Médoc Cru Classés 2010: Panel Tasting
Château Haut-Batailley, Pauillac 5CC
Decanter average score: 18.75/20pts (95+/100pts)
Individual judges’ scores: Stephen Brook 18.5 Michael Schuster 18.5 Steven Spurrier 19
François-Xavier Borie heads up both Grand-Puy-Lacoste (see overleaf) and Haut-Batailley, so two Outstanding ratings are a clear endorsement of his work. The estate is owned by Françoise de Brest-Borie, François-Xavier’s aunt, but he has run it since 2003. This is a great-value wine, and one that flies under the radar. So what made the difference here? Eric Boissenot is consultant (as he is for four out of five of these Outstanding wines) and there is a new head of research and development, Christelle Spinner, who works across both GPL and Haut-Batailley. But she didn’t arrive until the 2012 vintage, so can’t be given credit here. We could look to Emeline Borie, François-Xavier’s eldest daughter, who is a trained oenologist, or simply the progress of a man who, since 2006, has made gradual investments in new vats, new processes for sorting, and more precise temperature control.
Stephen Brook The nose is rather dominated by new oak, but it doesn’t lack background fruit. A weighty wine with great concentration and density and, while far from elegant, does have freshness and persistence. Excellent length.
Michael Schuster Closed but cedary, minerally nose. Rich, concentrated, vital wine with firm tannin. Deep, sweet-fruit core, long and complex to taste, long and aromatic to finish; a very fine long-term Pauillac.
Steven Spurrier Wonderfully elegant expression of Pauillac Cabernet – just pure, refined fruit reserved for the future. Sophisticated elegance for a great future.
Price: £34–£52 Widely available at leading Bordeaux merchants