Haut Bailly 2009
Tasting Notes Haut Bailly 2009
A dense ruby/purple-tinged color offers up notes of forest floor, subtle wood smoke, mulberries, black cherries, cassis and a hint of lead pencil shavings. There is even a floral component lurking in the intricate aromatic profile. The wine is medium to full-bodied with wonderful intensity that builds incrementally and has a long, silky, luscious finish. There is plenty of tannin, but it is largely concealed by the wine’s beautiful fruit and ethereal complexity. Given its virtually perfect balance, this brilliant Haut-Bailly should age effortlessly for 3-4 decades. This is a tour de force in winemaking, particularly for readers seeking the quintessential example of a Bordeaux that combines compelling complexity and finesse with significant flavor authority and intensity. I suppose we could see this coming as American owner, Robert Wilmers, along with his winemaker/manager, Veronique Sanders, continue to push the envelope. Yields were extremely low in 2009, and the final blend was an intriguing concoction of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc. It came in just under 14% natural alcohol, which makes it among one of the more powerful Haut-Baillys produced. However, power is not the hallmark of this wine. This terroir is known to produce relatively light wines, and by reducing yields and picking riper fruit, Wilmers and Sanders have achieved a level of concentration and intensity that is unprecedented for Haut-Bailly. That said, they have not lost any of these wines’ stunning elegance, finesse or aromatic complexity.
Aromas of blackberries, wet earth and mushrooms, follow through to a full body, with a solid core of fruit. Velvety and delicious, yet wonderfully structured. Muscular wine. Best ever? Try in 2018.
Served blind at the Southwold 2009 tasting. The Haut-Bailly ‘09 has a sweet iodine-scented bouquet with pure creme de cassis and violets that is more Margaux than Graves, hints of black olive emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with fine definition. There is a lot of extraction here, lending this a more modern personality, with plenty of sweet rounded dark cherry and boysenberry fruit on the lithe finish. Tasted January 2013.