Photos Jean-Barnard Nadeau – Vidéo Arnaud Fleuri
Traduction Maxine Colas
Véronique Sanders is one of the rare women in Bordeaux who run a Château, while nothing predestined her to take over the family business : this is a childhood dream come true for her.
After two years of preparatory studies for the Grandes Ecoles (elite higher education institutes in France), Véronique Sanders studied economics and obtained her CELSA Masters degree at the Sorbonne University in Paris. She made her professional career début at Publicis-FCB in Paris, then in Prague. Having decided to perfect her knowledge about wine, she came back to Bordeaux in 1997 and took the DUAD diploma at the Oenology faculty.
After her grandfather, Jean Sanders, sold Château Haut-Bailly to Robert G.Wilmers, the latter offered Véronique the position of commercial director in 1998. She then became the estate manager in 2000. Véronique runs the château with a mind to continuing the family tradition but also with renewed dynamism thanks to the considerable investments made by its current owner.
Located a short distance from the city of Bordeaux, on a magnificent ‘croupe’ (hilltop) in Pessac-Léognan, Château Haut-Bailly is a great classified growth of the Graves Appellation. This graceful building looks out over 30 hectares of vines, which surround the property in one plot. The estate and its vineyard, dedicated to red wine only, go back more than four centuries. Its wines are archetypal of the classic red Graves style, with their voluptuous, silky tanins and sensual yet elegant fruit.
Extensive research on the history of Haut-Bailly has shown the long term historical presence of this vineyard, which dates back to the XIVth century. The Château’s reputation was etablished during the XIXth century, thanks to the will power and the energy of a legendary figure, Alcide Bellot des Minières. From 1955 onwards, the Sanders family worked to perfect the estate’s already prestigious image. This strategy, which is very demanding in terms of quality, is now continued by both Robert G. Wilmers, who purchased the estate in 1998 and Véronique Sanders, in her role as manager.
The vineyard is planted on a soil of mixed sand and gravels, with a subsoil made up of shelly sand, fossils and stones forming a real mosaic of ‘micro-terroirs’ – all of which is perfectly drained. The grape varieties planted are cabernet sauvignon (64%), merlot (30%) and cabernet franc (6%). The vineyard is also characterized by its exceptional century-old vines, which cover a quarter of its surface area.
The 2009 vintage – up there with the greatest years!
Robert Parker : 96-98+/100 – Jacques Dupont : 18/20 – La Revue du Vin de France : 18,5-19/20 – Wine Spectator : 95-98
Vino Magazine ‘s Hot Favorite : « freshness, ripe fruits, remarkable balance and elegance,the tannic structure is impressive but silky, aromas of cocoa. Probably the best Haut-Bailly ever tasted ‘en primeur’ (as a future). »
The English Version is by Maxine Colas