Barrel room at Haut Bailly
Perenially trailing behind both Left and Right Banks in popularity for Bordeaux customers, the Pessac Leognan growing area has been experiencing a resurgence as of late and many insiders believe the 2015 vintage is a proof of that.
Chateaux Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion, both properties belonging to the descendants of Clarence Dillon, once Ambassador of the USA to France, are sure bets to be in everybody’s top ten every year, but now estates like Smith Haut Lafitte, Pape Clement, Haut Bailly, Branon and quite a few others are distinguishing themselves with outstanding reds. In white production, look for Malartic La Graviere, Domaine de Chevalier, Chateaux Smith Haut Lafitte and Haut Bergey to produce majestic, fresh wines.
2015 was an extremely successful vintage in Pessac Leognan. While extreme summer heat was worrisome, the water table ( high because of heavier rainfalls in the 2 previous years ) was quite sufficcient to relieve the water-starved vines. The dry summer also stopped vegetative growth , allowing for maximum ripeness.
At Smith Haut Lafitte, the wine is dark with ripe fruit and exudes aromas of spices, cedar, licorice, and violet. This 63% Cabernet, 33% Merlot and 2% each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc blend is oustanding and the Cathiard family is celebrating that new harvest, their 25th with a new bottling..looking forward to having that in my stash!
At Domaine de Chevalier, the production is somewhat small due to tiny berries with thick skin. However, the Domain is quite pleased as the gravelly soils have brought about freshness and the acidity in the wine is quite magnificent. Varietal blend is 65% Cabernet, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot.