Chateau Batailley 2006
Deep ruby; tight rim. Intense nose of black fruit, violets, sweet vanilla, roasted coffee, and undertones of leather and smoked meat. The taste is lighter and fresher than the nose, so there are fresh cassis and plum juicy, other blue and black fruit bursting through the mid-palate, followed by tones of chocolate, textured tannins, and coffee beans.
Approachable now but will age for some years, the tannins are sweet, and the wine has weight, density, opulence and richness that is rare for a Médoc in 2006. Grand Vin is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot designed for some complexities.
2006 is a good and ripe vintage with certain rigidities. Parket et al. say the drinking window is from 2019 - 2040; James Suckling writes the optimum time to crack a bottle was from 2019 to 2030. So, there are lots of mileage.
Chateau Batailley is one of the oldest estates in the Médoc. The name derived from the battle ("Bataille") - where the chateau and vineyard are today - during the 100-year war in 1452. In this battle, the French re-conquered the neighbouring Chateau Latour from the English, a crucial point in the history of Aquitaine.
Does it matter who won the battle? Knighted by Napolean III as the 5th Growth of 1855, Chateau Batailley may not have the elegance of the British Chateau Latour from the First Growth. But it is now very well made, keeps improving, and has been well-liked by the drinkers, novice and seasoned alike with its high cost-performance. Chateau Batailley is never the most stylish Pauillac, but its reputation for consistent quality and good value makes it one of the most famous wines in the Hong Kong market.
Reflecting the quest for quality, scores are consistent, such as RP91, who comments, "The 2006 Château Batailley has much more fruit intensity than Lynch Moussas: vibrant blackberry, raspberry coulis and cedar scents all vying for attention, the oak neatly assimilated. The palate is medium-bodied with supple ripe red berry fruit, a gentle grip in the mouth and a pleasing, ferrous finish. Give this another three years+ in the bottle, and you will have a very fine Batailley." Edited.