It’s been a long week tasting in Bordeaux. The tannins of the 2006s are very strong. Most are slightly austere due to their being slightly unripe or overextracted. However, the best wines of the vintage have managed to maintain ripeness in their tannins, giving them a silky texture and light sweetness of fruit on the end. I tasted the 2006 Haut-Bailly yesterday and it is a case in point. This château did very well in 2006.
One other wonderful wine I tasted yesterday was the unbelievable supercuvée of Jean-Luc Thunevin, the owner of Valandraud and the garagiste maximo. His new wine is called Le Jardin de Ma Piscine. It is a microcuvée of pure Cabernet Franc. And it blows away anything I have ever tasted ...
The wine comes from four-year-old vines that he has planted in his swimming pool in St.-Emilion. He took soil from nearby Cheval-Blanc and filled his pool. Apparently, Pierre Lurton of Cheval did not know this. Thunevin and his wife would go out after midnight each night for about four months to fill the trunk of their Mercedes and transport the precious soil to their home. They have, in my opinion replicated, even improved, the great terroir of Cheval.
Moreover, they have a completely controlled microclimate. I saw the vineyard, which is planted at a density of 20,000 vines. The yield is about one or two bunches per vine! It is definitely a jardin deluxe! It has heating as well as air conditioning, and there is a clear awning to protect the vineyard during rainstorms. For example, last year’s rains during the harvest had no effect, because the awning protected the young vines from the moisture and attracted what little sunlight there was as well.
The ultraripe grapes were then harvested by hand—and only the hands of Thunevin himself. He then sorted them in his famous laundry room, where he now conducts tastings for visitors during futures tastings in Bordeaux. And the whole berries were fermented in what look like giant martini shakers. “We hand shake, instead of pump over,” said Thunevin. “This gives us much softer extractions than normal macerations. And I want my wine completely hand made.”
The wine completed its malo in new French oak (from Hermès, of course). And they have already been racked into another set of new oak barrels to assure the highest amount of fine wood contact in the world.
How is the wine? It blew me away. It showed mind-boggling aromas of blackberries, raspberries, chocolate (Valrhona, of course!), caviar, Dom Pérignon, Chanel, Ferrari ... anything ultraexpensive and chic. I was so in love with it that I didn’t know whether to drink it or drive it ...
Anyway, it is most likely 100 points. And Thunevin could tell I loved his new microcuvée, Le Jardin de Ma Piscine.
THIS MEANS YOU PROBABLY WON'T BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT. BUT I BELIEVE IN THE TOOTH FAIRY, SO IT MIGHT BE REASONABLY PRICED.
I asked Thunevin if he was worried about the pricing of his wine, because everyone else in Bordeaux was going to have to cut their prices big time to sell 2006 this year. I have heard that Berry Brothers of London are asking for a reduction of 70 percent, because their margins were too low last year on the 2005s! But I think that the Bordelais should simply give their wines away this year. They made enough last year ... what the hell!
Thunevin answered with a big smile, “I have not decided on the price. But it will be hard to reduce my price to the 2004 level, or reduce it at all, considering this is the first year I have made this very special wine!”
I could only say to him in response: April Fools!
(Read about some actual 2006 Bordeaux here.)
John Woodbyrne — Redding, CT — April 1, 2007 8:23am ET
Karl Mark — Geneva, IL. — April 1, 2007 10:16am ET
Ray Barnes — Surrey BC Canada — April 1, 2007 12:22pm ET
James Suckling — — April 1, 2007 1:03pm ET
Timothy Feather — April 2, 2007 6:45am ET
Thunevin — France — April 2, 2007 8:18am ET
Jim Mcclure — DFW, Texas — April 2, 2007 11:27am ET
Dr J Rosenblatt — Montreal, Canada — April 2, 2007 3:10pm ET
Ray Barnes — Surrey BC Canada — April 2, 2007 4:58pm ET
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