2012 Château Batailley - The Gold Standard
In recent vintages, Château Batailley has transformed itself from the somewhat foursquare wine of yesteryear to a much more exciting, complex, voluptuous expression of the Pauillac commune. Despite this transformation, the Casteja family, who own this Fifth Growth Château, has resisted the temptation to ramp the price up, unlike many of their neighbours. As a result Batailley’s name has become synonymous with quality and value – an increasingly rare combination in today’s Bordeaux marketplace.
The 2012 vintage in Bordeaux produced some excellent wines for drinking. The perception of the vintage is that it is not quite ready to drink yet. However, that is not something that can be laid at Batailley’s door – on the contrary, this wine “…has an opulence and richness that is rare for a Médoc in 2012”, according to Robert Parker (who gave it 92 points).
As is the case in most vintages, Batailley punches above its weight in 2012. In blind tastings it regularly performs well against the more expensive names of Pauillac. Jancis Robinson MW had the same experience, specifically with the 2012, giving it 17.5 points: “Big and bold and makes a splash. I might have guessed a Pichon if they participated in the UGC blind tasting…”. High praise indeed, as both Pichons are over twice the price of Batailley in 2012.
The 2007 vintage of Batailley was our go-to classed growth Pauillac for a long time – a wine ideal for drinking now and a firm restaurant favourite. However, all good things come to an end and we now have just a few cases left. The 2012 is a worthy successor to the 2007. It is also ready to drink, delicious now and arguably even better. This is, in the words of Robert Parker, “a strong effort from Batailley” from a “chateau that is capable of producing great wine.”
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Château Batailley 2012
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“From the famous château estate of the Castéja family, the 2012 Batailley is a very strong effort. This is a big-time sleeper of the vintage. A dense purple wine with loads of crème de cassis, blueberry notes, background forest floor and cedar, this is a strong effort from Batailley and may well usher in a new era for this fifth-growth chateau that is capable of producing great wine. The tannins are sweet and the wine has an opulence and richness that is rare for a Médoc in 2012. Drink it over the next 25 years. Drink: 2015 - 2040.”
“Bright purple in colour, this has an intense nose of blueberry fruit, violets, sweet vanilla and undertones of smoked meat. The palate is wonderfully juicy, with oodles of blue and black fruit bursting through the mid-palate. Sweet vanilla and roasted coffee bean support the fruit, with the tannins fine and integrated, making for a wine that can be approached now but will equally age well. The finish is one of pure cassis and light smoke; supple, round and moreish.”
“Blackish purple. Unusually savoury - meat-extract notes. Interesting! Then sweet and voluptuous on the palate. Very different structure to the St-Juliens. Big and bold and makes a splash. I might have guessed a Pichon if they participated in the UGC blind tasting… Just cuts off a little suddenly on the finish.”