A few words from Véronique Sanders, general manager at Château Haut-Bailly, on the 2019 vintage.
How would you define the 2019 growing season?
We can definitely say that 2019 was a year of extremes, with unprecedented weather and intense seasons. It was quite intense, we had to be very vigilant and carefully watch our vines. After an unusually cool period in May, spring ended with several successive heat waves and summer started with two intense days on 26 and 27 June. July was also extremely hot (especially during the week of 23 July) but fortunately, it ended with a providential storm on 26 July gifting us with 40 mm of rain. The difficult times we faced actually proved the resistance of the vines and their capacity to grow despite extreme conditions.
Can you please tell us about this year's blend?
Château Haut-Bailly 2019 is made of a relatively classic blend with a majority of Cabernet Sauvignon (56%), Merlot (36%) and, of course, the grapes coming from our century old vine parcel (a mix of six grapes varieties). The Merlots give to the wine its high sugar concentration while the Cabernets bring a naturally low acidity. The mix of both results in a perfect blend with phenolic richness.
Tannins play such a vital and defining role in the quality of Bordeaux red wines. How did you manage tannin extraction in 2019?
For several years, we have been looking for silky tannins thanks to soft extractions at lower temperatures. This year, we undertook a fermentation at an even lower temperature than usual (24°C) to preserve the perfect freshness and elegance of the fruit. The style of our wines is based on these fine tannins and pronounced aromatics.
What has been the reaction so far to the final blend?
One word: “WOW” and a big smile! Château Haut-Bailly 2019 offers balance, generosity as well as precision. It is a wine of style and depth, a wine of balance, power and purity.
How does 2019 compare to other vintages?
In its analytic composition, 2019 is quite similar to the 2009 vintage. The 2018 vintage tends to resemble the 2010 and 2016 while 2019 will rather be in line with the 2009 and 2015 vintages.
What are your hopes for the Château and Bordeaux in terms of global leadership?
I think that Bordeaux has always been pioneer and a leader in the wine industry. Despite the current context, I am sure the region will continue to innovate and, more than ever, reinvent itself to win the battle.
Here at Château Haut-Bailly, we’ve been working on the “Haut-Bailly of tomorrow” for years and we are already preparing it. We first undertook a lot of researches in the vineyard and the terroir. The next step started in 2018 with the construction of our new cellar, which will be completed in 2020. The challenging times we are facing will definitely change the way we work and sell our wines among the world. I am convinced that we will adapt to those changes and move on together to build a new world.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview