Pessac Leognan is an AC recently created (1987) sitting within the Graves region of Bordeaux. It claims to have similar soils to the Medoc i.e. gravel over sand and, as such, produces wines of a similar style. The wine we tried was La Parde de Haut Bailly 2004, the second wine of Chateau Haut Bailly and one of the earliest examples of the now-popular ‘second wine’ model. The ’04 blend is 50% Cab. Sav, 30% Merlot with 20% Cab. Franc. The ABV is 12.5%. I tasted it blind.
The colour was very deep red, almost black, an intense block of colour refracting no light whatsoever which made me think, initially, of a southern French red. Richard quickly disavowed me of that. The ripe nose had a slightly rustic quality but plum and wood dominated the aromas. R. thought he detected a spirity nuance.
The palate was wood and menthol with a tannin structure and the ripeness continued into plums and even prunes. There was some heat to it, suggesting this wine still had a while to go. It was a wine big in flavours, belying its 12.5% ABV and certainly no ‘lunchtime claret’; I think it will continue to improve and gather more leanness over the next five years. Very enjoyable.
[Richard: purchased in 2011 from the WS for now seems to be a bargain £24, part of a ‘Communing With Claret case’. Daft name in my view and there wasn’t much communing going on last Sunday. The wine was good but not a religious experience. Geoff actually guessed claret first off and then had second thoughts. To me the ‘cigar box’ nose was faint but unmistakable. Easy when you’ve seen the label. Very enjoyable drink, with some years to go (WS said drink by 2015) although Angie preferred a (much lighter) 2015 Beaujolais Villages. One bottle left from the case – a Réserve de la Comtesse, 2004 – which should be even better.]