During a merchant dinner. Medium garnet. Discrete nose of earthy tones with some herbs. On the palate this is very tame and flat as well missing lift. Quite earthy but tannins are soft, not much fruit left. Past peak, drink up.
I was disappointed on opening this. Dark colour but rather plain flavour, somewhat weedy, 'luncheon claret'. So I put it straight into the fridge. Glasses extracted from this over the next few days were vastly better. Delicious with a strong chèvre on baguette.
So I suspect that this is still improving in bottle. That said, I wouldn't risk keeping it for long.
The wine was decent, but probably past peak. Tannins are nicely integrated, fruit is modest, acids are firm, but this wine lacks the power of many Pauillac. This to me tastes like a second wine of a Grand Cru, not the flagship. A little disappointing, but I paid a fair price for the bottle so I"m OK with it.
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(Chateau Haut-Batailley Pauillac) From half bottles. This has a vibrant hue still, very attractive, dark but not advanced in its maturity. A complex nose is apparent, with little wisps of sweetly baked fruit, then burnt raspberry, later a violet perfume which is momentarily intoxicating. Behind it all, a seam of green peppercorn to which some - but not me - may have an adverse reaction. A lovely freshness follows on the palate which possesses a lean minerality behind some rounded fruit. It has good flesh and substance, and a good grip of charcoal-edged tannin. There is some acidity behind it all, beneath the leafy fruit and peppercorns again. A short finish. It drinks well, perhaps in a rather simple and foursquare fashion, but it has appeal.
(Chateau Haut-Batailley Pauillac) From a half bottle. A fairly deep colour although with no real evidence of maturity. An attractive nose, very cedary with some dusty black pepper notes. Nicely textured on entry, a little chalky through the midpalate, but with plenty of freshness and decent substance. Showing some very nice nuances of flavour in the floral-violet arena, with a little meaty bacon and mineral character too. The tannins are softening up, presenting no more than a gently drying finish; this is certainly approachable now (in this format), but is certainly on the way up and I'll keep the rest of mine a little longer yet.
(Château Haut-Batailley (Pauillac)) From a half bottle. A dark hue with some claretty maturity, but nothing advanced. The nose is rather firm and reticent still, speaking of a solid and withdrawn early maturity, ungiving rather than relaxed or perfumed. The aromas are dark and slightly intangible, mildly suggestive of soot, smoke and stone, and any nuances of flower or fruit spotted on previous tastings seem well hidden today. The palate has a full substance, with a nicely polished texture which does its best to cover the backbone of tannin lying beneath. There is certainly vigour here, a rather grumpy tannic backbone and firm acids too, and although the aromatics did not suggest it this time the texture is austere and biting, with a suggestion of a greenness to the fruit, and in the finish it is dry, tannic, mildly bitter (not necessarily a bad thing) and perhaps in this respect not quite so short as last time. I still think there is promise here, because there is vigour and structure on the palate, but it is a little hard going at times as well.
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