Château Batailley 1998
1998 was not a straightforward year on the Left Bank. Lauded on the Right Bank and in the Graves as one of the best vintages of the decade, people often overlook this vintage in the Médoc. Now almost seventeen years old, some of these wines are real gems. One such example we found recently was Château Batailley.
This modest Pauillac 5th growth estate has many admirers in the UK market. The Castéja family run a tidy ship, producing sturdy wines that age wonderfully. They may not be the most elegant or fashionable when young, but they seldom disappoint after a few years in the cellar. Our recent tasting was a very pleasant surprise, and at under £37.50 per bottle on the table, it’s hard not to warm to its charms.
Tasting note -
Aromas of cassis and cedar. This is still quite primary with floral hints and sweet hedgerow fruit. The palate is awash with plummy soft fruit and kirsch. It isn’t overly complex, but the flavours are really quite persistent and coat the palate. What is quite striking is how the tannins have been resolved. There are no hard edges or any hint of dryness; one is just left with ripe, polished tannins and swathes of decadent fruit. One to enjoy now and over the next five years.
About the vintage -
After a ‘drab’ July came a heatwave and drought of epic proportions in August. Vignerons were praying for a respite by September and thankfully temperatures dropped and some much needed rain arrived. Pomerol harvested in glorious conditions between the 15th and 27th of September, then the weather deteriorated quite spectacularly. The Médoc, still waiting for ripeness in their Cabernets, was hammered by rainfall. When tasted from barrel, the wines from the Médoc boasted impressive colours, borne from the grapes’ thick skins and the influence of modern technological practices. There was plenty of density, but over-all they lacked charm and possessed tannins that required resolution.