Haut-Bailly at 67 Pall Mall

Discussion in 'UK Wine Forum' started by Ian Hampsted, May 26, 2020.

  1. A virtual tasting this evening with Veronique Saunders, compered by Sarah Kemp. We were down to visit Ch. Haut Bailey for lunch on 27 March before the coronavirus threw a spanner in the works, so this session assuaged that disappointment somewhat.

    The line up was impressive: 2012, 2010, 2009, 2005, 1998 and 1989. But I would have preferred one which included 2019, 2018 and 2016. I had a half bottle of 2004 on the side as my Brucie Bonus.

    Veronique, who reminds me of Madame Peignoir in Fawlty Towers, albeit in a good way, arrived on the scene in 1998, and she credits step improvements in quality at the estate first in the 2004 vintage and then again in 2008 vintage.

    Haut-Bailly is a single block estate dating back to 1613 with the highest plot in the appellation, which peaks at 48 metres where 120 year old vines reside.

    2012 - quite closed now and not showing very much on the nose, but you get some rocky mineral notes, and later some good ripe red berry fruit. A good wine which needs a few years to come out of its shell, it is fresh and nicely balanced, but lacks richness and concentration, which is not necessarily a bad thing. You could say that it is a classic Englishman’s claret. If I was to attach a score it would be around 90.

    2010 - the needle moves around the dial in every aspect with this wine because it is bigger in every way, particularly in its constitution, structure, power, richness, ripeness and concentration. But although it tips the scales at 14.3% abv it is not over the top in anyway and maintains impeccable balance and decorum. It is like a large muscular world-beating thoroughbred. Just so impressive. I would say 97 points.

    2009 - weighs in a bit lower at 13.8% abv and is more inviting on the nose than the 10; it is more opulent, exotic and rounder. It has a marvellous seamless and silky mid-palate and a finish that goes on and on - for well over a minute. I marginally prefer this to the 2010 but they are both epic wines. Veronique said the 2019 is a carbon copy of this 2009, which I would give 98 points.

    2005 - we come down to earth with quite a clunk; the 2005 is notable for its rumbustious, burly, tannins, which means it is completely unready to drink, unless you want to be a ‘baby murderer’ (VS) - the step down from the previous two wines is palpable though beneath the aggressive tannins you have a rich powerful wine from a hot vintage, which maintains reasonable balance, but you could say it is over-extracted as is the case elsewhere in this vintage. You need to wait at least a decade to drink this, when it might be due an upgrade from its interim score of 89 points.

    2004 - from half bottle this is still backward and still needs 3-5 years, though is a better bet to drink now than the 2005. It is strict wine, but refreshingly cool-fruited. It did open a little bit after 10pm, five hours after opening, but if you have bottles of this try to hold off. It is similar to the 2012. 90 points.

    1998 - also still quite strict and austere but with more tertiary tobacco notes. VS said the Merlot fruit was very fine in 1998 and two thirds of the wine was declassified to the Parde. It is still frankly too young and austere to drink now but has a pleasing energy, even electricity. 90 points.

    1989 - a browner colour and a wine from a previous regime. It is pleasingly resolved and tertiary albeit somewhat shy and demure especially for the vintage. I got coffee and caramel tertiary notes and charcoal. After a while it grows on you and is an exquisite wine, albeit with an elegant and restrained, rather than exuberant, personality. An also ran in the context of this vintage. 91 points.

    Regarding other vintages, as noted VS she is very excited by 2019 which she even compares favourably to 2009 (RMP 100); she is highly complimentary about her 2018; she thinks the 2016 is similar to the 2010 with ‘great structure and depth’, while the 2015 she considers a ‘sexy beast’. She reserves special praise for her 2008, which she considers to be worthy as being ranked as a triumvirate with the 09 and 10, which should be taken with a pinch of salt. The 2000 is 50/50 cab/Merlot and a ‘ying-yang’ vintage but she concedes it not at the same level as 2009 and 2010. Her favourite wines to pull out of the cellar now are 2001, a superb cab sav year, and 2006, which has emerged from a relatively closed period. Their accent now, as it is across Bordeaux, is to make less extracted wines.

    Haut-Bailly wines seem to be austere and take an awful long time to come around in cool vintages and therefore need food; I remember coming away with the same impression at Simon Grant’s Haut-Bailly dinner at the Medlar several years ago. However this estate seems to excel in big vintages especially 2009 and 2010, though not in 2005, and the 2015, 16, 18 and 19 are probably close to the 2009 and 2010. One interesting theme from the three Bordeaux zoom sessions I have attended is how much better than 2005 are the 2009 and 2010 vintages, which have far better tannin management, and less emphasis on extraction. I own cases/half cases of 2006, 2008, 2015 and 2016 and a few odd bottles/halves in other vintages like 1998 and 2004.
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
  2. I have a mini vertical of a case each of 2005-6-7-8-9, of which the only one I have broached is 2007 which is drinking beautifully. Sorry I missed Veronique last night, top person as well a presiding over some beautiful wines
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  3. Thanks again for the notes Ian.
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  4. Only own two vintages, 2009 and 2015 with ‘15 in halves. Maybe should order some ‘19 in halves. lol.
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  5. Very interesting regarding the 2005 which I own. Original BBR comment if I remember rightly was “buy as much as you can “..............obviously didn’t put the Provisional if aged under 40....
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  6. Sadly, only one vintage, the 1988, which I got in lieu of a third bottle of 1988 Pape Clement. All are still intact, whether for good or bad, though I was led to believe that it was a good vintage in Graves.
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  7. interesting notes, Ian. Thank you for taking the time. Will 2005 ever come round for many of the top estates, I wonder. as David observes, it may take a while. Trying to ignore the VS-induced temptation to defy my self-imposed ban on EP19..

    These 67PM zoom webinars have been a highlight of this difficult spring. So interesting for enthusiasts/consumers, and presumably a reasonably low-cost/hassle way for winemakers to establish or cement a relationship with hundreds of those enthusiasts. I hope that they become a permanent fixture. They'll certainly have done wonders in confirming 67PM's brand and influence on the UK-based fine wine scene, and rightly so.
  8. They've said a few times that they'll keep them on, I think by broadcasting their club-based seminars (with the posted tasting packs for those at home) well as maintaining the current format.
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  9. Apart from the impression that these wines take a long time to come round another notable facet of Chateau Haut-Bailly wines is their minerality, which I should have emphasised more in my notes, perhaps minerality over fruit rather than the other way round. I notice that Parker and Neal Martin and other professional tasters score the 2005 around 95 plus or minus. My impression based on last night was that if that is the case the 2009 and 2010 should score in excess of 100. It maybe that the 2005s are going through an awkward phase as was notably the case in the Leoville Barton and D’Issan verticals; but I was surprised how the shortcomings of the fives were so ruthlessly exposed by the altogether far more accomplished nines and tens in all three verticals. The fives were clumsy by comparison. That’s why it would have been interesting to have the 15, 16, 18 and 19 in the line up last night. In last night’s line up the best wine to drink now and in the future is the 2009, and I suspect the more recent vintages are of a similar ilk. For those of you interested coming up in June we have Giscours (4th), Palmer (9th), Montrose (16th) and Pichon Baron (20th).
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
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  10. It's too much! Plus all the Burgundy ones and plenty of interesting 'oddities' (I have packs containing various aged Spanish and Loire wines, and have been enjoying the Demetri Walters and Wink Lorch series on fortifieds/Alpine wines respectively).

    Back on topic, are you of the view that 2009 - at least on the Left Bank - has escaped being too hot/Parkerized? My previous impression was that the consensus was that '05 and '10 were generally preferable to '09, but I have tended to enjoy the joie de vivre of the '09s I've tried ('10 seeming rather stern by comparison).
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  11. Good question Nick. No the 2009s, generally speaking, are not ‘Parkerised.’ One common theme from these tastings is that the winemaker/owner emphasises the point that they accept the hand that nature deals them. As Damien Sartorius Barton noted (great) wines are made in the vineyard not in the cellar. Wines are generally Parkerised in the cellar, though arguably picking late is one facet of Parkerisation.

    Up to recently I was quite wary of the 2009 vintage, and I don’t own many 2009s. Now I really wish I had bought more, because it really is a fabulous vintage. These tastings have opened my eyes to that. Yes it is rounder, more opulent, less fresh and less structured than 2010 but that was the hand they were dealt. Qualitatively I would now put 2009 on a par with both 2010 and 2016. The other surprise of course is how relatively poorly the 2005s have performed, but this vintage has its die hard fans.
  12. Every chance that 2005 is just in a sulky, clunky phase, Ian, wouldn't you think?

    No reason for them to stop being good wines, is there?
  13. Happy with the 2005 here!

    2012 - Primary. Blackcurrant, creamy, shrouded in elegant, sweet tannins. Should smooth out early. 91

    2010 - Floral, stony, a touch of dark chocolate. Dense. Structured. Grippy, powdery, tannins, Long. As youthful in appearance but an older flavour profile than the 2012. 93-96

    2009 - Showing a bit more age than the 2010, with a wider rim. Creamy, richly fruited, eucalyptus, smoke, a touch of farmyard and a little heat. Good, balancing, acidity. Velvet. 92-95

    2009 over 2010. The greater expressiveness, particularly, on the nose, of the 2009 and the velvety body takes it, in this format.

    2005 - Fresh, some orange on the nose and a bit chalky minerality. Good fruit intensity, red and black fruits. Integrated tannins. Bit of heat. Elegant. 93

    2000 - Lovely nose. Tobacco, red and black fruits, a touch of background farmyard. The dryish tannins don’t detract. 92. Half bottle.

    1998 - Fresh, floral, smoke, pure, dark fruits, pastille, dark chocolate. The tannins stick out a little, quite dry but I like them. The fruit is there to see it through. Long. 93. WOTN.

    1989 - Old wine, browning. Charcoal, mocha, savoury with smoke and all manner of processed meats - sausage, bacon, salami. The acidity remains in check. From experience, this sample is from an evolved bottle. As it is C’s WOTN and there’s plenty of interest, a generous 91.
  14. Could this be compared to how some people (myself included) have found 1995 really difficult to enjoy? 1995 does seem to be coming around now, though. I suspect 2005 will come around too, but I would assume most classed growths will be clunky right now and where my own palate is concerned, for the next decade or more.
  15. I sense you are being mischievous Jasper (..unlike you..). I think it helps if you read carefully what I wrote rather than try to insinuate that I was suggesting that the 2005s will never turn out to be good wines. What I was saying is that, on the basis of these tastings, relative to the 2009s and 2010s they are a clear step down and that they are clearly in an awkward phase but may merit an upgrade when they resolve.

    These tastings have been really helpful snapshots, which could be just that, but my most important takeaway is how good the 2009s are especially, and how much the nines and tens had moved the game on in a short space of time. You can drink these wines with great pleasure now which is not the case with many 2005s. I am no expert as to why but it has a lot to do with tannins.

    The main difference seems to be the aggressive tannins in the 2005s, which are much more refined in the 2009 and 2010, but also a sense that maybe the 05 is somewhat over-extracted, as was the tendency in that vintage, while the heat of the vintage seemed more apparent in the 05s than in the 9s and 10s. All this speaks to the likelihood that these wines are indeed in an awkward and sulky phase. I would be surprised if 2005 does not turn out to be an excellent long lived vintage.
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  16. 2005s represent a massive part of my cellar. Have touched very little, bought a lot of 2nd wines and tasted many growths ad hoc in clubs, purchased etc. It is currently a very very moody vintage. Drunk Duhart and enjoyed only to be disappointed later. Talbot has been good but too early, similarly Gruaud. Currently drinking a glass of clos du Marquis,
    Which has me thing it’s big brother must be at least 10 years away. The one bottle of Haut Bailly I have had was at Bonhams and it wasn’t corked but faulty.

    As Ned Flanders would say the 2005 Vintage is a dilly of a Pickle. Ultimately I think it will come round and be legendary
    , but equally a lot of it has to do with how you like drinking your claret. Reference Ian’s point the many 2009,2010s
    That have been enjoyable. Even a 2016 Talbot in Singapore recently was a complete joy.
  17. Not many vintages have charm throughout their life. Maybe 1985 and 1953 would be two examples.

    I think the key is gettng the right wine at the right time: rather than top 2005s, maybe well chosen 2004s and 2001s are to enjoy now. Even in 2001, Petrus is not a bundle of laughs atm, but Magdelaine from the same producer is a point.

    I wonder still whether 2010s will close down in a few years and then never recover, condemned in a surfeit of alcohol and tannin.

    Curiously, the last 2005 I tried was last night, but not Bordeaux: a half of Clos des Lambrays that was awkward, surprisingly black-toned and porty: the previous half a month ago was youthful but much more to my liking. Not sure whether the taster, the wine or the stars are to blame.
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  18. There was a recent thread on WB about 2005 Bordeaux. The initiator of the thread who is English started off with the premise that he was becoming disenchanted with the vintage, and views were pretty mixed, with most noting that the wines needed a lot of time. I piled in mid way through (p2) with the observation that my experiences with 2005 have been overwhelmingly positive listing many examples, whilst acknowledging a couple of train wrecks on the RB. That is contextually why I was so surprised how relatively poorly they showed at these zooms, but I have had plenty of good experiences with the vintage over the last two years. Beychevelle is the notable example, a wine which has been drinking well for five years.

    Has anybody started trying Bordeaux 2005s? What are your views? - Page 2 - Wine Berserkers - international wine social media, online community, and discussion
  19. Thanks for the link, Ian. Interesting discussion re the 2005s. My experience has been similar to Julian (the OP) and others: have enjoyed some mid-tier 05 left bank wines (Clerc Milon, Bahans, Giscours) but have hated every right bank 05 I've opened so far: baked and over-extracted.

    Oh dear. I do hope that you're wrong, Paul.. but I haven't tried enough of them to venture a view.
  20. Ian, I wasn't trying to be mischievous at all, but having read the thread each time posts were added, and then doubtless forgotten the detail, I was responding to this post of yours which could be misconstrued:

    Julian, I don't think the issue is the same as 1995 which genuinely, in both Bordeaux (Left Bank anyway) and Burgundy seemed to die away. 2005 is about a powerful muscular vintage which is just showing its ugly sides at the moment
  21. One could say exactly the same of burgundy. Top vintages are all very well until it comes to functionality.
  22. I have been very impressed with GPL 2005 (one of my favourite wines last year).. but I am a mere novice :).

    I have an unopened case of Cantemerle 2005 but reading CT it seems it needs time. Whereas I think GPL has had quite good CT reviews.

    Also have some Pichon-Longueville Baron 2005 which I haven’t broached yet.. alas not a full case though. That appears to have good CT reviews.
  23. Isn't it all about patience?
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  24. yes jasper ...indeed ... the key word being ...‘relatively’ - relative to my preconceptions - as noted in the WB thread I posted - let’s not confuse relatives and absolutes (schoolboy error) - and the general perception among some diehards and traditional claret aficionados like John Gilman, who claims that the 2005 vintage is the only genuinely great modern vintage.
  25. It certainly should be. In terms of the percentage of really enjoyable bottles of a particular wine over the course of its life I do sometimes wonder, though. The wines from the most vaunted vintages are generally consumed well before they are truly enjoyable; that is indeed down to impatience, but it does seem that quite often those wines never get there at all, which is not. Apologies for thread drift.

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