Bordeaux 2006 – 170 detailed tasting notes

2006 vintage overview

The big question on everyone’s lips this year is, of course, price. Last year’s average rise across the Crus Classés was 70%, with three Châteaux raising their price on 2004 by 300%. Those that hiked prices by 100% or more (and there were many) may find it hard to persuade people that they need to buy this vintage unless they reduce quite significantly. Those that didn’t gouge the price too much last year will probably find followers more forgiving.

Estimates suggest many Châteaux are considering lowering prices by 20% or so, but time will tell. As always in recent years, the verdict on the vintage from Robert Parker will have an effect both on the prices the Châteaux demand, and how many people are willing to pay them.

The other stories of this vintage are management of tannins, and getting enough flesh and charm into the wines. The nature of the weather in most of Bordeaux meant that 2006 is a year of moderate to good fruit (except for left bank Merlot as a generalisation, which suffered badly from rain at harvest time) but really quite aggressive tannins and quite high acidity. Many wines display very “furry”, rough tannins, and others a chalky dryness. Either, if there is insufficient plumpness and flesh to the fruit, are a bit problematic, making a few wines slightly inky and a bit charmless. That’s only likely to get more pronounced with time as it is more the nature of the tannins and fruit that is problematic, not just their levels. Indeed, many wines show identical technical analysis to 2005, but taste very different.

Merlot skins where battered and bruised in many left bank appellations, and many châteaux used less Merlot than usual in the blend of the Grand Vin, using it more in the second wines. Château Marguax, for example, has only 4% Merlot. From my tastings this year, second wines with one or two honourable exceptions, are not great buys. Pomerol and St Emilion did very well generally, whilst of the left bank, there is less consistency.

Botrytis was generally quite light in Sauternes, and there were some very successful wine in Margaux and Pessac. There are excellent Pauillacs, St Juliens and St Estephes, but in all areas, picking and choosing carefully is the key. Somewhat to my surprise, 2006 showed much better than I might have thought from pre-tasting rumours. It was undoubtedly a tough vintage – a ‘technical vintage’ were wine growers and makers had to be ultra-vigilent – and quality is down on 2005 or 2000.

But if prices drop significantly, there is no reason not to buy your favourite châteaux. Just do read my notes, and the notes of others, very carefully. My tasting notes follow. Scores come with the caveat that these are unfinished wines that still have a year or more in barrel ahead of them.

Pessac-Léognan Blanc

Laville Haut-Brion 2006
86% Semillon, 14% Sauvignon Blanc. Taut, supple, pear and apple fruit, with a background of slightly oatmeally quality, but really very fresh. Peachy ripeness on the palate, but clean and refreshing whilst still displaying glimpses of complexity. 87-91

Haut-Brion Blanc 2006
Semillon 44%, Sauvignon Blanc 56%. Beautifully figgy, nutty, deliciously sweet and ripe succulent fruit. Some leafy, nettly notes come through, and plenty of peachy ripeness. The palate has a really rich, ripe, really quite grippy presence. Lovely pear-like succulence. Very nice balance and acidity here, with a fullness and that grippy presence kept fresh and long. 91-95

Haut-Brion 2006
Gorgeous sweet, ripe, plummy black fruit. With an almost minty ripeness and plushness, but a hint of something more mineral. Lovely sweetness and juicy ripeness on the palate. Really gorgeous tannin quality – outstanding for this vintage. Very long, with extremely good quality. Tannins are dry, but the whole wine is imbued with a gorgeous sense of fleshiness and svelteness. Delicious and, for me, the star wine of the left bank. 93-97

Bouscaut Blanc 2006
Nutty, oaky seedy quality with white fruit. Plenty of ripeness and power on the palate, with a real acid structure. 87-91

Brown Blanc 2006
Pineapple and pear, bright fruit quite tanky but lovely brightness with a nice streak of nettly Sauvignon zest. Lovely limpid fruit with lots of citrus cut and plenty of verve. Lemony acidity sweeps through the finish very well made for early drinking. 87-91

Carbonnieux Blanc 2006
Quite vibrant, pungent and grassy. Good fruit with a big, soft creamy palate and good apple acidity. Big framed and some structure here. 87-91

Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 2006
Very refined and classy this, with elegance and light about it. Palate has too, with a lovely racy quality already and oak filling in lovely. 88-92

Fieuzal Blanc 2006
Very fresh and appealing, with plenty of zest and vibrant, verdant, zingy fruit. Lots of firm acid structure, with a suggestion of rich leesyness. Very long and composed, and fresh. 88-92

Larrivet-Haut-Brion Blanc 2006
Lovely creamy nose, plenty of oak at present. Palate has nice weight and texture. Fleshy, ripe, good fruit here. Balanced and quite powerful. 87-91

Malartic-Lagravière Blanc 2006
Powerful, creamy, quite spicy with pristine fruit. Lovely spangles and white fruit. Pithy and quite fine and racy. 88-92

Pessac-Léognan Rouge

Bahans de Haut-Brion 2006
Second wine of Haut-Brion. Some really delicious, fleshy, rounded fruit character immediately on the nose. Nice rounded, plummy fruit with a lovely balance if a touch of astringent tannin that will hopefully fade. There is a slight chewiness and maybe just not so pristine as the second wine of La Mission this year. 87-91

La Chapelle de la Mission 2006
Second wine of La Mission. A very light, floral and fresh fragrance. Cherry and something a little like roses or violet. On the palate a lovely quality of fruit, with a silky black cherry fruit. The dry tannins are refined and add a bittersweet edge, with lovely poise and balance. 88-92

La Mission Haut-Brion 2006
Really poised, composed nose of vivid black fruits and a rounded cedary warmth. The palate has a lovely silkiness, with very pure, glossy fruit and a firm backbone of minerality. The tannins are very firm, but there is a silkiness and plum and cherry skin bittersweet chocolaty finesse. Good length, and a very fine wine. 91-95

Haut-Brion 2006
Gorgeous sweet, ripe, plummy black fruit. With an almost minty ripeness and plushness, but a hint of something more mineral. Lovely sweetness and juicy ripeness on the palate. Really gorgeous tannin quality – outstanding for this vintage. Very long, with extremely good quality. Tannins are dry, but the whole wine is imbued with a gorgeous sense of fleshiness and svelteness. Delicious and, for me, the star wine of the left bank. 93-97

Bouscaut Rouge 2006
Slightly green, moderate fruit and quite meaty. Palate showing quite a lot of oak and a rich, dry, extracted palate but has balance and some elegance. 86-90

Brown Rouge 2006
Nice meaty nose, with plenty of robust, chunky fruit and a nice gamy quality. Nice palate too, with plenty of savoury, dry fruit. A little short perhaps, with structure and some finesse though. 86-90

Carbonnieux Rouge 2006
Much more attractive nose than some, though still quite tough and inky. Much more attractive, violet and ripe cherry fruit. Big tannins, but real sweetness and promising. 87-91

Domaine de Chevalier Rouge 2006
Exudes smooth tempered quality on the nose, with very good fruit and very classy oak. Lovely richness and ripeness here, with beautiful fruit quality and balance. 89-93

Gazin Rocquencourt 2006
Quite nutty and meaty, with a subtle but nicely balanced character. A touch dry and inky, but good tannins if a bit rustic. 85-89

Fieuzal Rouge 2006
Quite subdued, earthy, compact and dense fruit. This has plenty of oak on the palate, with a creamy lushness of plum fruit that is really appealing. Very silky tannins and relatively moderate acidity adding up to a very stylish, delicious style. 89-93

Haut Bailly 2006
Lovely sense of meatiness and savoury earthy plum and blackcurrant. A wrapping of sweet but cedary oak is nicely judged too. On the palate quite firm, with a taut blackcurrant fruit and a certain schisty minerality. Firm tannins, but crisp and lively. Nice wine this, with very good length and structure, but some charm. 89-93

Larrivet-Haut-Brion Rouge 2006
Quite green and a bit inky, with vegetal notes. Rather blunt and muscular, with green notes though it seems to have quite ripe tannins in the finish. Hard work and this sample verging on the unpleasant. Provisional 85-89

Malartic-Lagravière Rouge 2006
Elegant, fine cherry and raspberry fruit. Lightly oaked and smart. Nice palate. Oak rather prominent, but silky texture and fine tannins. Refined, quite showy but better than being green and mean. 88-92

Olivier Rouge 2006
A touch of gamy perfume here. Quite nice fruit, with some bittersweet plum skin. Racy and fine. This seems not to have quite the elegance or pure fruit of some, but very good. 87-91

Pape Clément Rouge 2006
Plenty of chocolate and smoky oak, with very full, ripe, vivid fruit. Showy, with coffee and chocolate in abundance, but quite stylish, sweet fruit too and a long tangy finish. Very assertive tannins, but juicy. 89-93

Smith Haut-Lafitte Rouge 2006
Bright, slightly schisty blackcurrant and cherry. Sensuous and rich too, with a sheen of oak adding polish. Very firm liquorice edge to tight, slick black cherry fruit. Very firm and decisive tannins. 88-92


Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux Blanc 2006
100% Sauvignon Blanc, 15% alcohol. Big hit of very nice quality toasty oak, with a figgy character and all sorts of oily, sesame seed character. A streak of verdant fruit is lurking in there, in a complex profile. On the palate this is bursting with vibrant, green-tinged fruit, with a ripe tropicality held in check by a streak of pithy acidity and the warming toasty notes. Delicious wine, with great power and good balance. 90-94. Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux 2006
Very composed, attractive berry fruit. A nice hint of Margaux perfume with some floral and earthy notes. Lovely delicate fruit on the palate, with a silky texture and very composed, rounded fruit. Tannins are rounded and fine, and there is a freshness about this. 88-92 Chateau Margaux (France) Margaux 2006
90% cabernet sauvignon and only 4% merlot. Only 36% of crop into the first wine this year. Quite a firm, mineral-edged quality with plenty of black fruit. Tight and glossy, with a dark plumskin and black chocolate nuance. The palate is very tight and structured, with big, rich, chocolaty tannins with plenty of grip and a chalky dryness plenty of concentration here. Very cabernet sauvignon. 91-95

Chateau Brane-Cantenac (France) Margaux 2006
Fragrant, gentle nose of rich berry fruit. Solid, firm tannic background to really quite rounded silky fruit with spice and a coffeeish warmth. 88-92

Chateau Cantenac-Brown (France) Margaux 2006
Lots of silky, ripe, forward and glossy fruit. Creamy and plush. The palate is very bright and vibrant, with lovely fruit and suede-like tannins. Long and pure, this is very good. 89-93

Chateau d’Angludet (France) Margaux 2006
Slightly closed, with an earthy, quite gravelly character. On the palate plenty of grip and sinew and a lovely dark cherry and chocolate gloss to the fruit. Slightly rustic tannins compared to the Cantenac-Brown for example, but very nice. 88-92

Chateau Dauzac (France) Margaux 2006
Nicely svelte, vinous nose with black fruits and a little floral edge. The palate is a little dry and quite chewy, with more rustic, dry tannins. The fruit is good, and nice bright acidity is too. 86-90

Chateau Desmirail (France) 2006
There is a warming, rich oakiness and earthiness to this, with deep Autumnal fruit that is flattering and forward. The palate too has that earthy warmth and depth, with toast and chocolate suggesting a lot of oak influence on this sample, and a charry, spicy smokiness. Difficult to judge, but fruit is sweet and seems like a decent wine. 86-90

Chateau du Tertre (France) Margaux 2006
Quite bright, attractive, deeply fruity and blackcurranty nose. There’s a creamy, quite flashy oak character on the palate, but it has lovely roundness amend fat to the fruit, with a fantastic fruit purity – masses of cassis and pert tannins and acid that are nicely controlled. 89-93

Chateau Durfort-Vivens (France) Margaux 2006
A nice perfume that is slightly gamy and animal, with a solid, vivid underpinning of black fruits. Ripe and rich, this has a sheen of quite vanillin oak and tannins showing through, but nicely composed fruit and a savoury dryness. Good quality, if a little less harmonious than some at this stage. 87-91

Chateau Ferrière (France) Margaux 2006
Quite reticent, with a gentle blue/black fruit and touch of violet. On the palate decent fruit without the richness and sweetness of some, but quite harmonious with crisp tannins and svelte finish. 86-90

Chateau Giscours (France) Margaux 2006
Bright, bold cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Almost minty in its brightness. Palate has that mint and chocolate plushness of fruit, with a juicy acidity and an elegant tannic structure. Lovely quality and a charming, plump style. 88-92

Chateau Kirwan (France) Margaux 2006
Really quite fragrant, silky and floral, with plenty of cherry and violetty aromas. The palate has lovely creamy sweetness. There’s really plush fruit here, with a creamy, quite plummy fullness, and though tannins are dry and quite prominent, this has a chocolaty depth and good acidity and looks very promising. 88-92

Chateau Labégorce (France) Margaux 2006
Slightly reduced, but beneath the bright red fruit and earthy character comes through. The palate has a slightly green, aggressive edge to the tannins. There is decent fruit here and a bright acid quality, but the overall effect is a little tough at the moment. 86-90

Chateau Lascombes (France) Margaux 2006
Nice and cedary, slightly charcoally quality, with flattering oak over plush red fruits. He palate has excellent fruit sweetness, with hints of chocolate and very ripe black plums, and firm but silky tannins giving plenty of grip. Good length and balance here, and a nice level of concentration. 89-93

Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery (France) Margaux 2006
Quite schisty and gravelly, with an earthiness showing over the fruit. The palate is really quite elegant, with the silky, ripe fruit coming through nicely and the svelte, supple tannins showing plenty of refinement. Nicely made without being too flashy. 87-91

Chateau Marquis de Terme (France) Margaux 2006
This is fragrant and attractive, with some floral edges to bold, ripe cherry fruit. The nose and palate have a sheen of quite flashy vanillin oak, with nicely rounded, sweet and juicy fruit. Tannins are supple and the overall effect is quite rounded and harmonious. 87-91

Chateau Monbrison (France) Margaux 2006
Quite a nice, clean and silky nose, with plenty of glossy black fruit that seems tight and creamy. The palate is cool and composed, with a fairly light character, and a raciness. Seems bright and natural, and a nicely pitched wine. 87-91

Chateau Prieuré-Lichine (France) Margaux 2006
Good fruit here and seems very clean and pure. Cassis and cherry. The palate too has a brightness and directness to it, with very supple, fine-grained tannins and a lovely sense of harmony and ‘natural’ fruit and sweetness. Lovely. 89-93

Chateau Rauzan-Gassies (France) Margaux 2006
Rauzan Gassies 2006 Quite pure, with a mineral earthiness and a racy impression on the nose. Lacks a little flesh this one, although the fruit is very sweet and attractive. Tannins are quite refined and fine, and with nice acidity and a hint of coffee emerging in the finish, an attractive wine in a lighter style.

Chateau Rauzan Ségla (France) Margaux 2006
Quite closed, with a dark, composed character with some silky, dark fruit coming through. On the palate there is a very silky and harmonious quality here. The tannins are very refined and suede-like, and the fruit is juicy and mouthfilling. Long and harmonious, this is not at all flashy, but has lovely precision and class 89-93

Chateau Siran (France) Margaux 2006
Fairly closed, with not a lot of fruit character, though there is a creamy density. The palate has a plum and plumskin darkness. Tannins are very nice here, with masses dry grip (perhaps a little too much for the fruit) but then they are ripe and quite fine. A sense of chocolate and coffee builds in the finish, but really quite a nice Siran. 87-91


Chateau Beychevelle (France) St Julien 2006
Big, generous coffee and chocolate oakiness, with cassis and plum coming through. Bold and rich on the palate, with the plushness of oak and quite dark, ripe fruit just about holding its own against the slightly austere tannins and quite high acidity. There is good length here and a touch of juiciness about the mid palate, and perhaps it will come good. 87-91

Chateau Branaire-Ducru (France) St Julien 2006
Quite light and fresh on the nose, fruit forward but subtle. Nice spice and aromatic notes creeping through. The palate has a lovely fruit purity, the fruit allowed a little more expression than Beychevelle perhaps. Still very dry, but there’s a hint of blue/black glossiness of fruit and nice balance here. 88-92

Chateau Gruaud Larose (France) St Julien 2006
Not giving a lot, with a touch of earthy minerality and some cedar, and a subtle berry fruit. The palate has a nicely tempered character, with the tannin managed well. It is still dry and savoury, but tannins re fine and the fruit pushes on through the mid-palate. Quite long this one. 88-92

Chateau Lagrange (France) St Julien 2006
A touch of leather and spice, a little hint of resinous quality. Fruit rather shy. The palate has better fruit coming through, with a deal of bold, quite crunchy blackcurrant richness. Tannins are chalkily dry again, with a slightly austere finish. 87-91

Chateau Langoa-Barton (France) St Julien 2006
Very bright, bold, plush and forward fruit with plenty of new, slightly marzipanny oak, but bright and vivid. On the palate I do like the fruit here, with a ripeness and concentration that is good, and the tannins, whilst dry and assertive, are well managed. Quite long and good fruit sweetness comes through. Good balance. 88-92

Chateau Léoville-Barton (France) St Julien 2006
Good fruit, quite a bold oaky character overlaid at present. Floral and violet nuances give this quite a lifted character, but it might also be a touch volatile? The fruit has a charming, sweet fruitiness on the attack. Big, chalky dry tannins sweep in. The acidity is good, and the initial fruit sweetness suggests some lovely raw material here, so promising. 89-93

Chateau Léoville-Poyferré (France) St Julien 2006
A little coffee and a little gamy character, with some complexity here. Solid black fruit too. On the palate real class here, with the fruit very sweet and naturally concentrated, with life about it and an edge of bittersweetness. Beautifully managed tannins, with a lovely balance and elegance. Long. 90-94

Chateau Talbot (France) St Julien 2006
Quite subdued, but a subtle, sweet fruited charm develops. The palate has a sense of plushness and richness that is very good. A touch of coffee and chocolate suggests both fruit depth and very nice oak integration. Balanced and long, and very stylish. 89-93


Carraudes de Lafite (France) Pauillac 2006
Composed, compact nose. Very tight and dark, with cherry and cassis aromas quite bold and fresh on the nose. On the palate there’s a very finely tuned, elegant juiciness to the fruit, with very firm but fine and tight-grained tannins and plenty of acidity. A dry, slightly inky quality and touch of earthiness. A touch austere perhaps, but very fine. 87-91

Chateau Lafite (France) Pauillac 2006
A big, inkily deep well of svelte black plum and blackcurrant fruit here, with a brooding character through the depth of fruit and the earthy richness of the aromatics. A little kirsch-like glimpse of sweetness and brightness builds. The palate is loaded with quite marzipanny oak at this stage, but the wine has depth and silkiness of texture and tannins, and exquisite length. A very new oak-dominant sample, and others thought the fruit was slightly deficient, but seems to have real depth to me. 91-95

Pauillac de Chateau Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
A little dusty, vegetal note at first. Quite gamy, with a touch of bloodiness. The fruit is really quite ripe and sweet, with a nice full texture and quite a spicy character. On the palate it is vinous and quite chewy, with nicely integrated but assertive tannins and plenty of black fruits. Grippy and robust, yet with some generosity. 86-90

Chateau Les Forts de Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
A more subtle coffee and dark, plummy fruit character here. Quite pure, with a certain plushness and a hint of tobacco. On the palate the tannins are very grippy indeed. It has a decisive acidity too, giving it a touch of austerity. Spice and a hint of chocolate joins robust, chewy but sweet fruit in the finish of a very masculine style of wine. 88-92

Chateau Latour (France) Pauillac 2006
Very subtle, reserved nose showing some coffee and some dark plum and stewed prune fruit notes. Very compact and muscular. The palate has a great density of fruit and tannins. There’s a really decisive acid and tannin attack again that is fairly massive in the mouth, but a subdued, composed supple quality of black fruit, spice and earthy richness suggests it will come together. Certainly a no holds barred, fully concentrated Latour and is there a question mark over its ability to open and soften sufficiently? -Impressive vin de garde material potentially. 91-95

Petite-Mouton (France) Pauillac 2006
Family resemblance of that warming, earthy, coffeeish quality and rich black fruit. Nice hint of minerality here. On the palate there is some new oak custardy quality, but the fruit is very good and sweet, and there is masses of grip. This perhaps lacks a touch of mid-palate flesh, but the final balance and length are very good. 88-92

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (France) Pauillac 2006
87/13 cabernet sauvignon/merlot with 44% of the harvest making it into the Grand Vin. A flash of creamy new oak then a very deep-set quality of berry fruit comes through. Some cedar and coffee and again that earthiness. On the palate the oak is noticeable, with lovely fruit filling in, and although there is plenty of tannin, that is quite decisive, the balance is very good. 91-95

Chateau d’Armaillhac (France) Pauillac 2006
Big, meaty, dense and fleshy nose. The palate has a vivid, vibrant red cherry and blackcurrant fruitiness. Rather dry tannins start to kick in, which along with a firm spiciness and more of that earthy character, makes for a chewy, dense mouthful. Acidity is very good, and this is powerful and quite impressive. 88-92

Chateau Batailley (France) Pauillac 2006
Beautiful fragrance here. Lovely fruit purity and sweetness, with a really vivid cassis character. Chocolate and smoky, coffeeish oak fills in. The palate has the same bold quality of fruit, and though the oak is a touch raw on the mid-palate, the fruit persists, and just about copes with very big, dry tannins that are nevertheless quiet tight and fine. Good length here, and a savoury, spicy and fresh finish. Very good. 90-94

Chateau Clerc-Milon (France) Pauillac 2006
Brand new chais being built. 44% Merlot. Very fine, meaty, quite cedary style with a warming presence and plenty of dark, sinewy fruit. The palate has a really juicy fruit brightness, with cassis and black plum and a big sweep of ripe, full, rich tannins. Very complete d warming, with fine persistence and balance. 89-93

Chateau Croizet-Bages (France) Pauillac 2006
Subtle but quite a nice nose, with a harmonious quality of subdued black fruit, a touch of cedar and a plummy richness. On the palate there is no shortage of chalky, dry tannin. The fruit is good, but is swamped rather quickly by that combination of tannin and a coffeeish oak presence. The acidity is well controlled and seems relatively low, but the finish is fresh with the spice and tannic grip. 88-92

Chateau Duhart-Milon Rothschild (France) Pauillac 2006
Less bright, but deeper and more chocolaty than the Carraudes. Has a fine spiciness and touch of earthy, even bloody perfume. Lovely palate. Very harmonious, with plenty of flattering new oak adding a creamy, custardy background, but the tight, chewy and muscular tannins and depth of plummy fruit are long and powerful, with a nice core of acidity. 87-91

Chateau Grand-Puy Ducasse (France) Pauillac 2006
Quite bold new oak, with a touch of custard, but quite good fruit too, as a blackcurrant ripeness comes through. The palate has a very nice fruit. There is sweetness and a supple roundness, with the chalky tannins held in check, and the warmth of a blackcurrant and plummy fruit and a hint of chocolaty depth persisting. Quite warming and spicy, this is harmonious though perhaps lacks a touch of verve. 88-92

Chateau Haut-Bages Libéral (France) Pauillac 2006
Slightly paint-boxy, dry quality of cherry fruit here. It is fruity though, with just a background of a cedary character. Very dry on the palate, with rather furry, drying tannins dominating that slightly lifted cherry and blueberry fruit. Quite long, and has a nice balance in the finish, as spices and supporting plummy fruit emerges. A slightly tough one to call, but components suggest benefit of the doubt needed. 89-93

Chateau Lynch-Bages (France) Pauillac 2006
Harmonious, very nicely mannered nose, with creamy black fruit and a supple, cedary background. Quite earthy, but refined. The palate is silky and glossy. Lovely mouthfeel here, with the plush sweetness of fruit reaching a chocolaty depth. Tannins are fairly weighty and very dry again, but acidity is very nice and the overall balance excellent. 90-94

Chateau Lynch-Moussas (France) Pauillac 2006
Rather subdued and reticent nose, with a rounded plummy character, but not as fresh or fruity as some. The palate broadens out into quite a nice fruit sweetness, with a lot of big, dry tannins rather swamping the fruit. This becomes quite plummy, spicy and deep, and there’s a svelte roundness in the finish that I like. Another that will need to come through the tannins, but might well be excellent. 90-94

Chateau Pontet Canet (France) Pauillac 2006
Very faint whiff of volatility that might be an oak character? Quite earthy and coffeeish, with a touch of earthy appeal. This seems to be in a slightly awkward stage, looking a little muddy, but there does seem to be a fruit depth. Quite glossy and ripe, and though rather hard to call, I think it is a good wine. 88-92?


Chateau Cos Labory (France) St Estèphe 2006
Slightly lifted, perhaps slightly volatile cherry fruit. Palate has a slightly furry, dry tannic character, with the modest fruit struggling a bit to get through. Racy enough, savoury and not unappealing, but needs better fruit/tannin ratio. 85-89

Chateau Lafon Rochet (France) St Estèphe 2006
Quite a big, plush, flattering nose with charry oak and plenty of cedar. On the palate the sweetness and richness of oak adds a rounded appeal, but then the tannins sweep in with such a chalky dryness that the flesh and fruit is rather squeezed out of the picture. Spicy and chocolaty in the finish, there is a definite hint of fruit sweetness, and this is a wine with lots of character and oomph, but the oak and tannin might outlast the fruit? 87-91

Chateau Les Ormes de Pez (France) St Estèphe 2006
Quite an elegant if slightly closed character, with some good black fruits showing through and a slightly raw oak edge. There is such a dry tannin character here again, swamping the front palate before fruit has a chance to show through. That’s slightly worrying. There’s a plum and cherry black fruit character in there, and the balance in the finish is pretty good as the fruit builds a little, so this may well open and develop into a nice wine. I think the fruit is there. 88-92

Chateau Phélan Ségur (France) St Estèphe 2006
A touch of meat and a rounded black fruit character, but all quite subdued. Nice cassis quality. Quite juicy on the palate. Chocolate covered cherries, though dying off slightly. The tannins are less ferocious than in some wines, but the fruit slightly fades and the dryness overtakes this. That juiciness was promising on the mid-palate, and again it is one that gets the benefit of the doubt perhaps. 87-91


Le Petit Cheval (France) 2006
60/40 merlot and cabernet franc. Quite dry, but fine cherry fruit with a touch of rose hip. Fine, with a slightly raw oakiness but good depth and an inky extraction plenty of concentration here, really quite deep and sinewy, though lacks a little flesh and gras. 86-90

Cheval Blanc (France) 2006
55 merlot 45 cabernet 6ranc. Much richer, smoother, deeper than Petit Cheval. A meaty character too and a mineral quality. Really quite sensual in comparison to many others. No shortage of tannins. Big, dry, inky extraction. Thick tannins here, but the balance is excellent. Long, persistent. 92-96

La Chapelle d’Ausone (France) 2006
Rich, ripe, sensuous blackcurrant with a hint of mint and schist. Lovely depth and ripeness apparent. The palate develops a lovely smooth, rich texture that shows this off. Rather dry tannins just blunt the finish slightly, but very nice components her. 88-92

Ausone (France) 2006
Deep, rich, sensuous nose with plenty of fruit. A warm earthiness comes through and some smoky, almost bacon fat. On the palate a beautifully ripe fruit quality. Very silky and sweet, with an almost strawberry pulp softness and ripeness. The tannins are svelte and creamy, with a developing weight of coffee and chocolate beneath, and a finely honed tannin structure. Lovely acid balance here and whilst not quite so complete and harmonious as Pétrus. 92-96

Virginie de Valandruad (France) 2006
Big powerful nose. Lots of deep-set plummy fruit. Silky and rich on the palate. Huge extraction here but then the fruit is very dense and ripe, with a certain fleshiness. Less charm than 2005, but very good wine. 90-94

Valandruad (France) 2006
A more supple charm on the nose than the Virginie. Very tight, composed but muscular, with lovely violet and kirsch nuances. The palate is seamless and powerful, with intense, concentrated fruit. Masses of tannin and extract, but lovely fruit. 91-95

Angélus (France) 2006
Quite creamy and vividly fruity. Smooth and harmonious. Massive tannins, very powerful but ripe and sweet. This has masses of concentration and extract, but has balance. 89-93

Balestard La Tonnelle (France) 2006
Quite earthy and nutty with a solid core of cassis fruit. Lovely ripeness and fullness. A really sweet, succulent core of fruit here with fine acidity and fine, chocolaty tannins. Smooth and long. 90-94

Beau Séjour Becot (France) 2006
Creamy and full with good fruit. Quite creamy and bright. The palate has nice coffee and chocolate richness without the powerful extraction of Angélus. 88-92

Belair (France) 2006
Slightly inky and dry, paintboxy aromatics with dome cherry fruit. Similarly rather dry and a touch lacking in flesh and charm. Good length eventually but rather more lean and dry. 87-91

Berliquet (France) 2006
Bright creamy raspberry fruit quality. Some rose hip and floral aromas. Palate has a nice silky texture and good fruit quality. Dry tannins begin to grip, but a coffeeish depth and hint of plushness too. 88-92

Canon La Gaffelière (France) 2006
Bright, rich but rounded fruit quality. Some red plum and fleshy character. The fruit on the palate is sweet and vivid. Really lovely sense of harmony here, with no lack of concentration, but lovely weight and elegance. Very fine 90-94

Cap de Mourlin (France) 2006
Rather tight, vinous but ungiving nose. Tight and sinewy tannins on the palate. Good concentration and it has a developing depth of fruit. But perhaps lacks a little plumpness and charm. 88-92

Dassault (France) 2006
Racy, fresh, nicely crisp red fruit character with a touch of cassis. A little tight and inky at the same time. Very tight palate. A real juiciness to the fruit though, with lovely acidity brightening a quite tannic picture. Rather good overall. 89-93

Figeac (France) 2006
Meaty, dense and rich aromas. Slightly reduced, but serious stuff. Palate has a rounded, fleshy appeal. A very nice mouthful of rip, fleshy, harmonious wine with depth and layers of complexity already. 90-94

Château de Fonbel (France) 2006
Slightly reduced at present, and rather tough seeming. On the palate it is also quite sinewy and chewy, but with good fruit at the core could develop more charm. 86-90

Clos Fourtet (France) 2006
Vinous and tight, with a compact red fruit character. This is cool and quite racy on the palate, with a tautness that I like, and plenty of spice building in the finish. 88-92

Franc Mayne (France) 2006
Tight, vinous nose. Quite charming fruit begins to come through. Palate a touch medicinal, but fruit comes through. Slightly leaner than some, but has good length. 87-91

Grand Mayne (France) 2006
Quite subdued, but earthy and deep with a solidity about the fruit. This has a smoky and schisty note on the palate, with quite a refined fruit, but again one that slightly lacks fleshy charm. 88-92

La Couspaude (France) 2006
Plenty of flashy, developed, flattering coffee bean and ripe fruit. Couspaude is bright and almost minty in its fruit and sweet oak. Flattering, but enjoyable. 87-91

La Dominique (France) 2006
Flattering, feminine with quite plump sweet fruit character. Nice chocolaty quality. Very attractive and a bit of fat on the palate, with graceful sweetness. Easy to like if not the structure and gout de terroir of dome. 88-92

La Gaffelière (France) 2006
Solid fruitiness here, with a rounded appeal. On the palate very well mannered and elegant, with very good fruit ripeness and a nicely refined, ripe tannin structure. Quite sensuous and deep. Very good. 90-94

La Tour Figeac (France) 2006
Graceful, tight red fruit and cherry character. The palate is quite chewy and dense, with fairly monolithic tannins at this stage. Dense and mouthfilling stuff, though rather brutal. Plenty of stuffing. 88-92

Larcis Ducasse (France) 2006
Quite a light, crisp fresh cherry brightness. Palate is rather dry and a little thin. Certainly lacks some flesh and a bit of concentration compared to some, but On the other hand, that gives it a little more sweetness and charm. 88-92

Larmande (France) 2006
Lovely fruit quality. Plenty of creamy, ripe red fruit and a solid plumminess. The palate is quite cool and composed even at this stage, with a silky freshness to fruit and tannins. Structured and fine, perhaps won’t be for the long haul, but lovely. 89-93

Magdeleine (France) 2006
Very bold fruit with lots of bright cherry and plum. Rather ruthless tannins with aggressive edge that is slightly difficult at present. 86-90

Moulin St George (France) 2006
Quite a lot of slightly raw, custardy oak at first with some really sweet cassis fruit beneath. The palate has big firm, chewy tannins and that core of pure, fine fruit persists. Lovely weight and texture in the end. Very good. 88-92

Pavie Macquin (France) 2006
Nicely floral highlights to quite solid red fruit. A touch paintboxy perhaps. On the palate quite charming, with a cherry sweet ripeness and hint of elegance. A very dry tannic structure overtakes, but this shows real promise. 89-93

Rolland Maillet (France) 2006
Quite meaty, with smoky scents and rich red fruits. The palate is extracted and quite deep, with very dry, thick tannins and an inky depth. Rather dry and dense at this stage with a slightly ashy dryness. 85-89

La Serre (France) 2006
Plenty of coffee oak and creamy richness. Good fruit. Very ripe and mouthfilling but smooth and well balanced. Perhaps lacks a little plumpness. 86-90

Simmard (France) 2006
Fine, ripe quite bright nose. Palate has very dry tannins. Perhaps a little too dry with a touch of beetrooty extraction. There is a finesse about this and a background suggestion of plushness. 86-90

Troplong Mondot (France) 2006
Quite a flattering coffee and richly fruity character. Quite plush and forward. There is sweetness and a layering of milk chocolate smooth character. Very flattering and easy to drink. Good tannins and length. 89-93

Trottevielle (France) 2006
Doesn’t leap out on the nose, with a subtlety about it, but nice fruit and a coffee like character starts to emerge. The palate is ripe and rich, with some real sweetness emerging. Fleshy and dense, with a charm and warmth, this excellent. 90-94


Pétrus (France) 2006
Dense, very solid core of fruit here, with a plummy, rich core. There are meaty and earthy nuances, but mostly about density of fruit. On the palate the initial impression is of real fruit sweetness, with a really cassis and kirsch like bright edge to a much deeper, plummy core. Silky tannins, with a dark chocolaty richness and sweetness, and an already harmonious acidity. Very complete wine, especially in this vintage. 93-97

Hosanna (France) 2006
Very pure, dark, vivid fruit with violet and kirsch notes. Lovely cedary oak quality already just showing through. The palate has lovely fruit, with fine ripeness and richness and plenty of silky tannins adding structure without aggression. Has some light and shade about it. 90-94 Certan de may (France) 2006
Slightly reduced, but an earthiness and firm black fruitiness. Gorgeous palate, where a silky weight of fruit comes through. Fruit is bright and composed, with power but silky precision too in tannins and overall balance. 91-95

Trotanoy (France) 2006
Big, quite dense and meaty nose, with a powerful fruit character and plenty of solid, ripe fruit at the core. Lovely silky, dense, mouthfilling fruit on the palate with creamy tannic structure that is really quite beefy and powerful, bit this has the weight and fleshy, plummy fruit to match. 93-97

Latour a Pomerol (France) 2006
Dense, quite composed, lithe character on the nose with juicy black fruits and a hint of chocolate. Palate has lovely definition. Plenty of dense, fleshy black fruits with a plummy grip and ripeness tannins forceful but chocolaty and rich and bright acidity. Very good 89-93

Lafleur Pétrus (France) 2006
Crunchy quite bright red fruit, a certain schisty quality. Oak is quite prominent at this stage. Plenty of rich, rounded vanilla and spice, with a bittersweet depth of plummy fruit and espresso. Structured, with good acidity and length. 91-95

Providence (France) 2006
Lots of bold, lithe, creamy fruit. Tight, fine grained tannin and fruit structure with a lithe and bold character and plenty of spicy bite. Becomes quite rich and chocolaty in the finish. Impressive 89-93

Fontenil (France) 2006
Nice cherry and plum, dark blueberry fruit. Plum skin and bittersweet notes on the palate, but the fleshiness is good here, and Fontenil has some plumpness and charm. A touch of smokiness and chocolate in the finish. 87-91

Bertineau St Vincent Lalande de Pomerol (France) 2006
Michel Rolland. Deep, cherry and plum scents. Quite dry and a touch inky. The palate has quite crisp, mouthfilling red fruits. This has a bit of flesh on the mid palate and good structure 87-91

Beauregard (France) 2006
Ice, rich, smooth plum and cherry appeal with a sense of harmony. Palate quite silky with good fruit and elegant structure. Sweetness here and flesh. 88-94

Clinet (France) 2006
Chocolaty and rich. Already a nice coffee and fleshy richness on the palate this has lovely fruit and a fleshy plumpness very harmonious, with good spice and structure, but a little more joy about it. 90-94

Gazin (France) 2006
A plump and sweet, plummy ripeness here with a chocolaty richness. The palate has a rich, ripe texture and plenty of flesh and sweetness. The tannins here are quite massive, but there’s a smooth, supple quality to them and chocolaty depth. 90-94

Le Bon Pasteur (France) 2006
Refined, quite racy and elegant, with kirsch and cherry notes. Chocolate covered cherry liqueurs. Lovely finesse and gracefulness here, with a real brightness to the fruit. A richness and ripeness here stands up to the big, thick tannins and decent acid levels. A very successful wine. 89-93

La Cabanne (France) 2006
Bright fruit quality here with cherry and a more floral edged fragrance. Crisp and feminine on the palate too, with a lighter tannic structure and good, sweet fruit. Lovely wine in a more graceful style. 89-93

La Conseillante (France) 2006
A touch of meaty, earthy charm here with plenty of gout de terroir. The palate has plenty of depth and structure, with a solid underpinning of ripe, black fruits. Comes together really very nicely with coffee oak and elegance. 90-94

La Croix de Gay (France) 2006
Quite. A light perfumed raspberry and cherry fruit. Clean and bright and quite creamy. Palate is fairly dry and inky, plenty of extraction and a touch lacking flesh perhaps. 87-91

La Pointe (France) 2006
Inky, slightly paintboxy character with some cherry fruit and a vinous charm. Fleshy and rich, with lots of dry extract and rather dry tannins, but has flesh and weight and good length. 88-92

Petit-Village (France) 2006
Quite bright and elegant, with creamy blueberry and cassis fruit. Very nice quality here, with plenty of fleshy, sweet, mouthfilling fruit. Tannins are smooth and supple, and the overall balance here is excellent with a spice and tangy acid balance. 89-93

Plince (France) 2006
Quite inky, dark and plummy. Carries slightly more flesh and fruit sweetness to carry the firm, very bold tannins. Big framed and bold. 87-91

Lafleur Gazin (France) 2006
Quite charming, plump, fleshy stuff with nice weight of fruit on the palate. The tannins come in and are very dry and a touch aggressive. Quite pure fruit at the core of this and should come good. 88-92

Croix de Taillfer (France) 2006
Bright, sweet, very ripe and bright, creamy fruit. The palate is very dense and has a certain blue/black fruit quality. There is a sweetness and richness here. Becomes quite chocolaty and sweet. 87-91

Sauternes and Barsac

Château Bastor Lamontagne (France) Sauternes 2006
Fresh, vivid nose of citrus and white fruit, with very little Botrytis. Fairly delicate palate, with some richness of apricot and peach, but again very little botrytis evident. Seems quite alcoholic, with powerful acidity. Not terribly seductive on this showing. 86-90

Château Broustet (France) Sauternes 2006
Quite a subtle nose, with not much Botrytis evident, but nice delicate leafy and tea-like notes. On the palate plenty of citrus, but there’s a slight lack of sweetness through the mid palate perhaps, and a slightly exposed, raw feel to the oak and alcohol. 86-90

Château Coutet (France) Barsac 2006
Very nutty amend toffeed with a soft oatmeally character and fine richness and texture. Fine acidity here still, but the whole picture is rich and sensuous, with very good balance. 91-95

Château Doisy Daene (France) Sauternes 2006
Marmalady and quite toasty, with very little botrytis evident. The fruit is nicely orangy and forward. On the palate there is nice thickness and richness, with a real fullness and hints of honey and sesame seed complexity. Good acidity, but perhaps not the length of some here. 87-91

Château Doisy Védrines (France) Sauternes 2006
Very nice nose that is rich and warming with honeyed and toffee tones. On the palate lovely richness and sweetness here, with plenty of pineapple and nectarine sweet juiciness, but only moderate botrytis. Good balance, elegance, and a very nice wine. 89-93

Château de Fargues (France) Sauternes 2006
Nice note of barley sugar and marmalade Botrytis here, with a peach kernel richness. Palate has a limpid texture and plenty of glycerine and sweetness. Very good texture here and a fine background of orangy acidity that adds plenty of cut. Quite powerful again, with alcohol quite significant at this point. 89-93

Château Filhot (France) Sauternes 2006
Big, pungent, rather volatile nose with botrytis and apricot coming through. There’s something rather resinous and raw about this, but it has a good concentration of smooth, waxy sweetness. Nice balance in the finish too and very happy to give this the benefit of the doubt as being a slightly awkward stage. 88-92

Château Rabaud Promis (France) Sauternes 2006
Quite nutty and closed, with good fruit but not a lot of botrytis. The palate has plenty of orange and citrus brightness, and there’s fine balance, but perhaps just lacking a little opulence. 88-92

Château Romer (France) Sauternes 2006
A bit of botrytis here, with a fairly straightforward, fruity nose. Palate has richness and a thick, apricot fruit and sweetness, with good acidity at the core. Fairly one-dimensional, but a nice wine. 86-90

Chateau Rieussec (France) Sauternes 2006
Fine nose, very delicate botrytis and lovely fruit. Orange and lemon, tealeaf and lovely finesse and balance. Long. 91-95

Chateau Siglas Rabaud (France) Sauternes 2006
Bright, clean, very tropical fruit though not a lot of botrytis. The palate has a decisive fruitiness, with a spangle brightness and juiciness and decent sweetness. A nicely punchy, vivid style, with plenty of marmalade and orange tang in the finish. Should be very good. 89-93

Chateau Suduiraut (France) Sauternes 2006
Quite light and lemony, with a deal of vanilla and some delicate nutty aromatics. Palate has fine, fine sweet flavours. Real concentration here and a lovely bitter orange tang. 91-95

Other Appellations

Beaumont (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Rich, fruitcakey nose, plenty of berry fruit and a cherry and raspberry brightness. Palate is dense and dry, with quite nice weight and texture, but a touch of dryness. Quite an elegant wine. 86-90 Belgrave (St Laurent) 2006
Lots of custardy new oak, with the vanillin quality adding to ripe, concentrated sweet fruit to give a plumpness and richness. The palate has a silky sweetness again, with the oak and very ripe fruit concentration. Tannins a re a touch furry and dry, with a rather chewy character, but the sweetness of fruit really does come through, which in this vintage is a treat. 87-91

Camensac (St Laurent)) 2006
Quite closed, with subdued black fruit. A touch of blackberry richness comes through. On the palate a shock of fine tannin again, but there is quite a nice, if lean character and balance. A fairly dry style, but good. 86-90

Cantemerle (Macau) 2006
Quite a nice chocolate and ripe berry fruit character. Oak is quite spicy and a touch custardy, and there’s a little floral lift in a fairly complex wine. On the palate this is quite creamy and sweet. There is nice fruit here, with a ripeness and sweetness that I like, and the tannins are well balanced, whilst drying and becoming quite chalky. Quite a lot of finesse here. 87-91

Citran (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Quite cedary and spicy, with good fruit. Slightly dry and lean, with a touch of dryness about the tannins and fruit. 86-90

Coufran (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Quite vivid black cherry fruit, with a bold, almost jammy character and a touch of cedarwood. On the palate this is quite silky, with the cassis and black cherry fruit nice and ripe and quite svelte. The tannins are a little chalky and over-dry, but this maintains its fruity character nicely and finishes with decent balance. An enjoyable, slightly lighter style, but has charm. 87-91

De Lamarque (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Quite plummy, with a little lifted cherry note offsetting quite deep, slightly pruney fruit. On the palate this has a nice depth of chocolate and black plum, juicy fruit. There’s a tartness and bittersweet quality that really persists and is equal to the tannins. A little coffeeish and spicy in the finish, this is really quite successful and has shrugged of the tannins of the vintage quite well. 88-92

La Lagune (Ludon) 2006
A little leafy, earthy note here that is very pleasant, with some warming, coffeeish oak and a nice background of plummy fruit. On the palate the chocolate and coffee richness comes through, and there’s a real juiciness to the fruit. Dry tannins begin to dominate, but the fresh acids and juicy fruit are good. 87-91

La Tour Carnet (Haut-Médoc) 2006
A touch of volatility? Certainly a bit of lift on the nose, which might be a raw oak character, but some cherry and cassis fruit comes through. Good fruit, but tannins overpower. Becomes very dry, and whilst there is some juiciness and sweetness, this becomes quite chalky in the mouth. Not a bad wine at all, but not quite the balance of some. 86-90

Malescasse (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Bold coffee and black fruits o the nose. Quite plummy and deep, with a little espresso richness. Quite flashy, but I like the plushness. On the palate really quite a vibrant core of plum and cassis fruit. Bittersweet, with a little dark chocolate and svelte, plummy fruit. Tannins quite ripe and fine, though powerful, and the spice and chocolate broaden out. Decent acidity too, in a powerful but quite rounded wine. 88-92

Preuillac (Médoc) 2006
Very nice bright fruit character with plenty of crisp, crunchy red berry fruit and a note of kirsch-like cherry. Nice bright-fruited palate too, with well managed tannins and a bit of fruit brightness. 86-90

Sociando Mallet (Haut-Médoc) 2006
Like the second wine, quite subdued and shy, but harmonious, with a compact, composed character. A little more creamy oak, and a lovely sweetness to the fruit. Concentrated and quite tight, with real grip to the tannins, but the tannins are fine and polished. The richness and sweetness of the fruit really builds through the finish, and a broad, plummy richness. With good acid structure behind this, a very promising wine 88-92

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