Chateau Haut Bailly Pessac Leognan [Pre-arrival] 2018
JS 99: Complex and expressive nose, offering red and dark fruit, spices and pepper with wood and mushroom undertones. Fresh mussel shell and a hint of ink, too. Full-bodied with a fine texture and great balance between the acidity and the controlled, tannic structure. Very long finish. Goes on and on. Tiny production, 21 hectoliters per hectare. Try after 2025.
JD98: The Grand Vin 2018 Château Haut-Bailly checks in as 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. It spent 18 months in 60% new French oak. This is a beautiful, classic expression of this terroir, and its dense purple hue is followed by gorgeous black cherry and cassis fruits interwoven with ample tobacco leaf, cedary herbs, earth, truffle, and floral nuances. While 2018 was a hot, dry year (at the end of the season anyway), this shows a mix of cooler-climate, vibrant aromatics paired with a rich, concentrated, fresh style on the palate. It has plenty of tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish.
VM97: The 2018 Haut-Bailly soars out of the glass, showing magnificent poise that only grows with time. Sweet, perfumed aromatics, silky tannins and mid-weight structure add to its considerable allure. Ripe red berry fruit, spice, blood orange, licorice, cedar, tobacco and menthol are all woven together in an effortless, classy Haut-Bailly that delivers the goods. I suppose the 2018 doesn't quite have the explosive energy of the very best years, but it more than makes up for that with its sensual, seductive personality.