I’ve always found it a pleasure to taste at Albert Bichot – this is my third post-bottling visit – and the quality is pretty much on a par with any ‘name’ négociant, though most of the bottles below are domaine sourced. The only thing that the A-B ‘portfolio’ is missing, is a 20 year back-catalogue of equivalent performance as demonstrated by Jadot and Drouhin.
Not that the management have to worry about the lack of such a back-catalogue as the 2006 vintage is now sold-out and it will be 6-7 months before they can supply any new wine to their distributors. The team here are always totally open on their pricing and the pressures/reasoning behind it: prices increased in 2006 and are based simply on supply and demand – yields go down, prices go up! The team here believe that the 2007’s may be as much as 20% higher (in Euros!) than the 2006’s – reflecting zero stocks and low yields.
Onto the wines; everyone here expected the 2006’s to be an easy sell for whites and the reds to be more difficult. Actually the reds have bettered expectation and have sold very easily. A super range here, with little qualitative difference between the domaine wines and those bought in as grapes.
Bottled the week before tasting. A wide and fresh nose with subtle sherbet. Good flavour (a gentle press and low crop) tasty, nothing artificial about this entry-level wine – should be a great buy.
2006 Domaine Long-Depaquit, Chablis 1er Les Vaillons
Only the older parcels of vines go into this cuvée. A deeper nose, riper but tighter. This is softer but more concentrated with a nice burst of acidity on the mid-palate. I’ve always found this a good value wine, so I await pricing…
Faint brioche fades to leave denser fruit. More intense at its core and coupled to fizzing acidity, lovely extension and finish. A little more mineral and super.
Dense, tight fruit on the nose. Not fat, but there’s rippling muscle under the hood. More powerful in the mouth and the finish, though that finish is nicely mineral.
2006 Domaine Long-Depaquit, Chablis Les Vaudésirs
The nose is stylisticly similar to the ‘Les Clos’, though perhaps a hint more savoury. The palate is a little fuller but not quite so muscled, the acidity currently prickles on the tongue. The finish is a match for the ‘Les Clos’.
The nose is deeper, rounder and more forward. Full-packed and well textured without being too fat. The fruit could have a little more focus and width but with a long, very mineral finish.
2006 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes
In this case, the VV designation means a minimum 20 years, and this 20,000 case cuvée is from grapes that are sourced only in the Côte d’Or. The nose majors on direct, slightly savoury fruit notes. Flavour fills the mouth, backed with good acidity and a fruity, savoury, slightly mineral finish. Nothing facile or ‘fruity, fruity’ – recommended.
A savoury width on the nose. The palate is wide and slightly bubbly. This will be a very good food match with its good balance and savoury aspect. Despite the savoury character, there’s no obvious oak.
2006 Domaine du Pavillon, Meursault
From 8 separate, owned parcels, only grapes from the west side of Meursault. Wide on the nose with decent fruit. Penetrates the palate with nice concentration and super intensity for a villages. A nice finish too.
A more forward and intense fruit nose. In the mouth this is very very concentrated and complex with tons of dry extract. Really, really long – clearly a more challenging drink today than the villages, but super quality.
2006 Domaine du Pavillon, Beaune 1er Clos des Mouches (Blanc)
A riper and more savoury nose than the Meursault 1er. Ripe fruit, wider but less muscled – also an interesting length. This is a wine that envelops you and is really quite interesting for a white Beaune.
Sourced from the south-facing Languettes and the first grapes harvested for the firm. The nose shows very focused, high-toned width. In the mouth its linear but with a little mid-palate richness and an understated power – but a balanced and mineral power. It’s certainly not a ‘look at me’ wine, rather one that efficiently delivers in-line with its label.
2006 Albert Bichot, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes
Ever-candid, my contact at Bichot tells me it is often economically stupid to vinify yourself an entry-level burgundy, but this is the task they set themselves. Medium-plus colour. The nose is soft, dark and a litlle musky – but with quite polished fruit. Good ripeness and plenty of tannin with a faintly lingering finish. A clean and tasty wine which I expect to be great value.
The concentrated nose is deep, dark and forward. A really nice balance here between the fruit and the structure, and with lingering flavour. Plenty of character, so worth looking out for if well priced.
2006 Domaine du Pavillon, Pommard, Clos des Ursulines
The nose is a little reticent, just deep understated fruit. In the mouth, smooth fruit amply covers the structure, but as the fruit slowly fades the structure slowly becomes more visible. Interesting wine and worth putting to one side to round out.
Medium-plus colour and showing some purple. Powdery dark fruit on the nose. More intense fruit and again plenty of structure, but the tannin is quite fine and under control – a nice lingering finish too. Should be another value choice.
2006 Domaine du Pavillon, Pommard 1er Les Rugiens
Made me smile when I asked where the vines were located – from the bottom of Hautes I was told! The nose is a little tight, but focused dark fruit and even a hint of coffee. The palate is layered and manages to overcome the big structure. Flavour clings long to your teeth. Very nice!
Medium-plus colour without the purple of the others. Some faint reduction slightly masks darker fruit. Wide on the palate with plenty of tannin – faintly reduced flavours here too. Nicely lingering flavour.
2006 Albert Bichot, Nuits St.Georges 1er Les Crots
Darker coloured with hints of purple. Just a little tight aromatically but there’s a dark fruit base. . In the mouth there’s ripe fruit set againstlots of fine, slightly astringent tannin. A faint, fading finish is borne on the good acidity.
Medium-plus colour. The nose is wide and typical with good fresh fruit. Some complexity and balanced tannins (that are much more sophisticated than the last wines) compliment good fruit. Always a dependable cuvée here.
2006 Domaine du Clos Frantin, Vosne-Romanée 1er Les Malconsorts
Darker colour than the villages wine. Wide, high-toned and complex, but some estery dimension. Soft and ripe, filled with well-grained tannin, an extra dimension of flavour and a super finish. I find this very good
Deep colour. Tight, a suggestion of depth but little more. Full-bodied, with good texture and very good fruit. There’s plenty of structure to resolve, but the finish lingers well and has a savoury edge.
2006 Domaine du Clos Frantin, Grands-Echézeaux
A forward nose with a super mix of red and black fruit with an undertone of spice. Complex, well-textured with a very understated length. No fireworks today, but beautiful fruit.