I thought I would just let that initial comment hang there a while 🙂
Of-course that comment is aimed at the red wines of the vintage; whites are opulent and rich (2003 with acidity) – with the potential exception of Chablis they may not be everyone’s cup of tea – but don’t worry 2006 looks like being an even better 2004; perhaps these will define the whites for a generation, assuming they don’t oxidise…
The problem today is that it’s almost impossible to separate the annual hype from comments that may have some merit. From some producers there is much to validate such a suggestion; let’s take at a look at the competition for 2005:
- 1999 was a fantastic vintage but could have been even better if yields had been better managed
- 2002 was (in my opinion) not quite as good as 1999 – this time yields were no issue – but one problem was a less than ideal growing season that was only saved by September weather
- 2005 had a good growing season, was virtually problem free, has no more than an average yield and typically required little more than a cursary triage.
The only real negative I can see for the 2005’s is that today’s hype is based on the wines in cask – this has yet to be translated into bottles – many, many domaines will not make their final (and in some cases first) racking for another couple of weeks, afterwards making their assemblage and finally bottling (maybe) at the end of February. Typically they are looking to get the final polishing of their oak tannins, but you only have to look at the 2004’s to see that things don’t always develop as planned.
Just in case you wondered, that ‘generation’ comment can be attributed to the venerable house of Joseph Drouhin, who didn’t need any extra help selling their wines as they are close to sold-out even before the trucks start leaving Beaune…