From the Goyanèche to Firmin Le Bailly : the early days
Careful research in the archives of Château Haut-Bailly reveals the ancient origins of this estate.
Already, in 1461, vines were cultivated on this land which at the time was known as « Pujau » (« small height » in Gascon) to emphasize the topography of its exceptional terroir. The foundations of the modern vineyard, however, came from the 1530s, under the leadership of the Goyanèche family and then the Daitze family. These wealthy Basque merchants began buying up prime plots of land. A ‘bourdieu’ (the old name for a wine château in Bordeaux) was soon created.
Following his death, Gaillard Daitze’s heirs took over and continued to manage the estate until it was sold in 1630 to Firmin Le Bailly and Nicolas de Leuvarde. Both men were bankers in Paris as well as great admirers of Graves wines. Recognising the potential of the land, they invested significant funds and built a manor house. Firmin even gave his name to the property.
After his death in 1655, the estate was handed down from heir to heir for almost a century. In 1736, the running of the estate was assigned to Thomas Barton, of Irish origin, head of a major trading company specialising in fine wines. Benefiting from a huge amount of business relations in England and Ireland the wines of Château Haut-Bailly started to be greatly appreciated by the "New French claret" fans.
From Lafaurie de Monbadon to Alcide Bellot des Minières, « King of Vintners»
In the 18th century, Château Haut-Bailly was acquired and devotedly managed by two well-known local politicians: Christophe de Lafaurie, Baron de Monbadon and a member of the Bordeaux Parliament, and his son, Laurent, who was elected Mayor of Bordeaux in 1805. Soon after, he became a senator with responsibilities lying outside of Bordeaux and was therefore forced to sell Haut-Bailly in 1813.
In 1872, Alcide Bellot des Minières, following the Archbishop of Bordeaux’s advice, bought the property and built the château as it is known today. Alcide was a man of prodigious energy, who was fascinated by science and driven by new viticultural techniques. After making a fortune in the U.S.A. by opening up new transatlantic maritime routes, Alcide, an outstanding entrepreneur threw his heart and soul into wine. Thanks to his energy and enthusiasm along with rigorous application of precise scientific detail, Haut-Bailly reached the same price-levels as the first-growths: Lafite, Latour, Margaux and Haut-Brion, and continued to command such prices until the 1940s... His many scientific contributions made him a legend and earned him the nickname "King of Vintners.”
Sanders' family : a turning point for Haut-Bailly in the 2nd World War’s aftermath
Following the death of Alcide Bellot des Minières, Haut-Bailly experienced a period of instability, with frequently changing ownership: Frantz Malvezin, a geographer by training, author of a number of books and editor of L'Oenophile in 1918, the Earl of Lahens and Paul Beaumartin in 1923, Georges Boutemy, originally from northern France whose career was in industrial textiles, in 1940. But the prestigious reputation of its wines had not changed and Haut-Bailly was therefore naturally made one of the "Cru Classé de Graves" in 1953.
In 1955, Château Haut-Bailly was bought by Daniel Sanders, a Belgian wine merchant from Barsac (Gironde). His arrival marked a crucial turning point for the property. Convinced of the estate's potential, he soon undertook significant works. The vineyard was recomposed and the winery and the house renovated. In 1979 his son Jean took over the management of the vineyard and continued to improve the quality and reputation of the wine by putting a focus on selection. His imprint and style have long marked the estate.