Tasted at the chateau, the 1996 Haut Bailly is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc. It has an attractive bouquet with blackcurrant pastilles, briary, a touch of gravel and dried orange peel. As I commented a few years ago, this is a 1996 that is not as immediate as others, but seems to find its voice with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a soy-tinged opening. This is well balanced and quite rounded in the mouth, quite masculine and perhaps having dispensed with some of the freshness and vitality that it showed in numerous tastings in the previous decade. There is a noticeable salinity here, lending it a marine-like finish with black olive on the aftertaste: a highly enjoyable Haut-Bailly, perchance one soon to reach the end of its plateau? Whatever -- I like where this is at now. Tasted July 2016. Oct 2016, www.robertparker.com
Shows wonderful berry, tobacco and vanilla character, is full- to medium-bodied, with velvety tannins and a mineral, spice aftertaste. Next to Haut-Brion, this is the wine from Pessac. Best after 2002. 10,000 cases made. James Suckling, Wine Spectator 1999.
Haut-Bailly's 1996 displays less charm than usual, but it does offer moderately intense red currant/cherry fruit combined with earth, smoke, and new oak. An elegant, medium-bodied wine with dry tannin in the finish, it will never be a heavyweight, but it possesses considerable personality and potential complexity. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2015.|| Wine Advocate.April, 1999