After a few hectic days of Bordeaux en primeur releases, things have started to ease up. I had been looking for a moment to offer an impressive affordable Bordeaux from the 2019 vintage at a point when it might not be overshadowed by more significant releases. I am pleased to draw your attention to 2019 Haut Bailly II (formerly known as La Parde), offered at £135 per 6 bottle case in bond.
This is a true ‘second wine’; it isn’t made from a separate vineyard that is ascribed the larger Château brand. Simply put, fruit from parcels not deemed to be up to scratch for the Grand Vin is employed in these wines, excluding those that may be sub-standard and therefore sold off for blending. The components that are selected may be from younger vines or from parcels that do not show the necessary structure for the Grand Vin. Consequently, the second wine shows in a more forward, early drinking style.
La Parde, as Haut Bailly II was known, was one of the first ‘second wines’ to be appear in Bordeaux back in 1967. The concept of a second wine is really to ensure the quality of fruit that goes into the Grand Vin; each component goes through a selection process. Today, second wines themselves undergo the very same selection process as they have proven valuable ambassadors for the Châteaux. They are after all the wines that are most likely to be sampled by those new to the wines of Bordeaux. While I recall some very impressive vintages of La Parde, I don’t think that they match up to the quality that is being produced today under the direction of Haut Bailly’s technical director, Gabriel Vialard.
I personally see particular value in second wines from smaller estates such as Haut Bailly (28 hectares) in vintages where the general quality level is high. This example ticks those boxes…and having tasted it from a barrel sample sent to me during lockdown, I can wholeheartedly endorse it as one of the stand-out drinking values of the vintages.
Echoing the style of the Grand Vin, with more of a red berry accent, there is an appealing supple accent to the 2019 (the second year under the new label). The wine comprises 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and shows more substance than you might expect, yet with the classic vibrancy that we have come to expect of the Haut-Bailly stable…this will start drinking well in three to four years’ time.
2019 Haut-Bailly II
£135 per 6 bottle case in bond
(91-93) points, Neal Martin, vinous.com
The 2019 Haut-Bailly II, formerly La Parde de Haut-Bailly, was picked from 23 September to 10 October. This bursts from the glass with crushed strawberry, dark cherries, vanilla and light sous-bois aromas - utterly charming. The palate is medium-bodied with finely-chiseled tannins, a keen line of acidity, precise and vibrant with just a touch of piquancy on the finish. This is an absolutely delightful second label that comes highly recommended. 2023-2038.
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All the best,