Château Haut-Bailly: Alcide Bellot des Minières

I think it is safe to say that, of all the characters who have so far made an appearance in this story, it is Alcide Bellot des Minières (1828 – 1906) who had the greatest impact on the running of Château Haut-Bailly. Originally an engineer, the reasons for Bellot des Minières turning to viticulture are not clear. It is possible that his brother, personal secretary to Cardinal Bonnet, Archbishop of Bordeaux, who probably first spotted that the estate was for sale, encouraged him in his purchase. Nevertheless, Bellot des Minières grasped the nettle firmly, reorganising and expanding the vineyards first, and then moving on to build the château, which still stands to this day.

Château Haut-Bailly

The wine’s reputation soared, and prices soon matched those of a deuxième cru from further north; flushed with success Bellot des Minières described his wine to all as a Premier Grand Cru Exceptionnel, and the term Cru Exceptionnel can still be found on the Château Haut-Bailly label as recently as the 1985 vintage, only disappearing in 1986.

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