingly do no wrong. Cheers!