This understated Graves red wine specialist is run by the charming Véronique Sanders, grand-daughter of Belgian wine merchant Daniel Sanders who had bought Haut-Bailly in 1955 and fourth generation to take care of this beautiful chateau.
The current owner, Chris Wilmers, was at graduate school when his father Bob, the head of one of the largest commercial banks in the United States bought Château Haut-Bailly in 1998 from the Sanders family. Upon his father's death in 2017, the Professor of Ecology at Santa Cruz university took over the role of President.
'Tasted at the château, the 1998 Haut-Bailly is a wine that exploits what was a fine vintage in Pessac-Léognan, and appears to slowly improve with age. Having not reached adulthood yet, it has a simmering, powerful bouquet with smoke and truffle accompanying the red berry fruit, perhaps a little mintier than previous bottles. The palate is complex and well balanced, harmonious with kirsch and bay leaf, you could say "modestly precocious" in style. The acidity cuts through nicely here, lending freshness on the finish that feels long and possesses the substance to suggest that it will easily bestow drinkers with another 15-20 years of pleasure. You could broach this now, but it possesses the concentration to mature over the next 20 years without problem. Tasted March 2016.' 16 pts Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com.April, 2016