[Note: Bruce Sanderson continues to report from Burgundy, where he is visiting domaines and tasting barrel samples from the 2006 vintage.]
What I keep hearing is that 2006 is a “cool” vintage. What I interpret from that is the weather pattern was cool and the wines reflect the late-season ripening that Burgundy depends on more years than not out of a decade.
There are also certain vineyards that are cooler by nature. These vineyards may have more clay in their soils that retain moisture or are affected by the cooling winds coming out of a combe from the plain above the Côte d’Or.
Monday dawned rainy and damp, the kind of bone-chilling dampness that makes you glad you will be standing around in a cold cellar for eight hours.
My first visit was in Puligny-Montrachet, with Franck Grux, who will celebrate his 20th vintage at Olivier Leflaive Frères this year. Patrick Leflaive joined us for a tasting of the 2006 whites.
Grux, who makes wines from Chablis and the Côte Chalonnaise as well as the Côte de Beaune, noted that compared with those of 2005, the 2006 wines have the potential to be heavy. The 2006 vintage reminds Grux of 1986.
“It’s rich and plump, a style of wine that’s generous and people like. Because we personally like more purity and finesse, ’06 is a little too much.”
The best wines there are those that retain the vivacity and freshness to keep them balanced and lively.
The Rully Rabourcé is an example where the freshness and mineral character works with the floral, lemon and peach flavors (85-88). The St.-Romain Sous Le Château also shows floral aroma and a crispness underscoring its lemon cake and apple notes, ending with a chalky sensation on the finish (85-88). Both have been bottled.
From Chassagne-Montrachet, I liked the Ruchottes for its lime blossom, wild herb and mineral expression. It’s long on the finish, but is yet to be bottled (88-91). The Meursault (86-89) shows honey and butter tones and though big and rich, is also vibrant. A step up is the Meursault Charmes, a bit compact, yet builds nicely on the palate with fresh lime and hazelnut flavors (88-91).
Both the Puligny-Montrachet Champs Gain (89-92) and Les Folatières (89-92) were showing well. The former entices with its wild flower and hazelnut notes and balance between richness and acidity; the latter is more delicate, with a creamy texture, spice and lime flavors and a long finish. The Montrachet, still in barrel, is the star, full, rich and creamy, with exotic notes of apricot and pineapple (91-94).
I stayed in Puligny to visit Domaine Jean Chartron. With the addition of parcels in St.-Aubin Les Perrières, St.-Aubin Vignes Moingeon and Savigny-lès-Beaune Les Pimentiers, the domaine is now 34.5 acres. In 2008, it will be completely organic in the Côte de Beaune holdings, according to Jean-Michel Chartron.
The wines tasted below were bottled in September.
The choice parcels are the Puligny premiers crus Clos du Cailleret and Clos de la Pucelle, with old vines. The Pucelle is more open, offering finesse, floral, lime and honey flavors, expanding on the palate to a long finish (89-92). The Cailleret is less forthcoming aromatically, but a richer, broader white, with honey notes and a long, chalky aftertaste (89-92).
The Bâtard-Montrachet is round and fleshy, displaying pineapple, apricot flavors and a mineral finish (90-93). The Chevalier-Montrachet Clos des Chevaliers has great finesse and despite its ripeness, a vibrant feel. A citronella note and creamy texture ends in a long, mineral-tinged finish (90-93).
Conor Twomey — Ireland — January 16, 2008 4:55am ET
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