This morning Chateau Batailley and Chateau Ormes de Pez have released. These herald from Pauillac and St. Estephe respectively, two appellations which excelled in 2017 and both will no doubt be considered two of the best value wines of the campaign, deriving from the epicentre of quality. Chateau Batailley has released this morning at £390 per 12 and £195 per case of six. In 2017, Batailley has been awarded 91-93 points from Lisa Perrotti-Brown of the Wine Advocate, who describes it as having ‘profound notes of crème de cassis, preserved plums and licorice over a core of espresso, tapenade and Marmite toast.’ James Suckling has awarded it 92-93, he calls it ‘classically structured young Pauillac with tannins that roll over the finish’. Neal Martin conferred 90-92 points and calls it ‘a fine follow-up to the 2015 and 2016 and it may well land at the top of my banded score.’
The 2017 is a very good Batailley, released at a 6% discount to the 2016’s current market price, although a 10% premium to the 2015 and 15% to the 2010. We expect this to score 92 or 93 from bottle, based on our tasting notes and those of the major critics and as such, a similar quality to the 2005, which trades at a 15% premium. Moreover, with its neighbour Haut Batailley, repositioned at the release price of £490, today’s release offers a 20% discount. It is a very fine Batailley, which offers its classical Pauillac power.
Chateau Batailley is the quintessential Grand Cru claret with all the necessary elements to make prodigious wine each year. It is located in the village of Pauillac, directly behind the leading Second Growths, Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron, which are in turn behind Chateau Latour. Batailley, therefore, rests on the gravel plateau which defines the great wines from this appellation. Superb terroir and exacting winemaking, under the guidance of the Casteja family, define this leading Fifth Growth, a wine popular across global markets and perennially well priced.
At the time of the 1855 classification of Bordeaux, Batailley was one of the well-known older Bordeaux estates. The property takes its name from a famous military battle, which took place during the Hundred Years’ War in 1452. In fact, the battle took place in the vineyards of Batailley, a strategic point upon the high plateau.
In 1971 the then owner Daniel Guestier of Baston, a famous Bordeaux merchant, bought plots adjacent to Lynch Bages and Grand Puy Lacoste, increasing the size of the Estate. In 1942 the Chateau was divided into two properties as we know them currently; Chateau Batailley and Chateau Haut Batailley, with the larger and best terroir going to Batailley.
Ormes de Pez has released for £230 per case of 12 or £115 per case of six, which marks a 8% discount to the 2016, which is similar in quality. It has been awarded 92-93 points from James Suckling, who calls it ‘Linear and driven.’ Neal Martin has awarded it 91-93 points, one less than in 2016 and vastly better than the 2015 which he awarded 88 points from bottle. This makes it the second best vintage in its history, which on the strength of St. Estepehe in 2017, comes as no surprise. Of it, Martin says ‘This will be delicious over the next couple of decades and I suspect it will be more approachable than the 2016. Don’t ignore this.’ We posited that Ormes de Pez 2016 would be one of the best buys of the 2016 campaign and we postulate the same for the 2017, they both have a magnificent Price Over Points score (POP) of 18. We view any Bordeaux Estate with a POP below 20 as must buys.
Ormes de Pez is one of the stand out Chateau in St. Estephe sited in the northern part of the village surrounding the hamlet of Pez. It was purchased by Jean-Charles Cazes in 1936 and today is owned by Jean-Michel Cazes, the owner of Lynch Bages. This historic Chateau dates back to 1792, when it was constructed after the sale and division of Chateau de Pez as a result of the French Revolution. It boasts stunning terroir and aspect, some of the best in the commune and the Cazes family have invested heavily in the Chateau and the vineyards. Ormes De Pez was classified as one of the 9 Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnels in 2003.
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