Country: France Region: Bordeaux (Pauillac)
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Merlot 17%, Petit Verdot 3%
Vintage: 2016 Colour: Red Style: Dry
Producer: Chateau Haut Bages Liberal
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is one of the least known Pauillac estates but produces exemplary clarets at extremely competitive prices. Since 1983 it has been owned by the Taillan Group who also own Chasse-Spleen and Clos d'Estournel. It was run during the 80s and early 90s by Bernadette Villars and, since her death, has been run by her daughter, Claire.
The 29-hectare property is superbly sited in the south of the Pauillac appellation between Chateau Latour and the 2 Pichons. The vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon, 80%, Merlot 17%, Petit Verdot 3%) lie on deep gravel beds over limestone. The wines are matured in oak barriques (40% new) for 16-18 months. Since Claire Villars has been at the helm, the wines have become deeper in colour and more concentrated, with notable depth of fruit. It is classified as a 5eme Cru Classe.
Tasting Note:95 points Vinous
Outer quote mark The 2016 Haut-Bages Libéral has turned out beautifully. Rose petals, lavender and sweet red cherry are some of the notes that grace this fine, translucent Pauillac. Medium in body and precise, with exquisite finesse and nuance, the 2016 is incredibly expressive today. This is a fabulous showing from proprietor Claire Villars Lurton. (AG) Inner quote mark (1/2019)
94-95 points James Suckling
Outer quote mark Very chewy and long already with ripe tannins and plenty of fruit suggesting tobacco and blackcurrant character. Long finish. From biodynamic grapes. Inner quote mark (4/2017)
91-94 points Wine Spectator
Outer quote mark Seriously focused, with a bolt of graphite coursing through, while waves of fig, blackberry and black currant fruit follow along. Offers a long, sleek, mineral-driven finish. A strong showing. (JM, Web Only-2017) Inner quote mark
93 points Wine Enthusiast
Outer quote mark Rich tannins, generous black fruits and an opulent character mark out this wine. Under the same winemaking team as Ferrière and La Gurgue in Margaux, this exceptional wine comes from an estate that is now biodynamic. Drink this wine from 2025. (RV) Inner quote mark (5/2019)
90-92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Outer quote mark The 2016 Haut Bages Liberal has a very focused and much more sumptuous bouquet than in previous years, thankfully without dispensing any of its character. It just seems more confident on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, pretty blackberry and boysenberry fruit laced with a touch of oyster shell, sashaying towards a quite elegant finish with admirable depth. You would not describe this as a potentially exciting Pauillac, but I suspect it will be delicious once in bottle. (NM) Inner quote mark (4/2017)