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How to Visit Chateau Haut-Bailly, Grand Cru Classe of Graves

Looking for the most beautiful wineries to visit near Bordeaux? The state-of-the-art Chateau Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Leognan is open for visits and tastings.

Château Haut-Bailly is a winery in the Pessac-Léognan appellation of the Bordeaux wine region on the Left Bank of the Garonne river.  

This prestigious chateau is ranked among the Crus Classés in the Classification of Graves for its red wine.

Recently, Chateau Haut-Bailly has built a new state-of-the-art fermentation room and a barrel cellar and became one of the architectural hot spots of Bordeaux.  

I came to discover Chateau Haut-Bailly during harvest in September when they used their brand-new winery for the first time.

History of Chateau Haut-Bailly

Vines are known to be cultivated on the present-day plots of Chateau Haut-Bailly as early as 1461. 

In 1630, the estate was purchased by Parisian bankers Firmin Le Bailly and Nicolas de Leuvarde.  The chateau took its name after one of them, Firmin Le Bailly who later took over the ownership and invested in the development of the winery.

Since 1736, Thomas Barton of Irish descent owned the chateau.  Thanks to his efforts,  the wines of Château Haut-Bailly, then known as French claret, became famous in England and Ireland.

Alcide Bellot des Minières, another important figure in the history of Chateau Haut-Bailly built the castle on the property at the end of the 19th century.  He also pioneered with introduction of science-driven changes to viticulture.  As a result, Chateau Haut-Bailly wines received wide recognition and were able to command prices as high as the First Growths of Bordeaux – Lafite, Latour, Margaux, and Haut-Brion.

in 1953, Château Haut-Bailly was listed as a Cru Classé de Graves.

Daniel Sanders, a Belgian negociant who acquired the estate in distress in 1955 renovated the winery and redesigned the vineyard further improving the reputation of Chateau Haut-Bailly.

In 1998, Robert G. Wilmers, an American banker from Buffalo, NY, purchased the chateau and appointed Véronique Sanders, a daughter of the former owner, to run the winery.

The masterpiece winery

The new state-of-the-art winery has been constructed over the period of 5 years and was completed in 2020.

Created by the architectural bureau of Daniel Romeo, the new cellar has an asymmetrical dome roof covered with vegetation which blends perfectly into landscape.  It reminded me of the rooftop garden of the iconic Chateau Cheval Blanc.

The structure allows for sunlight to enter the vat room and the air to circulate inside the building providing a cooling effect.  

 

During harvest, freshly-picked grapes are sorted by hand and in the optical sorting machine and then lifted and loaded into the futuristic conical shape concrete vats.

The barrel cellar is designed to be right below the vat room, so the wine can be easily be moved after fermentation to the lower level without the use of pumps.

The new tasting room at Chateau Haut-Bailly is the most impressive.  Here, one feels the true connection between vineyards, surrounding nature, and wine in a glass.

This video shows the construction process of the fabulous building.

What kind of wines are made by Chateau Haut-Bailly?

The vineyard of Chateau Haut-Bailly is a single 30-hectare (73 acres) plot planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. 

Since the vineyard of Chateau Haut-Bailly is one of the highest on the left bank of the Garonne, it benefits from excellent efficient drainage. The warm sandy and gravelly soils are perfectly suited to the ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon.

Our guide showed us the parcel of the Old Vines that are more than 100 years old.

Interestingly, these plantings are mixed, so it is exciting to see the differences between different grapes varieties grown side by side.

 

Chateau Haut-Bailly produces two red wines:

Château Haut-Bailly, Grand Cru Classe has distinctive complex aromas.  The wine is soft, yet well-structured.  The first wine of Chateau Haut-Bailly is often called one of the most elegant in the world.  It is highly regarded by many wine critics who consistently rate it with 95+ points.  The Grand Vin blend is usually made of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Franc

Haut-Baily II, prior to 2018 known as La Parde Haut-Bailly in 2018 is extremely fresh and aromatic, flavourful with medium-body and long finish.  Haut-Baily II is produced from the same plots as Château Haut-Bailly. The blend is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Is Chateau Haut-Bailly open for visits and tastings?

Château Haut-Bailly is open for visits and tastings Monday through Friday by advance appointment. The chateau proposes several types of visits starting from 25 euro per person.  A simple tasting is also an option.  

It is highly recommended to book your visit in advance.

Château Haut-Bailly tour invites visitors to discover its terroir, its winemaking process. 

Some of the offered tours also take you inside the 19th-century chateau with classic interiors.  

What a beautiful place for lunch or dinner prepared by the chateau Chef!  After a winery visit, you will be offered an aperitif with Champagne and a four-course menu paired with 3 wines of the chateau.

How to get to Chateau Haut-Bailly?

Chateau Haut-Bailly is located several miles south of the city of Bordeaux, in the commune of Léognan.  

Address: 48 Rue de la Liberté, 33850 Léognan, France

Atlas Bordeaux organizes transportation and private tastings at Chateau Haut-Bailly and other top wineries of Pessac-Leognan.

Which are the best vintages of Chateau Haut-Bailly?

The best vintages of Chateau Haut Bailly are 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005.

Recently bottled 2019 and 2020 are also expected to be excellent vintages. 

2021 will be the first vintage made in the new winemaking facilities. I will look out for that one.

Where to buy wines of Chateau Haut-Bailly?

You can buy wines of Chateau Haut-Bailly at the winery after your tour and tasting.  The chateau will ship wines to your home address. 

You can also purchase Chateau Haut-Bailly wines online through the Bordeaux wine merchant in the US, Millesima USA.

RELATED:

Where to Buy Wine in Bordeaux?

Where to stay near Chateau Haut-Bailly in Pessac-Leognan?

Chateau Haut-Bailly runs a beautiful bed-and-breakfast at the neighbouring Chateau Le Pape.

The building is a former winery, located in the middle of beautiful Pessac-Leognan wine country. 

Constructed in 1805,  it has been recently renovated with taste and elegance. 

The secluded gardens of Château Le Pape were designed by landscape artist Camille Muller.  You can relax in the gardens, on a shaded terrace or in the heated outdoor swimming pool overlooking the vines.

Choose among double rooms “Camille”, “Robert”, “Juliette”, “Christopher” or in the suite “Guillaume & Charlotte”.

Guestrooms overlook garden and vineyards.  

Common areas include a spacious dining room where you can enjoy special meals prepared by the castle chef Jean-Charles Poinsot.  

I think tasting Château Haut-Bailly wines paired with local cuisine in the 19th century could be a great addition to your wine tour experience.  You can book this with the chateau for groups of 4 to 15 people.

There is no full-service restaurant at the property, so I recommend booking this stay if you have a car so that you can drive to local restaurants for meals.

Other ideas for winery stays in the Pessac-Leognan wine country near Chateau Haut-Bailly are:

Les Sources de Caudalie

Chateau de Leognan

Chateau Pont-Saint-Martin

Chateau Pape Clement

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Where to dine near Chateau Haut-Bailly?

There are several restaurants in the towns of Leognan and Martillac. 

Here are my suggestions of restaurants at top local winreries.

 

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Polina

Polina

A sommelier and a wine tour guide in Bordeaux, France, I travel Europe, collecting the best wineries to visit, best places to stay and eat.

I organize Bordeaux wine tours.

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