Château Batailley 2014
• Domaine: Château Batailley
• Appellation: Pauillac
• Classification: Fifth Growth, 5ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
Château Batailley is a perfect example of Pauillac terroir. This Fifth Growth estate is one of the longest-lived properties in the entire Médoc and produces traditionally styled, rustic, and bold colored wines. Château Batailley also happens to be one of the few classified properties to have no Second Wine. No matter, however, as its grand vin shapes up just fine. Critics like Robert Parker Jr consider Château Batailley to be an estate that is tremendously undervalued. For savvy buyers looking to experience a classic example of Pauillac that doesn’t break the bank, look no further than Château Batailley.
Château Batailley received its name from a famous military battle that took place on the grounds in 1452 during the Hundred Year War. During this battle, the French managed to recapture Château Latour from the English. This estate was named Château Batailley to honor the great victory after. Château Batailley already had a reputation of being a well-known wine estate since well before the 18th Century. In the 1700s, the Saint-Martin family owned Château Batailley and ended up selling their portion of the estate to Jean Guillaume Pecholier.
A few decades before it would be classified as a Fifth Growth in 1855, the property was sold to Daniel Guestier of Barton and Guestier, the famous négociant that owns estates such as the legendary Château Léoville Barton. Daniel Guestier renovated Château Batailley and the estate had a very good reputation in the mid 1800s. Eventually, in 1932, the property was purchased by the Borie family who made wine at the estate until it was split in half, giving birth to Château Haut-Batailley. Francois Borie kept Château Haut-Batailley and his son, Marcel, owned Château Batailley. Eventually Marcel Borie transferred the property over to his daughter Denise and her husband, the well-known Emile Castéja of the Castéja family. If the Castéja name is familiar, it’s probably because of the other properties they own - Château Trotte Vielle and Château Lynch-Moussas.
In 2006, Château Batailley modernized their winemaking facilities and vat rooms. The 60-hectare vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The vines are 40 years old on average, and the viticultural team is experimenting with biodynamic farming in a small 5-hectare parcel. Their vineyards are located closer to the Southern end of Pauillac, with the more traditional graveled and clay soils.
Château Batailley stands out from a lot of wines from Pauillac. Many of these top estates produce wines that are extremely powerful and require a significant amount of time to lay down before being enjoyed. Château Batailley produces a sturdy wine that can handle significant cellaring yet can be enjoyed on the younger side with just a few hours of decanting. These wines have versatility and are able to pair well with Asian cuisine in addition to more typical meat dishes. There is something to be said about the flexibility of this wine, and with its fair pricing Château Batailley is definitely an estate that buyers should take note of.
"The 2014 Batailley has an attractive bouquet, lilting scents of redcurrant and raspberry coulis, quite floral and very precise. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, good depth and body, rounded for Batailley and less austere than usual. It feels closed towards the finish, tight-lipped, but there is certainly grip and presence here. It will require several years in bottle before it can show its true potential, but there is a sense of class to this Batailley that I suspect will become more evident with maturity. Tasted twice with consistent notes." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (3/31/2017, Interim Issue), Ratings: 91+, Drink: 2022-2045
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