Let Batailley commence…
Author: Tom Cave
Our host, the ever congenial Frédéric Castéja, did us proud on a recent visit to Ch. Batailley. There follows a brief note on each of the six vintages which we tasted from bottle before lunch, followed by five which were served blind during the meal (to our affable host’s entertainment):
2013 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
No sign of over-extraction, and a good sense of cool, even minty, fruit and depth. It doesn’t fall away like some 2013s, and shows poise and elegance – a wholesome and pleasing 2013, and one with a future. (2016-2024)
2008 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Very fine with a good balance to it, all in harmony, pleasingly Pauillac and gently so. Could start now, happily, and it will develop to 2020+.
2007 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
More obvious style and not as harmonious as the ’08; but plenty of fruit and pure, fresh flavours – an ideal Claret for now and a good few years to come.
2001 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Now into its early maturity – just as it “should be”. Soft tannins, some real depth of flavour yet still juicy – absolutely ready to go but fine to hold a few years.
1995 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Very rounded – this is, of course, fully mature and showing some of those vaguely orange notes you can acquire from mature claret. Holding up and I’d not keep a great deal longer – except perhaps in a larger format.
1990 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Unsurprisingly, older again on the nose but there’s a classier feel to it – orange and spicy hints too – the strength of the vintage showing here, ripe and very lovely. Even some freshness remains – but I’d drink soon as simply so good now.
2003 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Surprisingly crisp and the colour gave no indication of ’03 (a hot vintage and one I am wary of). Fruit and colour stronger and cooler than expected. I’d still drink sooner than later but, nevertheless, impressive.
1985 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Really exquisite, very complete, pure, rounded, aged Pauillac. Has to be just past its peak and sliding into a gentle yet noble decline.
1982 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Again very complete but with the extra depth and firmness afforded by a great vintage – notably very fine, and got better and better each time I returned to it.
1975 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Fading a little and drying now, gently port-like hints; this was a vintage that took years to come round and most bottles got drunk during the long wait. A little dusty but holding on – have to be impressed, and in this company.
1959 Ch. Batailley, Pauillac
Very special, a great vintage and from a totally different era – and a few years older than all of us enjoying it today. Still very much alive and distantly kicking – a triumph. It’s made it thus far; I can’t see it fading for a decade.
Our thanks to Frédéric for such a memorable visit and convivial lunch. As a team, with one or two stellar exceptions, we did woefully on the blind tasting – but it didn’t matter a jot: we were so in awe of the occasion and the wines. And who would have thought classic Pauillac would show so well even with the freshest white asparagus?