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.
Consistently one of our favourite châteaux, Batailley produced a wine that is particularly sleek and elegant in 2005. This is a classic Batailley in every sense of the word and represents another huge leap forward for the property. Increasingly this feels like a Fifth Growth performing at the level of a Second or Third Growth. Everything is there in spades: body, texture and fruit concentration. Very ripe Cabernet Sauvignon dominates, with beautifully ripe tannins, cassis and a spicy edge.