A soft, fleshy, up-front styled Pauillac that will provide delicious drinking over the next 10-15 years, the 2006 Haut-Bages Liberal is dark ruby/purple in color and exhibits notes of licorice, roasted herbs, black currants, and plums. It is a sexy, round, silky-textured wine that seems something of an "outlier" in this tannic vintage.
The 2006 Haut Bages Liberal has a gentle, but respectable bouquet with better fruit intensity than the 2006 Grand Puy Ducasse. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, pleasing weight in the mouth, a keen line of acidity with an attractive, saline finish that begs another sip. Probably not the most glamorous wine of the vintage, but this is a very good effort.
Beautiful nose of ripe blackberry and currant. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long finish. Very well done. Impressive.
Very dark crimson. Lift, even slight volatility, on the nose. Round, wonderful texture - what a lot of effort has gone into this. Fully ripe fruit. Quite distinguished. [Couldn’t help thinking this must be Pichon Longueville.] Super glossy - the opposite of rustic. Positively slides over the palate. Is there quite enough in the middle? It’s certainly very distinguished. Just slightly hollow in the middle. [Yet again, HBL shows especially well en primeur...]
Bright ruby-red. Cool aromas of medicinal cherry and smoke. Concentrated, sweet and firmly built, with good intensity to the flavors of dark berries, chocolate and minerals. Very Pauillac, but at the same time supple for the vintage. Finishes with ripe tannins and good balance and richness. This is less austere than the 2005. (My sample of the young 2007 seemed distinctly greener than this 2006 and rather dry.)
A potential sleeper of the vintage, the 2006 Haut-Bages-Liberal exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue, plenty of intense creme de cassis fruit, notions of roasted herbs, underbrush, and licorice, moderate tannins, oodles of sweet fruit, and a layered mouthfeel. It should drink well for 15+ years.
Tasted at the UGC. I have a soft spot for this Pauillac property, but I found the 2006 a little underwhelming. The nose is light with scents of blackberry, cherry and a lot of rather obtrusive new oak. The palate is toasty, lacking some definition and in need of more freshness. Instinct tells me that another bottle might have tasted better, but alas none was available. A bit muffled on the finish. Tasted April 2007.