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Pichon Longueville (Baron), Cos Labory and Batailley: all Châteaux’ and all from 85’

1985 was one of the big big years in Bordeaux. I was only 6 years old at the time, but I’m sure of it! Well, “officially”, opinions are a little diverging: some sources say it is an excellent vintage, other source just say it was finally better than announced in 85’. But what really counts in the end is our opinion ;-).We had 3 Grand Cru’s from the Médoc Area, 2 Pauillac’s and one St-Estephe (but adjacent to Pauillac, Chateau Cos Labory is jut 500 meters away from Lafite-Rothschild). Thus we can say it was a Pauillac-centered tasting of the ’85 vintage.
We started with the Baron Pichon-Longueville 1985 since a source said it would be the least best of the three. The Chateau which has a long lasting rivalry with its neighbour Pichon-Longueville-Comtesse-de-Lalande (the two are 2nd Grand Crus; a good description of Pichon-Baron can be found here) delivered very inconsistent qualities until the AXA insurance group bought it in 1987 and modernized it. Unfortunately our bottle was from the pre-modernization time so we tried to rely on the quality of the vintage to surprise us positively… But fate didn’t want us to unveil anything since our bottle was… corked! Nevertheless we tried to sniff behind the cork and believed the nose was rather not complex. On the palate the cork-taste wasn’t so strong and we had a rather simple balanced wine without much fruit. Tannins were soft but very astringent on the back of our tongues; not so impressive… But on the other hand I tried the same wine before (here, in German) and came to a much better conclusion. I guess you just shouldn’t try to judge a corked wine!
Our second wine was the 1985 Chateau Cos Labory from St-Estephe, a 5eme Grand Cru Classé. It had a very vivid red colour, which made the wine appear young. Its nose was dominated by blackcurrant and very fruity in an elegant way. On the palate it was again fruity and balanced, but lacked a bit of depth: it was hard to identify any secondary aroma. Here again it was astringent on the back of the palate which was a little conflictive with our first impression of a very balanced wine. All in all this wine had exactly what one would expect from a fair, well matured bottle of Bordeaux.
Our third wine was judged best by our sources. It was the 1985 Chateau Batailley from Pauillac, again a 5ème Grand Cru Classé. It is located on the Southern end of the Pauillac appellation not far from St-Julien’s appellation border. It had a beautiful colour and a nice powerful nose of blackcurrant and various other berries. On the palate it was splendid; it simply had more body, more depth than the other 2 wines. It was fruity and liquorice and an ink or tar-like tone appeared as secondary aroma. Finally, it had a great length where the flavours echoed on and on for a long time; truly a nice bottle (The Winedoctor has a small note on this wine too, here).
So thank you Oskar for the nice Bordeaux supply, next time it’s our turn!

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