Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Chateau Haute-Bailly 2001

This wine got an 89 rating from Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/June 2004, Issue #114

from 2 Days per Bottle.

Grand Cru Classe' de Graves
$45.98 in Indianapolis, Indiana
12.5% alcohol by volume
imported by USA Wine Imports, New York, NY

This bottle of wine is a floral delight. On Night One it seems promise years of cellar growth to come, but we will know more about that on Night Two.

Night One

Purple flowers, lavendar and lilac, just float out of the glass, along with some dark plum and plum skins. On the palate the same flowers take center stage. There is fruit there, too, but it is hidden behind strong tannins that scream out for more years in the cellar. Plums, nee plum skins, are the primary fruit, but more will surely come out of hiding on Night Two. I hope you will join me to see if my prediction comes true.

Night Two

Floral aromas once again lead the nose on Night Two, but the additional time with some air brought out black fruit, more blackberry than blackcurrant, but both were there. The palate has more to offer than on Night One, but the overall impression is that this could use more time. Pencil lead, cassis, and tart plum skins are slowly wrapped in firm tannins as it moves from initial attack to mid-palate, where a hint of unsweetened chocolate makes a quick appearance. Acids and tannins are both pwoerful, but well-balanced. The finish is long.

This is pretty good but still young. The sense of it is that it is just waking up now, just starting to come out of a closed phase. It might well be much better in as little as a year or two. There is plenty of backbone, acid and tannins, to give it time to grow and knit together.

Is this an 89? No, perhaps not. To me an 89 is something that is technically perfect but just barely missing "that certain something," or having "that certain something" while also having an obvious but minor flaw. This wine is good, but not technically perfect. It also doesn't really have anything particularly special about it. It is certainly a more than competent wine, but it is not borderline great.

1 comment:

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