According to historical records, the Château Batailley owes its name to a battle (in French bataille) held near this castle around 1452. It was a battle of historical importance because, on that occasion, the French troops managed to get back the nearby Château Latour and, from that point, began to set the stage, in the famous Hundred Years’ War, for the expulsion of English troops, after 300 years of domination, from Aquitaine. Viticulture at Château Batailley is also a rather old business, as official documentation shows the presence of vineyards as early as 1500.
To speak of high quality, however, we need to make a time jump and get to 1816, when a part of the estate was taken over by an important maison of négociant in Bordeaux, the Barton and Guestier, in the figure of Daniel Guestier. Daniel’s work led to the expansion of the vineyards, the modernization of the castle and the improvement of the winemaking facilities; all operations that raised the level of this wine and made it be included, as Cinquième Grand Cru Classé, in the famous Classification of the merchants of Bordeaux of 1855. Since then this Château has changed hands several times and has been divided into two properties, the Batailley and the Haut Batailley, of which the largest (the Batailley) is, since 1932, owned by the Borie family.
The current extension of the vineyards is 60 hectares, planted at high density (8000 vines per hectare) with cabernet sauvignon (70%), merlot (25%), cabernet franc (3%) and petit verdot (2%), divided into four main lots, for a total of 60 different parcels, a part of which has begun to use, for about ten years, biodynamic farming techniques. After harvesting, with a first selection in plant, the grapes are completely destemmed and then vinified in 60 thermoregulated stainless steel tanks (one for each parcel), where malolactic fermentation also takes place. Finally, the wine is aged for about 16-18 months in French oak barrels, 60% new, in the old chai of 1840, before bottling and marketing.
The 2016 vintage, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (85%), Merlot (12%) and Petit Verdot (3%) has an extremely concentrated, impenetrable ruby color, with a range of aromas that start with a red fruit halfway between cooked plum, crunchy durone cherry and cranberry, combined with roasted coffee, graphite and goudron, with a side of pot pourri, 70% dark chocolate, Virginia tobacco, and echoes of humus and vinyl. The taste develops from a first perception of softness and from incredibly deep and elegant tannins, with just a whispered hint of sweetness to which are added just enough sapidity and acidity to balance the sip, while, by retro-olfactory way, return chocolate, vinyl and red fruit that remain until a closure of exceptional length.
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