The name Batailley boasts a long and proud history. The vineyard sits on a plateau to the west of Mouton Rothschild and is planted in the classic Pauillac wine appellation proportions with Cabernet Sauvignon the dominant varietal. The name is said to derive from a "bataille" fought 600 years ago between the French and the English on the same spot as the present property. Château Batailley is owned by Denise and Emile Castèja of the famous negociants, Borie-Manoux and it is their son Philippe who now runs the business. The 55 hectares of vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 70%, Merlot 25%, Cabernet Franc 3%, Petit Verdot 2%) undulate on a deep gravel bed, underpinned by a clay & limestone subsoil. Vinification is fairly standard, with hand-harvested grapes fully de-stemmed before fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Malolactic fermentation takes place partly in tank, partly in barrel, and the wine is then aged in 225-litre barriques, 60% new, for about 16 months before bottling. For years Batailley enjoyed a reputation as a solid, reliable , well-priced Pauillac, well –liked by the British, but rarely achieving the heights of finesse and complexity of some of the other Pauillac classed Growths. Over the last 15 years or so, however, there appears to have been a subtle change and we have noted a much greater emphasis on the quality of the fruit. The result has been wines of decidedly more finesse, but still true to their Pauillac roots. Château Batailley is classified as a 5ème Cru Classé and is one of the best value wines in Pauillac.
Ten years on, Bordeaux’s 2010s are looking to have fully matched, and perhaps exceeded, expectations. It’s clear that this is one of the great vintages of recent times, with its persuasive mix of intense flavour and freshness. And flavour is what this Batailley delivers.
Its colour is deep and brooding, which is a little misleading as both the bouquet and palate are replete with notes of leather and tobacco, themselves signals of maturity. Yet the wine is still compact and energetic. The wine’s attraction lies in its rich weave of lush fruit and ripe tannins, and its crowd-pleasing generosity is unparalleled. It is drinking perfectly now but never underestimate Batailley’s staying power; this easily has at least another 10 years in the tank, should you wish.