Tradition & modernity
Handpicking is still de rigueur at Haut-Bailly and the greatest care is taken to select only the best grapes. These are subjected to the strictest sorting controls, first in the vineyard, next in the winery before being de-stemmed, and finally on a vibrating table following de-stemming.
Vinification takes place in a fermentation room containing 26 thermo-regulated cement tanks of different sizes (ranging from 30 to 120 hectolitres). These specially adapted vats ensure that grapes grown in different parts of the vineyard are kept separate from the time they are picked until the vinification is complete.
The wine-making process takes place in cement tanks, whereas the blending is done in stainless steel tanks – a good example of how tradition and modernity go hand in hand at Haut-Bailly.
Alcoholic fermentation lasts eight to ten days and is followed by maceration. This process lasts about three weeks during which time the wine is never overheated – this is when we strive to achieve a perfectly balanced wine.
Ageing & guidance
After the wine is drained from the tanks leaving behind the skins and pips, malolactic fermentation takes place in barrels. The blending only takes place after a number of tastings, 3 to 4 months after the grapes are picked. Only the very best plots will be used for the first wine, “Château Haut-Bailly”.
The young wine is stored in oak barrels and left to age in the cellars for sixteen months. Each year, a large number of barrels are replaced – the exact proportion varies according to the vintage. For instance, in 1987, Château Haut-Bailly aged in 33% of new oak barrels while it rose to 65% in 1990. More recently, 60% of new barrels were used in 2004, 63% in 2005 and 55% in 2008. Three cellars have been built to accommodate the ageing process.
For more than forty years, from 1956 to 1990, Professor Emile Peynaud was the consultant-oenologist at Haut-Bailly. In 1990, Professor Pascal Ribereau-Gayon took over. Professor Denis Dubourdieu joined in 1998 & brought his expertise to Haut-Bailly. Under his guidance a research study was carried out to establish balance between terroir, grape variety and graft stock for each plot of land. In 2004, Jean Delmas also became a member of our consulting team.