Château Haut-Bailly Retrospective, 2010

The Bordeaux primeurs make for a hectic few days of travelling, tasting and scribbling, dashing from one appointment to the next, grabbing the soundbite of the day from proprietor or winemaker as you do so. Those who have the means and the time can string it out to a week or maybe even two, allowing them to ponder languidly each wine and interview each winemaker before putting their notes and carefully considered scores down for all, no doubt neatly calligraphed, quill in one hand, parchment in the other. But the reality for the majority of the journalists and the wine trade who swoop on Bordeaux to taste the wines is a rather more hurried affair. Certainly there is no time for a lazy lunch, and mid-day sustenance is often a sandwich taken en route from one appointment to the next, or occasionally a hastily scoffed plate at one of the UGC tastings.

Château Haut-Bailly

What a treat then on my final day in Bordeaux to pass a couple of hours at Château Haut-Bailly, in the company of winemaker Gabriel Vialard. It was a dreary day, the grey and mist-heavy sky overhead punctuated only by the occasional shower of rain, the trees in the distance gradually disappearing behind a shadowy grey veil. This seemed par for the course within the context of the 2009 primeurs, a tasting week which had seen the weather swing from warm sunshine to blustering gales, the flooded Garonne bursting its banks at one point. The welcome here was warm though, and Vialard first led me upstairs to the tasting room above the cellars for tasting number one, looking at the recent vintages.

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