This popular and consistent fifth growth from Pauillac is always good value for money. It is normally a little more rustic than some of its grander neighbours, but it offers lots of chewy, juicy extract and gives lots of pleasure after 5-10 years’ cellaring. In fact the 2015 Batailley is much more refined than normal, perhaps in part due to the introduction of a second wine, Les Lions de Batailley. Notes of violets, mocha, toast and crème de mûre. There is a creaminess to the fruit here, with plenty of damsons and cassis and some well-constructed gravelly tannins. Still good honest Pauillac with a splash of class.
Chateau Batailley is a firm favourite of the British Claret drinker and proof that we brits don't hold grudges... Deriving its name from 'bataille', the vineyards are on the site of a French victory over the English in 1452 (during the Hundred Years War).
The estate was famously split by François and Marcel Borie in 1942. Francois, who had recently purchased Ducru Beaucaillou took control of the smaller portion and renamed his share 'Haut Batailley'. This still remains in the family and is managed with great success by Xavier Borie. Marcel, who kept the Chateau and the larger share of Batailley, passed the estate to his daughter Denise who was married to Emile Castéja of the negociants Borie Manoux. Since 2001 their son, Philippe has run the estate and his son Frédéric will one day also take up the reins.
Lying just to the West of Chateau Latour, the 57 hectares are planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot on deep gravel croupes. Batailley is never the most stylish Pauillac, but its reputation for consistent quality and good value makes it one of the most popular wines in the UK market.
The Cabernet Sauvignon domanates the appellation, in fact some might justifiably call Pauillac the most classical expression there is of Cabernet based Claret. It is sandwiched between St-Julien to the south and St-Estèphe to the north, a stone’s throw from the Gironde Estuary. The excellent drainage of the intensely gravely soils are the key to quality, producing some of the world’s most long-lived wines. The First Growths of Latour, Lafite and Mouton-Rothschild are found here, while other great Châteaux include Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande, Pontet Canet, Lynch-Bages and Grand-Puy-Lacoste.