Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal 2016

Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal 2016

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( regular price: $53.99 )
As with many Bordeaux properties, the name comes from both the owners and location. In this case it happens to be 3 words. Bages is the plateau between the town of Pauillac and the Saint Julien appellation. Liberal was the family name of the owners during the 18th century. The Liberal family were also wine brokers and the use of their name on the bottle signified their commitment to quality. The history of the estate was very uneventful until 1960 when the Cruse family purchased the estate. They increased the size of the vineyards as well as began replanting parts of it. A dozen years later, Jacques Merlaut acquired the Chateau along with 5 other estates. Claire Villars took over the Chateau in 2000 after the death of her parents. She is still in control of 4 of the Family Bordeaux estates.
Haut Bages Liberal is planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. Some of their vineyards are located very near to Chateau Latour and another one is next to Chateau Pichon Baron. Their 3rd vineyard is close to Chateau Grand Puy Lacoste. The winery farms all the grapes biodynamically.
Wine Spectator: 92
This is a sleek, almost brisk-styled Pauillac, with bright iron and chalk notes flanking a core of red currant, cherry and violet flavors. Persistent and defined, just frankly taut in style, so be prepared. Best from 2024 through 2038. 10,000 cases made.
Wine Advocate: 90
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.
Decanter: 92
What a lovely run of Pauillacs in this vintage; hefty, deep, not subtle at this early stage, with chewy tannins, and long lives ahead. Not charming wines, but powerful. At Haut-Bages Libéral they're undergoing conversion to organic and biodynamic. They harvested right through until 19 October in 2016, and here the rich damson fruit and tannins are enrobed by oak, with some heat on the finish. Matured in 40% new oak. Eric Boissenot consults. Drinking Window 2024 - 2038.
Wine Enthusiast: 93
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.
Vinous: 95
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.
James Suckling: 94
Very chewy and long already with ripe tannins and plenty of fruit suggesting tobacco and blackcurrant character. Long finish. From biodynamic grapes.