2017 marks the first vintage for Jean-Charles Cazes and the Lynch Bages team since acquiring this lovely property from their neighbours the Bories. The 2017 reflects the Cazes family style. With a dark density to the colour, this is a beautiful reflection of high class Pauillac fruit, with masses of black cherry flavours. It balances a chunky intensity with sweetness of flavour. Ripe and succulent with a refreshing lift on the finish providing length and character.
The 2017 Haut Batailley, which is matured in 60% new oak for 18 months, is clearly more sophisticated than the second wine, polished by the oak of course but underneath its intense blackberry and boysenberry fruit, quite floral with touches of violet and iris. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, well-integrated oak and very smooth polished finish that glides across the mouth. There is fine precision on the finish. Tasted twice with consistent notes. 2020 - 2032
This is very structured and serious. Full-bodied, tannic and powerful. Boom. This is one of the best Haut-Batailleys in years. From the new owners, who also own Lynch-Bages.
The 2017 Haut-Batailley is a hugely promising wine. Sumptuous and expressive in the glass, with gorgeous layers of fruit that unfold effortlessly, the 2017 has quite a bit to offer. Silky tannins add an air of sensuality to a core of dark fruit, lavender, leather and spice notes. Tasted next to the bottled 2016, the 2017 speaks with an effortless refinement. The oak is especially well judged for a young wine. The Cazes family is putting a serious amount of investment behind their newest acquisition. Among other things, an ambitious replanting program is underway. Jean-Charles Cazes told me yields were generous in 2017, which is quite unusual for the year.
The first year under the Cazes family, and we can expect big changes over the next few years with an extensive replanting programme planned. But for now, let's look at 2017, where production has been split 33% second wine and 66% grand vin, with no frost to hamper them. It's rich and deep, with a sense of forward motion and flexible tannins pushing the cassis fruit from start to finish, joined by focussed and lively brambled fruits and gentle cedar smoking. The austerity is clear, and it's a little lighter-framed than the Lynch Bages, and very different in personality, but it has real promise and I like it enormously. Expect a new label with the Tour d'Aspic tower and the JM Cazes family name. 60% new oak. Drinking Window 2025 - 2036
Château Haut-Batailley was bought by Jean-Charles Cazes of Ch Lynch Bages in 2017 from François-Xavier Borie. It has one of the highest vine densities in Bordeaux at 10,000 vines per hectare, and holds a superb location, neighbouring Chx Lynch Bages, Latour and Pichon Lalande.
Due south of St Estèphe lies the appellation of Pauillac, the king of Left Bank communes. It is home to three first growths as well as a plethora of other classified growths. Pauillac's renowned well-draining, gravelly soils enable its dominant grape Cabernet Sauvignon to reach fantastic heights of complexity and concentration. As a result, Pauilac's wines tend to be full-bodied with compact tannins and good freshness. Its aromatics are often what one associates with classic Bordeaux: pencil shavings, black currant and occasional mint. Some of the most famous châteaux of the commune are Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild, Pichon Baron, Pichon Lalande and Lynch Bages.