Home Reviews

Chateau Batailley 1997


Last night I was treated to a bottle of Chateau Batailley 1997 a Fifth Growth from Pauillac. The over-riding impression was of horsey brett, and though I looked hard for some redeeming qualities, in the end, there was too much of the wild character which the spoilage yeast imparts for me to really like the wine. Score: 14.5/20.

Visit CellarTracker!, the site which allows those participating to record their own tasting notes and interestingly nobody picks up on the brett (see here). On a Bordeaux classed growth, it’s part of “terroir” while on a South African wine, it would be a fault.


  1. Very interesting Christian. I had a “super second” a few weeks back and thought exactly the same thing. However, given the company I was in I didn’t have the temerity to mention it….for fear of being scorned! 

  2. I recently opened two bottles of the much simpler Lynch-Moussas from an equally unheralded year (2001) and they could have been two different wines. Unbearable brett in one and very little (giving it a rather interesting edge) in the other. They were bought from different sources and unfortunately I hadn’t marked them.

    I guess it comes down to provenance.

  3. Thank you, Dieter. Even now, some winemakers are under the impression that either you have brett or you don’t. How it became “general knowledge” that all bottles from the same batch should have identical levels of brett, is beyond me. Surely a multitude of little bacterial environments (bottles) are not that predictable over many years? Many winemakers, upon hearing someone found brett on an older wine, will draw a bottle from their library and test it. That might only help if that wine and vintage as a whole had a major brett problem – you need to analyze the faulty BOTTLE. I’ve had quite a few instances where one bottle of an older vintage had a slight brett problem, but another was clean. Or where one bottle showed just a touch of brett and another was undrinkable because of it.   


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here