“The problem is that they believe that their 2006 is a great wine,” said one négociant, with a number of well-known wine estates under his control.
The thought is sort of scary. I think a lot of producers have convinced themselves that they have made great wines in 2006. Sure, a handful of wines are 95-100 point-worthy. For example, I tasted today Pétrus and Trotanoy and I thought they were all potentially classic wines. But they are not as exciting as the 2005s. A lot of wines are very good, even outstanding, especially considering the difficult weather conditions in 2006, but let’s be serious.
“You have to wonder how someone’s 2005 was, if they are saying their 2006 is better,” said Pierre Lurton, the manager of Cheval-Blanc, who made an outstanding 2006. Lurton agreed that it was not on the level of his 2005 though.
I also tasted his 2006 Yquem and it was of classic quality. It was very, very pure and spicy, showing excellent concentration and length. It reminded me of the 1988 in style, with its finesse and raciness. Added Lurton, “You don’t know which is better when you taste the 2005 Yquem against the 2006.”
Maybe Sauternes will be the exception in 2006? But I doubt it. The few Sauternes makers who I spoke to said that they had very good results, but that they had to work very, very hard to make something outstanding.
I can’t think of many 2006s that I have tasted, red or white, that are obviously better than their 2005s. Today, for example, I tasted the 2005 Canon and L’Evangile after the 2006s at the same estates. No way. Game over. The 2005s blow away the 2006s. They have more of everything. They are so much more exciting with wonderfully ripe fruit, almost exotic, and powerful yet sweet tannins and a vibrant acidity. The more I taste 2005s the more excited I get. I can’t wait to taste them in bottle!
“The 2005s are truly exceptional wines,” said Christian Moueix, who was happy with the quality of his 2006s, especially Pétrus, but he agreed that they could never be at the same level of his 2005s. He already sold most of his 2006s as futures to his exclusive agents around the world for between 10 percent and 25 percent less than 2005. He said that his prices were between current prices for his 2003s and 2004s, and added that his customers were happy to buy them.
I wonder how happy everyone else is going to be to buy 2006 futures from the other well-known names? I also wonder how much châteaus are willing do drop their prices?
Everyone I spoke to in Bordeaux mentioned dropping his or her prices. Everyone knows they have to. The big question is just how much?
I also heard that stock of the best wines is at low levels in Bordeaux, both in the cellars of merchants and the châteaus. And demand is way up. I have no statistics, but this is what people are saying. But I don’t think there is really a shortage of excellent Bordeaux, considering the string of very good to phenomenal vintages including 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and now 2006.
As I said yesterday, the names to focus your money on, if you're so inclined, are those 2006s from the top estates that worked flawlessly. It was not an easy vintage. So much was against winemakers in 2006, but some triumphed and I applaud them!
“This is a year when great terroir triumphed,” said Denis Durantou, the eccentric winemaker and owner of the fantastic Pomerol estate of L’Église Clinet. He is a great vinegrower as well as winemaker. “I work on a number of vineyards but as hard as I tried in the vineyards and cellar, I could only make outstanding wine in my best vineyard.”
As so many winemakers have told me, 2006 is a year for great terroir, great vineyard management and great cellar work. It’s punitive work with an enormous amount of dedication, but it paid off for many in the end in 2006 since none of the well-known estates made poor wines. In fact, almost all made very good to outstanding ones.
Perhaps it’s all the hard work that convinced some that they even made great wines in 2006? And a handful may have ...
(Read my 2006 Bordeaux barrel tasting report here.)
Dorothy Thornton — Atlanta Georgia — March 30, 2007 1:49pm ET
John Flaska — Laguna Niguel, CA — March 30, 2007 3:05pm ET
Timothy Feather — March 30, 2007 9:46pm ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — March 31, 2007 10:00am ET
Anacleto Ludovic — paris france — March 31, 2007 11:20am ET
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