Château Haut-Bages Libéral 2000
• Domaine: Château Haut-Bages Libéral
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Fifth Growth, 5ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Haut-Bages Libéral is a Fifth Growth estate in Pauillac that produces powerful, concentrated wines largely due to their higher percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon. This property is currently owned by Claire Villars Lurton, who acquired Château Haut-Bages Libéral in 2007. Since Claire Lurton took over ownership of the estate, a lot of very exciting developments have taken place here, making it truly a unique property well worth keeping track of.
Château Haut-Bages Libéral receives a portion of its namesake from the well-established négociant family - the Libéral family - that owned the property during the 18th Century. The Libéral family saw the enormous potential of this small parcel of land and began cultivating vineyards here. Part of what makes this property unique is that Château Haut-Bages Libéral is situated on the hills of Bages between Saint Julién and Pauillac. This particular parcel of land has some of the highest elevated terroir in all of Pauillac, and vines of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot thrive in the limestone, chalk and clay soils here.
A century after the 1855 Classification, it was purchased by another négociant dynasty – the Cruse family. The Cruse family also owned the legendary property, Château Pontet-Canet at the time and wines from Château Haut-Bages Libéral were vinified at Château Pontet-Canet for several years. In the 1980s and 1990s, Château Haut-Bages Libéral belonged to the Taillan Group, a famous négociant that owned Château Gruaud Larose and Château Ferrier to name a few estates. Finally the property was acquired by Claire Villars-Lurton, the wife of Gonzague Lurton. Gonzague Lurton is the proud owner of the Second Growth property and cult wine producer, Château Durfort-Vivens.
The Lurtons bring their strong passion for biodynamic viticulture to Château Haut-Bages Libéral. This property’s 30-hectare estate is 100% biodynamically and organically farmed. For biodynamic farming, the viticultural team at Château Haut-Bages Libéral harvests according to the lunar calendar. The theory behind this practice is due to the fact that vines are made up of 80-95% water which makes them susceptible to the moon’s influence like that of the tides. In addition to harvesting according to the moon, the viticultural team at Château Haut-Bages Libéral also cares for the vines by making nettle teas to protect them from various funguses and pests.
The renowned Eric Boissenot, known as, “the secret weapon,” in Bordeaux consults here. Though he is a humble gentleman, he consults at some of the top estates in Bordeaux, such as Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Margaux. Château Haut-Bages Libéral also experiments with a small percentage of amphorae aging for some of their wines. This is an uncommon practice that is done over at Château Durfort-Vivens and yields a fresh, mineral-driven purity to the wine. The team at Château Haut-Bages Libéral is all about looking forward, and the property is presently undergoing an extensive renovation. At Château Haut-Bages Libéral, complacency is not an option. Given the recent critical acclaim, the results continue to prove that the discipline at this estate is bringing forth much praise.
"One of the best examples I have recently tasted from this estate, the saturated blue/purple Haut-Bages Liberal offers up notes of incense, licorice, pepper, and cassis. In the mouth, it is fat, juicy, with a certain succulence, low acidity, and ripe tannin. This may be the best wine produced by this estate in many a year. In spite of its precocious showing in my tastings, the wine actually needs 2-3 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2018." Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate (4/22/2003 Issue 146) Rating: 89, Drink: 2005-2018
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