Learn everything about Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Pauillac, Fifth Growth with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all the best vintages, a history of the property, information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal History, Overview
One of the few Bordeaux chateaux with three words in their name. Chateau Haut Bages Liberal came across its unusual moniker for very simple reasons. The property is situated on the hills of Bages, a tiny area between Pauillac and St. Julien. Liberal is the name of the family that owned the chateau during the 18th century.
From there you get Haut Bages Liberal, one of the few chateau in the Medoc, with a 3 word name. The Liberal family were well-known in Bordeaux, as not only were they chateau owners in the Left Bank, but they were also well-established Bordeaux negociants.
In 1960, the Cruse family, another family dynasty that still owns numerous Bordeaux chateaux owned managed the estate. The Cruse family deserve credit for increasing the size of the estate and for replanting much of the vineyard. At the time, the Cruse family also owned Chateau Pontet Canet, which is important, because that is where Haut Bages Liberal was also made for several years.
In 1983, they sold Chateau Haut Bages Liberal to the Taillan group. The Taillan group owns several chateaux in Bordeaux including: Chateau Gruaud Larose in Saint Julien, Chateau Ferrier in Margaux, Chateau Chasse Spleen, Chateau Camensac, Chateau Gressier Grand Poujeaux and Chateau Citran in the Haut Medoc and Chateau Broustet in Sauternes.
In 2000, the new owners, the Taillan group, renovated and modernized their wine making facilities in Pauillac. Today Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is run by Claire Villars-Lurton. Claire Villars-Lurton is also the manager in charge of Chateau Ferriere and Chateau La Gurgue in Margaux and Chateau Domeye in St. Estephe.
As the member of a true wine family, Claire Villars-Lurton is the wife of Gonzague Lurton, the owner of Chateau Durfort Vivens located in the Margaux appellation. Claire Villars-Lurton and Gonzague Lurton are now making wine from Bordeaux varietals in Sonoma California at their Trinite Estates vineyard.
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 30 hectare vineyard of Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. This shows a marked decrease in Cabernet Sauvignon and an increase in Merlot over the years. The Petit Verdot vines have been removed.
The vineyard is widely dispersed in the appellation, as they have parcels located in several different sites in Pauillac, with their best terroir being situated on one of the better elevations in the entire Pauillac appellation. They have vines not far from Chateau Latour in St. Lambert, as well as parcels on the plateau of Bages.
They also have vines planted close to Pichon Baron. The terroir consists of gravel on chalk, clay and limestone soils. Their best vines are placed close to Chateau Latour. The vines are placed in a myriad of terroirs, with varying exposures, types, and quality of terroir, making it harder to produce a top quality wine in some vintages.
The average age of the vines are close to 35 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 10,000 vines per hectare. Currently, the vineyards are farmed using self sustaining techniques.
However, like many Classified growths in the Medoc, Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is experimenting with biodynamic farming techniques in part of their vineyard as close to 50% of their vines are farmed with an emphasis on biodynamic farming.
The wine of Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is vinified in 32 temperature controlled that are divided as follows, 16 stainless steel tanks and 16 cements vats. The fermentation vats range in size from as small as 47 hectoliters, all the way up to 170 hectoliters.
Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank and vat. The wine of Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is aged in 40% new, French oak barrels for between 14 to 18 months, depending on the character of vintage.
The Best Vintages of Chateau Haut Bages Liberal are: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2005, 2000, 1986 and 1982.
The production of Haut Bages Liberal averages close to 10,000 cases of Bordeaux wine per year. There is a second wine, or perhaps I should say there are 3 second wines, as their second wine is sold under 3 different names, La Chapelle de Bages, La Fleur de Haut-Bages Liberal and Le Pauillac de Haut-Bages Liberal.
When to Drink Chateau Haut Bages Liberal, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal needs some time in the cellar to show its best. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 2-3 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is usually better with at least 6-10 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Haut Bages Liberal offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-20 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Haut Bages Liberal with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.
Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Haut Bages Liberal is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.
Château Haut-Bages Libéral Wine Tasting Notes
14 Vintages 74,725 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2016||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Lead pencil, cigar box, cedar and cassis give this a correct Pauillac profile. Medium bodied with polish to the tannins and round fruits in the finish, I really like the wine this year. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.
3,481 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Medium/full-bodied with a crisp, overly bright, red berry character, the wine mixes, cranberry and cassis, with leaf, olive, herbs, earth and tobacco. This is on the crisp and crunchy side of the red fruit range.
1,955 Views Tasted Mar 12, 2018
- Medium/full-bodied with a crunchy, red berry, earth and tobacco profile, this wine will be appreciated by fans of a more classic Pauillac production. 88 - 90 Pts
1,975 Views Tasted Apr 18, 2016
|2014||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Bright, fresh, classically styled Pauillac, with a crisp, blackberry, dark red fruit character, with ample tobacco and cedar scents. Medium bodied, and slightly dusty in the red berry finish.
3,640 Views Tasted Feb 1, 2017
Licorice, black cherry, spice and oak, this wine is tannic, yet refined with a bright, piquant cassis finish. 88-90
2,564 Views Tasted Apr 14, 2015
|2013||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
With a dusty, leafy nose, the wine is lean, herbal and focused on cranberry and cassis. 83-85 Pts
2,408 Views Tasted Apr 20, 2014
|2012||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
From a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, the medium bodied, red fruit dominated wine ends with a crisp, bright, dusty finish.
2,550 Views Tasted Mar 11, 2015
|2011||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Earth, cedar, black pepper and cassis, the wine is medium bodied, ending with bright kirsch flavors. 88- 90 Pts
4,139 Views Tasted Apr 10, 2012
|2010||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Value and classified growths do not always go together, but they are paired in this wine. With ample cassis, blackberry, earth and hints of tobacco, the wine has some depth, body, freshness and fine tannins. From a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Merlot, give it a few hours of air, or 5-7 years before it opens and starts to show.
3,501 Views Tasted Mar 18, 2014
|2009||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
From a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Merlot, notes of tobacco, cassis, earth and leafy scents emerge. Medium bodied, with a hint of old school rusticity in the mid palate, the wine ends with a cassis filled finish.
7,968 Views Tasted Apr 5, 2012
|2008||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Light, bright and tight, the fruit is crisp, crunchy and on the way to acidic. With a strong lean to the sharp, red berry, cranberry side, I liked the nose better with its cedar and tobacco edge. Time in the cellar will help, but don't expect miracles. The wine was made from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.
3,309 Views Tasted Dec 17, 2017
|2006||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Value priced Pauillac that is developing nicely. The nose, with its cigar box, earth, tobacco, herb and cassis profile is a charmer. Medium bodied, firm, fresh and already starting to be fun to drink, give this another 4-6 years and it should be even better.
3,291 Views Tasted Oct 29, 2016
Medium bodied, tannic, slightly firm, but starting to open, it's not hard to find the cassis, earth and tobacco nose. There is a dusty quality to the texture in the herb, earth and black cherry finish.
3,344 Views Tasted Nov 1, 2015
|2005||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
The nose pops with cassis, tobacco and cedar chest notes. With an hour of air, the tannins soften and the cassis and leafy, green olive laden finish comes though nicely. The wine is correct, but finishes short. This classically, firm styled wine is still quite young and should be better with another 5 years in the bottle.
3,915 Views Tasted Feb 6, 2015
Bright cassis, cedar wood, tobacco and cranberry opens to a medium/full bodied tannic wine that is bordering on the lean side. The tannins were harder than I last recalled. This is not fun to drink at the moment. It might improve with another 5-10 more years of bottle age.
6,923 Views Tasted Nov 17, 2012
Cedar, spice, cassis, licorice. black raspberry and tobacco aromas open the wine. With a medium/full body, this correctly made Pauillac needs another year or two to come around.
9,936 Views Tasted Oct 1, 2011
|2004||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Quite a surprise. This well-priced charmer serves up ripe cassis and black cherries with a medium bodied, refined, elegant, Pauillac character.
2,455 Views Tasted Jan 4, 2015
|2000||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Just starting to drink well, this is a solid example of a classic Left Bank Bordeaux. Here you find crisp, bright, red fruits, some strictness in the tannins and all the cedar, forest leaf, cigar box, peppery herbs and both, sweet with tart, red fruits. This should offer pleasure for another 15-20 years.
1,781 Views Tasted Dec 3, 2018
|1996||Château Haut-Bages Libéral (Pauillac)|
Perhaps I do not taste enough of this classic Pauillac. I really liked the ripe cassis, smoke, tobacco and ripe black cherry, earthy nose. Rich, round and tasty, this value priced Pauillac wine is showing nicely.
5,590 Views Tasted May 8, 2014