So that was 2006!
Not such a bad year (provided you have no association with a ‘war zone’), many good wines were drunk and they easily outweighed the number of disappointments. The 2005’s tasted throughout the year in barrel were harder to taste than (for instance) the 2002’s but really started to come together at the end of of 2006 – a great vintage for both colours that should provide a lot of fun drinking this year and beyond. The quality of the grape harvest was was patchy but many super wines will be made in Corton and further north.
Transfer of the year in 2006 can only be the coup by Robert Parker when he hired Neal Martin for eRobertParker. It was a far-sighted move to bring the the pithy, witty writing of Neal to a new stage – it’s just a shame that Neal is now lost to those who do not pay…
My best value wines from 2006 were very easy to choose – and that despite close to 600 wines tasted/drunk during the year:
1999 Francois Gay, Ladoix and 2002 Louis Jadot, Bourgogne Chardonnay
The red punches way above it’s appellation and was a joy to all that drank it, likewise the plush rather than steely white with its coat of perfectly judged oak was often mistaken for a grander wine. Approximately 16 Euros for the red and 8 Euros for the white provide a true education in burgundian value.
My favourite 1er Cru wines from 2006 were the ones that really stood out from the crowd, I will choose two reds and two whites, first the reds:
2004 JC Boisset, Chambolle Charmes and 2003 Leroy, Gevrey Combottes
Both wines show a mind-bending concentration and yet balance. The Charmes is an unbelievably complex and long wine, whereas the Combottes is about its crystalline delivery. The Charmes is not cheap, but a bargain when compared to the Leroy – note that both of these wines will ‘better’ most grand crus.
2002 Bouchard P&F, Meursault Perrières + 2004 Amiot, Chassagne Vergers
If both of my red picks major on power, then here we look at subtlety and joie-de-vivre. The Bouchard is subtly concentrated but understatedly multidimensional – a wine to marvel in its many reflections. The Amiot was one of my first bottled 2004 purchases, and during the first 6 months of its life stunned in its vivacity, encapsulating all the fresh, citrus infused minerality that 2004 can offer. It’s still fun now, but already just a little less forward – my last three bottles are now sleeping.
The most impressive Grand Crus of 2006 are 2 reds and one white:
1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, La Tache
This can only be described as ‘ultra-wine’, unfortunately its price is pretty much unaffordable for anyone who didn’t buy in the first 3-4 years from release. The icon of a generation.
2003 Domaine des Chezeaux, Chambertin
Because of the domaine’s metayage arrangements you will also find exactly the same wine under the Ponsot label for a few dollars more. The Chezeaux/Ponsot Chambertin is usually quite a lacy and understated wine – at least for a Chambertin – but 2003 brings extra density and a peacock’s tail of complexity to the finish. Worth an extra search.
2002 Antonin Guyon, Corton-Charlemagne
Few grand cru whites really stood out from the crowd in 2006, but this forthright ‘take me as you find me’ powerhouse won-over all who drank it this year. Well balanced, but with quintessential Charlemagne power.
Just in case you were interested, the best wine I tasted from barrel in 2006 was Comte Liger-Belairs’ La Romanée.
I’m already looking forward to wines yet to be drunk in 2007…