Ch. Batailley is a fifth classified growth (Classification of 1855) located on the plateau of Pauillac near Ch. Grand Puy Lacoste and Ch. Haut Batailley (which until 1942 was part of Ch. Batailley). For me, Batailley is the reference point not just for Pauillac but also for Cabernet-based cru classé wine from throughout the Haut Medoc. Here you have the classic situation – Cabernet Sauvignon dominating with parts of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot (no need for Malbec or Carmenere) growing on deep, well-drained gravel mixed with gray sand – which produces great fruit. And a non-interventionist, anti-manipulation winemaking team that gets after the job of translating that fruit into the bottle without layering on a big winemaking load to get in the way of the taste of the fruit and the place. While 2013 has a reputation as a “difficult vintage,” this elegant balanced fresh wine is priced right and quite drinkable now. If you like a claret style of Bordeaux (as I do), it is more than worth a try.
Ch. BATAILLEY, Pauillac, 2013 ($37.99)
A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks using pump-overs and aged 16 months in all French oak barrels (55% new). Purple color with well formed legs; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and medium phenolics. Offers red and some black fruit with gravelly-dusty terroir and accents of pencil shavings, tobacco leaf, black flowers. Quite a long finish. Lovely, earlier drinking, mid-weight Pauillac. What used to be known as a “fine luncheon claret.” BearScore: 91+.