I think of Château Haut-Bages Libéral as an affordable and reliable entry level grand cru classé from Pauillac that is a good buy in the strong Bordeaux vintages, and worth a shot in the weaker ones. 2005 is of course an outstanding Bordeaux vintage, but sometimes you just want to open something interesting, even at risk of it being too soon or even a little extravagant because, well, life is too short.
The wine showed particularly well. But it is still a baby. Château Haut-Bages Liberal's website (link below) is actually pretty good on facts, revealing this to be a blend of 71% cabernet sauvignon and 29% merlot from vines with an average age of 35 years and that saw 16 months in 40% new oak. On this tasting, I would suggest it would benefit from cellaring for a further decade. My tasting note is classic Pauillac. Blackcurrant and cedar aromatics, with a structured palate covering similar ground and towards long length. This is easy to recommend.
Rating: Very Good
Vendors and website: http://www.hautbagesliberal.com