Chateau Haut Batailley Chateau Haut Batailley

1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley

By Chateau Haut-Batailley

The 1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley from Chateau Haut-Batailley, Pauillac, Bordeaux

In the historic lineage of Bordeaux vintages, there stands the stoic and admirable 1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley from Chateau Haut-Batailley. A benchmark year for Pauillac, this vintage encapsulates both the tenacity of its terroir and the precision of its vinification. As I revisit this superb creation, its evolution is nothing short of a captivating novel, with each chapter unfurling complex layers that beckon the connoisseur's keen senses.


Refinement and Complexity: The Pillars of 1996 Pauillac

The harvest of 1996 was characterised by its fortuitous symphony of climatic conditions where Pauillac vineyards flourished; a solid foundation for the wines' prodigious ageing potential. This particular vintage, now in its celebrated maturity, presents subtlety and structure in perfect concert – the hallmarks of fine wine investment pieces.


A Tapestry of Taste: Delving Into Depth

Upon decanting, the 1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley reveals a dignified bouquet: dark cherries interlaced with antique leather and a whispers of cassis that speak to the Cabernet Sauvignon blend's grace. On the palate, one can discern an orchestra of mature tannins playing harmoniously alongside notes of truffle and tobacco – echos of the generous continental climate that graced '96. Its finish is protracted and stately, an ode to the impeccable balance achieved by Chateau Haut-Batailley's winemaking prowess.

Investing in this liquid treasure promises not just dividends but a splendid journey through Pauillac's cherished annals. The 1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley is emblematic of its epoch and indeed one of the illustrious gems from this esteemed estate.

As investors navigate the intricate world of fine wines, few experiences compare to acquiring a piece so enriched in history. And as dealings in rare vintages continue to thrive, my reflections affirm that the 1996 Chateau Haut-Batailley remains one such exquisite acquisition—a testament to Pauillac's enduring legacy.

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Scores and tasting notes


The 1996 Haut Batailley has a modest bouquet with blackberry, cedar and briary scents, not the most complex you will find but it has an attractive purity, a subtle floral scent emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with a supple entry. There is agreeable tertiary black fruit here although I find it just needs more cohesion and backbone towards the finish that feels a little "loose limbed." Perhaps over 20 years it has become a little slack, although the length is commendable. I would drink this now and over the next decade. Tasted July 2016.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 28 October 2016

Vintage performance