Today we are delighted to release the latest vintage of Querciabella’s stunning and iconic white wine Batar. The 2014 vintage in Tuscany saw a cool spring, followed by a period of high temperatures, which caused an early bud break and plentiful fruit set. Late June and in particular July and August experienced the cool weather. A mild and dry September and October turned what would have been a difficult red vintage into an unexpectedly good vintage. A combination of the cool weather and a dry finish to the vintage resulted in idyllic conditions for the white wines of the region. As such, the 2014 vintage of Batar has received its joint highest ever score with 93 points, surpassing last year’s superb effort and matching the 2011. The 93 scoring 2011 already trades at £380 per case of six, if you can even find a case! We can offer 6x75cl cases for £245 in bond and magnums for £90, both in their own wooden casing.
Querciabella’s Batar has a magical story and above all else is one of a kind. It is often described as the ‘white Sassicaia’ and is renowned for being one of Italy’s truly world class white wines. Querciabella’s Super Tuscan red, Camartina, is their flagship, however it was Batar which made them famous and is still their most sought after wine that everybody wants.
Its story began in the 1970s with Giuseppe Castiglioni, one of Italy’s largest wine collectors and successful industrialists. Forming part of the Super Tuscan vanguard, he decided to create an Estate that represents elegance over any other feature, a synthesis of Burgundy, his favourite winemaking region, and Tuscany. He purchased some of the most elevated vineyards in the Chianti region and employed master consultant Giacomo Tachis, also responsible for Tignanello and Solaia. The Estate occupies a prime locality in the municipalities of Greve, Panzano, Radda and Gaiole and the 74 hectare Estate is surrounded by natural forests. They then set to work, cultivating the best vineyards and replanting many. One in particular found on the hilltop of Ruffoli Greve in Chianti gave birth to something special.
It is well documented that wines such as Sassicaia created Bordeaux Blends with a Tuscan theme. The aforementioned vineyard in turn, was planted with Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc, grown on two soil types: sandstone at 350 meters above sea level and marly schist and slate at 600, with a south, south-east and south-west exposure. From the start it was made as a white Burgundy, with complete malolactic fermentation, followed by nine months ageing in the same fine French oak barrel, where bâtonnage is carried out weekly. The blend today is 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Blanc.
When the first vintage was shown to Giuseppe Castiglioni, he immediately declared it as the best wine they had ever made and it was given the Name Batard-Pinot in hommage to white Burgundy. In 1992, they dropped the Pinot, becoming Batard. The wine quickly became considered a contender as Italy’s finest white, eventually finding its way to the lips of the French Ambassador. This set into motion a chain of events with the French government threatening legal action. That meant in 1995 the name was changed to Batar.
Since then Batar has risen to be considered one of the best white wines in the world. It is a national treasure and has an extremely strong market worldwide, especially in Japan and Eastern Europe, where it is considered one of the leading luxury drinks on the market. However, Querciabella have failed to create the same magical formula on any other vineyard and production remains minuscule at 15,000 bottles, which equates to 1,250 cases per year. As a result, demand outstrips supply and the price rises quickly.
It truly is the jewel in the crown of Tuscan white winemaking and easily mistakable for a leading white Burgundy. It has an intense floral note of acacia, alongside melon and honey, balanced oak, smoke and toast. The palate is creamy, full bodied and round, with rich texture, superb tension and sweet spice. It is a remarkable triumph and a must have wine for any collection. It is a fusion of Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne Montrachet and Tuscany.
Querciabella Batar 2014, 6×75, £245 IB – 93 Points, James Suckling
A white with mineral and dried lemon character. Melon undertones. Medium to full body. Layered fruit and phenolic texture. Complex. Made from biodynamically grown grapes. Drink now
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