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.
A UNIQUE TERROIR
Château Haut-Bailly has a unique terroir and it is this which gives its wine such remarkable character and elegance. Terroir encompasses topography – where a vineyard is situated – but also climate – sun, heat, rain, wind, humidity – and the soil in which the vines are grown.
Just a stone's throw away from the city of Bordeaux, Château Haut-Bailly, one of the most prestigious Cru Classé de Graves, sits majestically in a 30 hectare (74 acres) vineyard at the heart of the Graves region on the left bank of the river Garonne.
If great wine results from a harmonious relationship between man, the vine, and nature, the most subtle of these three elements is the soil. Positioned on a high ridge of land excellent for drainage, the soil is sandy and mixed with gravel, sitting on a layer of sandstone petrified with the remains of prehistoric fossil shells. All this contributes to the special character in Haut-Bailly wines.