Château Haut-Batailley is a Fifth Growth located in Pauillac. In 2017, Château Haut-Batailley was acquired by the legendary Cazes family, owners of the ubiquitous and second-to-none estate, Château Lynch Bages. Before Château Haut-Batailley was acquired by the Cazes family it was skillfully managed by Francois Borie of the Borie family, famous owners of the “Super Second,” jewel of Saint Julien, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. Quality has been steadily on the rise since the mid 2000s and scores typically hover in the low 90s. Yet despite the accolades, pricing for this Pauillac gem remains some of the most affordable within the expensively priced Pauillac appellation. For wine connoisseurs who search for excellent producers that overdeliver in terms of value, look no further than Château Haut-Batailley.
It would be impossible to discuss the history of this estate without touching on the story of the mother domain, Château Batailley. Château Batailley was one of the older properties in the Médoc and a working winery in the 1400s. The potential of the heavily graveled, sandy soil over clay terroir was readily apparent to the early vignerons during the Middle Ages. It received its name from a legendary battle during the Hundred Year’s War that took place upon the grounds, when the French managed to reclaim one of the neighboring estates, the famous First Growth Château Latour. Château Batailley was aptly named after the battle that took place there and functioned as a working winery for centuries until eventually being ranked as a Fifth Growth property during the 1855 Classification. It wasn’t until the 20th Century when Francois Xavier Borie, the owner of the famous Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste, acquired the estate and portioned off a smaller section of Château Batailley, thus creating Château Haut-Batailley.
Château Haut-Batailley is very much a family run business, and still is despite the fact that it was recently acquired by the Cazes family. The Cazes family has implemented a series of changes to the property and started by painting Château Haut-Batailley a rather shocking shade of bright, candy-colored pink. In addition to giving the property a much-needed facelift, the Cazes family also cultivated an additional 18 hectares of vines as of 2020. The Cazes family is adding more plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon to their other plantings of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
The wines at Château Haut-Batailley are stylistically very traditional examples of classic Pauillac terroir. Vinification is typically done in stainless steel tanks and the process of malolactic fermentation occurs in the stainless steel. During malolactic fermentation, the tart malic acid of the grape skins is converted to softer, more velvety lactic acid, giving these wines a velvety smoothness and supple luxurious drinkability. The wines at Château Haut-Batailley share the versatility of the grand vin from Château Batailley in the sense that they age well yet are able to be enjoyed on the younger side with a few hours of decanting. They also pair beautifully with Asian cuisine due to the spiciness that is signature to the terroir of the Batailley estate.