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Pauillac drinking dates

Hi, can I ask a question to those that know their Left Bankers a bit? I know there’s talk in current threads about Margaux and Haut Medoc, but it’s about Pauillac. In the last few months I’ve bought three of each of Ulysse 2011, Ulysse 2015 & Batailley 2012, the first two of course from TWS and the last, thanks to Leah, at Costco, which was not far off a tenner a bottle cheaper. I know comparatively little about Bordeaux in general, though I do know that I don’t like harsher tannins and prefer something a lot smoother. I had a really delicious Pauillac at a friend’s last year, rather ethereal, very smooth and silky, (which is why I bought the 9 bottles), though it came to the table in a decanter and, annoyingly, I didn’t pay enough attention to remembering the maker or the vintage.

Given the above, including that there are only 3 of each and in the case of the Batailleys they cost mid £30’s, which to me makes them a bit special, I don’t want to drink the first of them too soon. The Society’s window seems to start quite young (as it does for a fair few reds?), plus other friends brought a Ulysse ’15 to supper earlier this year and I asked did they really want to open it? We did so and to me it was SO not ready: very pleasant of course, but it seemed a bit of a waste.

TWS windows for these wines are:
Batailley ’12: Now to 2028
Ulysse ’11: 2019 to 2028
Ulysse ’15: 2020 to 2029 (I disagree with the start date, of course!)

I also don’t want to wait forever to try the first of each of these, so wonder what (or when) anyone thinks constitutes ‘early middle age’ for these wines, i.e. with the harshness of youth gone. Something tells me that for good vintages at these sort of prices, it would be about right to wait for 10 years . . . .
Many thanks,
Chris

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“Sunday, the management has requested, as she usually does, ‘a decent claret’ to go with our Sainsbury’s spatch-cocked chicken roast, so it’ll be Château Batailley 2012 (France).”

You might have to wait for Peter to report on how the 2012 Batailley went at the weekend. The 2012s are drinking quite well now but 2011 more variable - some ready, some not.

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I should have said that it can be found here. On 29th March by peterm.

Weekend drinking thread - 27-29th March 2020. What’s keeping us going through lockdown?

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In general I’m finding 2012 to be a little more forward than 2011, although I have no experience of the Batailley in either vintage.

I’ve had the Ulysse 2011 twice so far.

In late 2015 it was, according to my notes, a “tannic beast” and “way too young but utterly convincing” and with, I felt, enough fruit to stand up to the structure.

In early 2019 I had another bottle and it had a lovely, intense Pauillac-y nose, but still very densely structured on the palate; I felt in my notes that it hadn’t shifted much and that I ought to wait at least another three or four years before opening another (I’ve got two left).

No idea about the 2015, except that if I had a single bottle of it, I’d wait a very long time before opening it…! :wine_glass:

If you haven’t seen it already, there’s a thread discussing the Ulysse Pauillac and it might be worth a look:

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This was my experience from some 6 months ago:

Sep '19

With 3 of us we tried these two Pauillacs. Not a fair contest as they were from 2011 and 2015. The 2015 was nice and may improve after keeping it longer, but the 2011 won hands down and was wonderful. The 2015 Legende is currently on offer at Waitrose .

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The 2015 Legende is currently on offer at [Waitrose](https://www.waitrosecellar.com/red-wine-offers/lafite-legende-pauillac_

Marked as ‘out of stock’ online!

Apologies for being unclear. My text was from last September.

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I tasted the 2012 Batailley alongside the 2011 and a few other vintages earlier in the year with my quick notes here: Weekend drinking 14-16 February 2020

In summary, I felt that the 2012 could use a little more time, and it will likely be better than the 2011. I am fortunate to have 6 in reserves, and will likely withdraw them sometime between 2022 and 2025. I would say that with three bottles, opening the first around the 10 year mark is probably a good bet, and should give you a feel for how long to wait to open the others.

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I have a couple each of the '11, '12 and '15 Ulysse Pauillac and have no plans to drink the first of them before '22. As others have said the '12s seem more forward so I’ll probably start them first around '22. The '15s are probably a significantly better vintage and I wouldn’t consider starting on them until '25 earliest.

All that said it is very much down to personal taste. Most French would probably have finished all of their wines well before the Society’s opening dates but I personally tend to prefer more mature wines.

Like you, I do prefer my tannins to be nice and smooth and that has tended to push me towards Margaux and Moulis, both of which I find smoother than most other left banks. Very broad generalisation that and there are many notable exceptions but I have found more consistency in this respect in those areas.

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I drank a bottle of Château Haut-Bages Libéral 2006 about two weeks ago. I thought is was drinking very well, no need to keep much longer. However, I was a bit disappointed by the wine itself. Hopefully the remaining 5 bottles are better.

Today I plan to open a Château Batailley 2008. Will report my impressions tomorrow.

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Unfortunately, Haut-Bages-Liberal has not been a good performer over many years. As one writer on Bordeaux wines says, “The style was always rather worthy and workmanlike, and could offer good value to those in the know. In my experience, though, the wines rarely caused any excitement.”.

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Thank you all for your impressions - very helpful indeed. It seems that a decade’s wait for a half decent Pauillac is the starting point. Claret’61, I had indeed noticed that Peter was opening a Batailley and will be v interested to read his thoughts.

MikeF, interesting that you find Margaux & Moulis smoother. Looking down below I see I have just one of the former, a Paveil de Luze, but it’s a '13 & anyway not likely to set the world on fire. Could/should that be opened now?

As said I’m fairly new to Clarets, or at least thinking more about what I’ve tasted, and it’s obvious that 2015 is a good vintage, so I am puzzled why the TWS window for the Ulysse starts this year. OK, you can open it if you want & if you like your wine young, but it seems so, so young . . . and just not getting anywhere near the wine’s potential, even if you’d baulk at any hint of maturity.

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I don’t know that particular Margaux and I have very few '13 Bordeauxs myself but the couple I do have I’m planning to drink this or next year.

It’s not just TWS windows, I think most drinking windows are designed to accommodate those that like their wines young as much as those that like it mature. I recall speaking to a Bordeaux producer at a TWS tasting a couple of years ago and TWS had his 2010s as just coming into their drinking window whilst he considered they needed another 5 years at least. He described them at that time as unruly teenagers that needed a few years to calm down.

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I think the P de Luze came from a French Supermarket autumnal festival of wine . . there must be many like it. I’ll have a try later this lockdown/year.

And yes, I see what you mean about the drinking windows, thanks. There must be many opinions out there about what’s ready or not.

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@MikeFranklin said it earlier in this thread - it’s down to personal taste.

I opened the Batailley 30 minutes before dinner and poured it from a height into large glasses. We had it with dinner, and we both thought it delicious, spot on meeting the request for ‘a decent claret’. There are some more 2012s in my cellar and no doubt I’ll open more before lockdown is over. Who knows if one will be able to after…

Will it age? Of course! Will it get better when it’s older?I refer you back to @MikeFranklin.

I’ve got a lot of experience with aged wines, and my experience is that I’ve had more wines that are too old than too young!

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Ch. Paveil de Luze, which is in Margaux, has recently (in the new classification of the Cru Bourgeois) been made a Cru Bourgeois Exceptionnel (1 of 10 out of a total of 249) and has always represented VGVFM. Here is a tasting note for the 2013:

Château Paveil de Luze 2013: A rather light character on the nose, with a hard backbone, showing a little more oak than fruit. The palate is light, with correct fruit, fresh but lean in terms of substance, with a grainy grip beneath, and fresh acidity. Correct, but light, with a firmly grippy finish. 12-13/20 - April 2014

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Many thanks Peter.

I couldn’t agree more about drinking wines past their best. I’ve just had a Boekenhoutskloof Syrah '09, which I thought was a '12 until I pulled it out of the bottom of the rack, and all its marvellousness had gone. Still OK, but I was rather annoyed with myself as I’ve had a few at their peak (to my taste!). Now checking other bottles . . .

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I have a bottle of the Ulysse '15 which was a gift from a fellow WS member. Based on my experience of opening one bottle of a lesser claret(Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux) , I wouldn’t touch a 2015 of this pedigree for several years still.

Although I didn’t buy any EP in 2011 and 2012 (having filled boots with 2009 and 2010), I have a few bottles from each vintage now. I’ve particularly enjoyed Ch D’Angludet 2012, which is of course Margaux not Pauillac, but it was a very generous fruity claret I thought.

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Anoraks like me have noticed that Sichels had dropped the D’ from the title of the property.

Yes, I have seen that too, but force of habit. The 1989 I have still very much has the D on the label!