For a list of all UK merchants offering Burgundy 2006, see wine-searcher.
Rosemary George’s vintage overview
In the Côte d’Or, Flowering took place in good conditions and the early summer was generally fine, July exceptionally hot, with some localised hail storms at the end of the month. August was cool and damp, affecting the size of the harvest and causing concern over potential quality. Fortunately fine weather returned towards the end of the month and lasted well into September. These challenging conditions tested the wine growers. The best are lovely, with freshness and fruit in both reds and whites, and in some cases remarkably ready to drink. The best reds, with a strict selection of the grapes, have no harsh tannins or greenness but an immediate appeal of ripe fruit and suppleness.
2006 is a good vintage in Chablis; July was very hot; August cooler and September warm and sunny. The grapes were ripe and healthy, for Nathalie Fèvre, the healthiest grapes since her very first vintage in 1988. Yields were slightly lower than average. If there is a criticism, acidity levels are lower than in 2004 and 2005. However, Dominique Gruhier from the Domaine de l’Abbaye du Petit Quincy in Epineuil, referred to ‘invisible acidity’ it is there, but nicely camouflaged by weight and fruit in the wine. We start with Chablis from Rosemary. Rosemary is arguably the world’s greatest authority on Chablis wines, her new book, The Wines of Chablis and the Grand Auxerrois having just been released, and being a comprehensive update of her seminal book, The Wines of Chablis, in the Faber & Faber series. Other notes from Natasha Hughes MW.
Chablis Union des Grands Crus
Domaine Nathalie & Gilles Fèvre Chablis grand cru les Preuses
Rounded, lightly oaky nose. Tight knit palate, with good fruit and a firm backbone. Ellis of Richmond – £34.95
Domaine William Fèvre, Chablis, Grand cru Bougros
William is distantly related to Gilles Fèvre, but the wines are have been made by Didier Seguier ever since the estate was bought by Champagne Henriot in 1998 and the wines are now exemplary. They are one of the largest producers of grands crus. Elegant nose and palate, with good acidity, and firm mineral fruit. £42 John Armit Wines, Richard Kihl, Fine & Rare Wines, In Vino Veritas
Domaine William Fèvre, Chablis, Grand cru Vaudésir
Firm mineral fruit on nose and palate, with an underlying elegance. Promises well for future development. £47 Lay & Wheeler, Howard Ripley, In Vino Veritas
Domaine William Fèvre, Chablis, Grand cru Preuses
Rich but elegant at the same time. ‘Riche dans la dentelle’ was Didier’s description, which translates rather clumsily into English as ‘richness surrounded by lace’. Certainly there was an ethereal note, combined with a lovely, long subtle finish. £47 Majestic, Richard Kihl, John Armit, In Vino Veritas, Fine & Rare Wines
Domaine William Fèvre, Chablis, Grand cru les Clos.
This is a much more substantial wine, with more rounded solid flavour on the palate as well as some underlying oak, balanced with good acidity. Another bottle that will reward ageing. £54 Majestic, Howard Ripley, John Armit Wines, In Vino Veritas, Fine & Rare Wines
Domaine Michel Laroche 2006 Grand cru Blanchots
The epitome of elegance, with light mineral notes and firm acidity. For the wine maker, Denis de la Bourdonnaye 2006 is both elegant and tender. Bibendum Wine Ltd. – £275.00
Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis, Grand cru Vaudésir
Firm solid oak on the nose, with more delicate integrated oak on the palate, balanced by good acidity and an elegant finish. £27 – Rugby Wine; Italian Continental Stores; www.everywine.co.uk; Noel Young Wines; PW Amps; Boutinot Ltd.
Domaine Servin Chablis, Grand cru, Preuses
Rounded hazelnuts on the nose, indicating a hint of oak, but no, this wine is matured in vat. Such is the chameleon character of Chablis. The palate is solid and rounded, and the wine should age well. (No stockists yet – 2004 at Corney & Barrow)
Domaine Simonnet-Febvre Chablis grand cru, Preuses
From an old Chablisien producer, which now belongs to Louis Latour. A clean sweep has radically improved the quality of the wine. Mineral herbal notes on nose and palate, with firm acidity, and no oak. An elegant finish. (No stockist yet. 2004 £32 from Handford Wines) Shipped by Louis Latour ltd.
La Chablisienne Chablis grand cru le Fief de Grenouilles
Contrast of 2006s, with the Fief from 30 year old vines with less oak treatment than the Château, with vines an average of fifty years old. Delicately oak, with an elegant palate
La Chablisienne Chablis grand cru Château Grenouilles
More solid and structured, with more depth and a firm finish of acidity as well as oak. £29.99
Château Long Depaquit Chablis Grand cru Vaudésir
Quite a firm, elegant nose, with herbal hints. Firm minerality on the palate, with a tight knit structure and fruit. £32 Four Vintners; Soho Wine; Harrison Vintners, Laytons
Domaine Gérard Tremblay Chablis Grand cru Vaudésir
Rounded nutty nose; quite a solid rounded palate, with nicely integrated oak. Should develop well. £22.00 Caves de Pyrène; Ex Cellar – Ashstead
Chablis at SOPEXA
Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Bourgogne Kimméridgien
Firm mineral fruit; palate more expressive than nose, with an elegant finish. Compare with Jurassic and Portlandien, as expressions of the three different soils of Chablis – £7.79, House of Townsend
Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis la Boissonneuse
Julien Brocard’s biodynamic vineyard, with broader, richer flavours than the classic Brocard Chablis, but with balancing acidity on the finish. £12.50 to £13.99, Adnams, HT White, Gerard Seel.
Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis ler cru Montée de Tonnerre
A rounded flinty nose, with a solid palate and good mouthfeel and weight. Good acidity. Laytons in the spring @ £155.00 IB
Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis Domaine Fourrey et Fils
An estate in Milly that is new to me. Rounded mineral nose and palate, with a good depth of flavour and firm acidity. Stone Vine & Sun – £9.75
Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard Chablis ler cru Vaudevey Domaine des Malandes
Quite a delicate nose, rounded leafy mineral notes, with firm fruit and good acidity. An elegant finish. Should develop well. £10.59 – Averys of Bristol; George Hill, Loughborough; Oxford Wine Co.
Domaine Les Temps Perdus Saint-Bris Vieilles Vignes
A relatively new estate in Préhy, created by Clotilde Davenne, the previous winemaker chez Jean-Marc Brocard The Sauvignon appellation of Burgundy. Solid round concentrated fruit with a minerality that is quite different from Chablis. – Genesis Wines – £8.50
Berry Brothers and Rudd (NH)
What impressed me most about the range on offer at the Berry Bros’ tasting was that there was something there to suit every palate and every pocket.
Les Heritiers du Comte Lafon, Mâcon-Chardonnay, Clos de la Crochette
(£108). A really nice, ripe Mâconnais, with plenty of toasted nuts, apple and pineapple on a palate notable for its buttery texture. Although the acidity isn’t particularly high, the wine is well balanced, rich and persuasive. A good entry-level white.
Jean-Philippe Fichet, Meursault, Le Tesson
(£330). There’s a clean minerality to this wine, but you’ll have to dig beneath ripe layers of peach and lime fruit to get to them. The lively acidity helps to cut through the weighty, mouthfilling texture. At the moment the oak is a bit gawky, but everything should eventually pull together into a seamless whole.
Château de Puligny-Montrachet, Puligny-Montrachet
(£288). Intense, opulent butterscotch, apples and tropical fruit, with a twist of pink grapefruit, dominate on both the nose and the palate. The clean, fresh acidity has a limpid quality, helping to balance out the ripe concentration of the fruit and extending the flavours out on a long, haunting finish.
Domaine David Clark, Bourgogne Rouge
(£108). This was an interesting(and reasonably priced) range of wines shown by a relatively inexperienced Scottish winemaker who used to be a trackside engineer for the Williams racing team. Frankly it was a toss-up as to whether to recommend this wine or the entry-level Bourgogne Passetoutgrains (£84). The Bourgogne shows brisk, crisp cherry and raspberry fruit with a hint of spice. The tannins are good and grippy without being aggressive and the acidity is spot on.
Domaine du Clos de Tart, Clos de Tart, Grand Cru
(price on application but expected to be in the range of £1,600-1,800) From the ridiculously cheap to the sublime. If you’ve ever wondered why all the fuss is made about Burgundy, a mouthful of this wonderful, haunting, elegant wine should help resolve the issue. I was lucky enough to taste this wine three times over the course of the week and each time was knocked out by it.
Nicolas Potel, Vosne-Romanée, Les Petits Monts, 1er Cru
(£288). Nicolas Potel told me he thought that Vosne was the village of the vintage, and on the evidence of this wine I’m inclined to agree. Lovely ripe raspberry, redcurrant and red cherry fruit lies at the wine’s core, and it’s balanced out by supple, ripe tannins and crunchy acidity, all segueing into a really pleasant finish.
Sylvain Cathiard, Vosne-Romanée
(£300). The quality of the wines from Vosne-Romanée was also apparent in this offering from Sylvain Cathiard. A heady, perfumed nose showed raspberry and redcurrant fruit tinged with violets, and there was an additional strawberry element on the pure, dense palate. The palate also showed an elegant silkiness, and a lovely long finish rounded off the package nicely.
Bibendum Wines (NH)
Part tasting and part rugby scrum, the Bibendum tasting was the busiest, loudest tasting of the week. These weren’t the ideal conditions in which to taste and assess wines, but I managed to find some gems nonetheless.
Domaine des Forges, St-Romain Clos Sous le Château, Monopole
(£120). The wines from the Domaine des Forges were all great value, but this Bibendum classic was showing really well on the night. Good, crunchy acid livened up pear and apple fruit, with a touch of honeyed richness. Light, pleasing and surprisingly elegant for the price.
Domaine Morey-Coffinet, Chassagne-Montrachet Blanc, Les Houillières
(£175). The toasted nuts that showed on the nose betrayed the presence of oak, but it was well on the way to being integrated into a palate of limpid, peachy fruit. There’s a seam of minerality in there too that extends into the long, fresh finish.
Domaine Robert Arnoux, Vosne-Romanée, Les Chaumes, 1er Cru
(£410). Good, classic Burgundy, with a textbook silkiness to the palate and layers of ripe red berry and cherry fruit, spice and a floral note. The tannins are supple and ripe, and the acidity, will not huge, is nicely in balance with every other component. There’s a mineral smokiness in there too.
Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Chambolle Musigny
(£240). I loved all of Ghislaine Barthod’s Chambolle Musignys, but while you may have to wait a few years for the 1ers Crus to come round, the basic Chambolle Musigny is almost ready to go now (although I’d decant it for a couple of hours, at least, or be tempted to wait a while before hoeing into a full case). Light, elegant and ethereal in quality, the wine shows lovely red fruit, minerality and a floral character on the palate. The tannins are ripe, the acidity is fresh and the long finish is tinged with sour cherries.
Domaine Hudelot-Noellat, Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru
(£550). This was a classic Clos de Vougeot: expressive, complex and silky. Although the oak seems quite dominant at the moment, given a few years it should integrate nicely into the multi-layered palate of spice and red and black berries. The grippy tannins are there for the long haul too. Long, layered finish.
Corney & Barrow (NH)
Given that it was my seventh Burgundy tasting of the week, I had already tasted some of the star wines in the Corney & Barrow line up elsewhere.
Domaine Jean et Jean-Louis Trapet, Bourgogne Blanc
(£96). Sometimes all you want is a good, honest Chardonnay for everyday drinking and that’s what this wine offers. Clean, ripe lemon, grapefruit and apples, along with fresh acidity and a pleasant finish.
Domaine A & P de Villaine, Mercurey les Montots
(£160.56). Aubert de Villaine is, of course, the co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, but here he and his wife have made a far more affordable, juicy, fruit-driven Pinot for drinking in the short to medium term. Violets and red fruits, particularly strawberries, dominate on both nose and palate. The tannins are firm but ripe, and the zippy acidity brings the whole thing to life nicely. The white Rully les Saint Jacques is also pretty good.
Domaine Gilles Jourdan, Côte de Nuits Villages, la Robignotte
(£148). Although somewhat light in body, this wine shows some really pleasant raspberry and cherry fruit, along with spice and smoky mineral elements. Not overly complex, but a very pleasant, fresh wine with supple, ripe tannins.
Domaine Jean et Jean-Louis Trapet, Latricières-Chambertin, Grand Cru
(£590). Ranging from the simplicity of an everyday Bourgogne Blanc (see above) to the rich, multilayered opulence of this Grand Cru seems to be an easy stretch for the family team behind Domaine Trapet. This wine’s silky, opulent fruit is very attractive, but it cloaks a solid, muscular structure that should see this wine through the next 15-20 years with ease.
Genesis Wines (NH)
The whites showed a bit better than the reds at the Genesis tasting, but overall the tasting was pretty pleasing across a broad range of wines.
Domaine des Temps Perdus, Bourgogne Aligoté
(£54). You could be forgiven for mistaking this wine for a Chablis, thanks to the seam of stony minerality that runs through its palate. There’s a real richness to the melon and citrus fruit, brought to life by zingy acidity. This is a wine that punches well above its weight in terms of value for money.
Domaine Christophe Cordier, Pouilly Fuissé, Fine Joséphine
(£220). There’s more of minerals and oak than fruit on the nose of this wine at the moment, but although both are apparent on the palate, they’re balanced by dense fruit with elements of peach, melon and tropical fruit. The fresh, limpid acidity gives it all balance, and the oak should settle down in time. Very long.
Maison Deux Montille, Meursault Poruzots, 1er Cru
(£380). There were some lovely wines in Alix De Montille’s négociant portfolio, and I could easily have picked the Rully Les Clous 1er Cru (£147) or the Meursault Les Casses Tetes (£230), but I kept coming back to the concentrated richness of the Poruzots 1er Cru. At the moment the fruit is a bit muted and the oak is a tad gawky, but there’s a real promise of something special to come here.
Frédéric Magnien, Clos de Vougeot, Grand Cru
(£490). Although there’s plenty of oak packed into this wine, the fruit is big and brawny enough to take it on and win in the long term. If you give it time to come round, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in the dense, spicy violet, raspberry and cherry fruit, the tight-wound tannins and the long, cherry-tinged finish.
Domaine Confuron-Côtetidot, Gevrey Chambertin, Crapillots, 1er Cru
(£290). There’s an earthy, mineral depth to this wine that enhances its redcurrant, pomegranate and rose petal fruit, giving it depth and complexity. The oak is already on the way to being well integrated into the body of the wine, and the grippy tannins bode well for its future. A long, haunting finish.
Lay & Wheeler (NH)
To my mind, the whites showed way better than the reds at the Lay & Wheeler tasting – I was spoiled for choice when it came to making a selection. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that I had tasted many of the reds they were showing elsewhere – there’s certainly plenty of good red Burgundy producers in the line up. No prices are quoted in the Lay & Wheeler En Primeur brochure (so please excuse me if I end up having chosen the most expensive wines on the list!).
Domaine Hubert Lamy, St-Aubin, Clos de la Chatenière, 1er Cru
The nose is complex, with mineral, fruit, vegetal and oak aromas fighting for precedence. On the palate, however, this all resolves itself into very pure citrus fruit, minerality and oaky nuttiness. At this stage, the wine is restrained, almost austere, but the structure, underlying fruit and lengthy finish all promise well for the future.
Domaine Eric Forest, Pouilly-Fuissé, La Côte
An appealing, fresh, fruity nose. Zesty, vibrant acidity and a streak of minerality helps to offset the vivid grapefruit and orchard fruit on this wine’s palate. There’s a nice, supple balance to this wine and a good, strong finish.
Domaine Louis Carillon, Puligny Montrachet, Perrières, 1er Cru
Another wine that, while somewhat austere in its youth, promises much. Although oak rather dominates the nose at the moment, there are underlying layers of opulent citrus and peach fruit, as well as a stony minerality. There’s a lovely, luminous thread of acidity running right through the fruit and opening out into a long, mineral-tinged finish. I also liked Carillon’s village-level Puligny-Montrachet.
Domaine Darviot-Perrin, Chassagne-Montrachet, Blanchots-Dessus, 1er Cru
Dense and complex, with layer after layer of rich, ripe peach, apricot and citrus fruit, tinged with buttered toast, spice and a hit of oaky vanilla that should end up being completed integrated into the body of this voluptuous wine. Crisp, lively acidity helps to balance out the wine’s innate opulence. I could easily have recommended the producer’s Meursault, Genevrières, 1er Cru instead.
Domaine de Montille, Pommard, Pézerolles, 1er Cru
I’ve tasted lots of the de Montille wines over the past few days and I’ve been impressed with the quality of many of them. Picking the Pézerolles is, in a sense, a bit like sticking a pin in a map, but I really enjoyed its generous, easygoing ripe strawberry, cherry and spice fruit, its silky texture and its lively acidity. This is a gentle, voluptuous wine that should do well over the course of the next 10 years or so.
Domaine Humbert Frères, Gevrey-Chambertin, Poissenots, 1er Cru
The deep, rich ruby colour of this wine might lead you to expect a fair amount of extraction. Instead this was one of the most voluptuous, generous reds I tasted during the course of the week. Ripe, spicy dark cherries and berries are supported by ripe, supple tannins. The oak needs a bit more time to integrate fully, but the long, perfumed finish bodes well.
Justerini & Brooks (RG)
Vincent Dancer Meursault les Perrières, ler cru
(£375.00). Quite a tight knit firm nose, with some oak. A lovely elegant palate, very stylish, with good fruit and discreetly balanced oak.
Etienne Sauzet Bourgogne Blanc la Tufera
(£110). Elegant nose, with lightly leesy fruit on the palate, giving some depth of flavour. Good value.
Etienne Sauzet Bâtard-Montrachet, grand cru
(£1150.00). At the other end of the spectrum. Elegantly nutty oaky nose and palate. Complex palate with layers of stylish fruit. Rémi Rollin Corton Charlemagne grand cru
(£460.00). Lots of hazelnut fruit on the nose. A firm nutty palate, with layers of flavour and depth. Needs time.
Eric de Suremain: Rully Préaux ler cru
(£115). Medium colour ; fresh raspberry fruit on the nose, with rounded almost succulent fruit on the palate. Very appealing.
Vincent Dancer Pommard Perrières
(£175.00). Light colour. Quite solid, rounded oak on nose. Firm elegant oak on palate, with underlying raspberry fruit. Nicely balanced and promises well.
Bachelet Monnot Maranges, la Fuissière (red)
(£120.00). A new estate in Dezize les Maranges on the Côte de Beaune, with a firm vintage in 2005. Firm, tight knit nose, with fresh fruit and acidity on the palate, and lovely raspberry fruit. Medium weight.
Rémi Rollin Pernand-Vergelesses, sous le Bois de Noël et Ses Belles Filles
(£100.00). Fresh raspberry fruit on nose and palate, balanced by some firm tannins. An elegant finish.
Etienne de Montille Beaune Grèves ler cru
(£270.00). Firm liquorice fruit on the nose, with a rounded mouthfilling, quite dense palate, with good fruit and a long finish.
Ghislaine Barthod Bourgogne rouge
(£120). Some solid raspberry fruit on the nose. Fruit balanced by tannin on the palate and a lovely elegant finish. Very good value.
Etienne Grivot Vosne Romanée
(£220.00). Quite a light colour; lovely raspberry fruit on nose and palate. Mediumweight with an elegant finish.
Bruno Clair Vosne Romanée, les Champs Perdrix
(£295.00). Tight knit liquorice fruit with raspberry notes and some firm tannins. Promises well. From 65 year old vines.
Bruno Clair Bonnes Mares, grand cru
(£700.00). Vineyard adjoins Clos de Tart. Delicate raspberry fruit, with attractive vegetal hints on the nose. A lovely elegant rounded palate, with layers of flavour; depth and a long finish. Very expressive.
Lea & Sandeman (RG)
Chandon de Brialles Savigny les Beaune ler cru Lavières
(£190.00 duty paid). Light colour. Delicate fruit on nose. Lovely elegant palate, with spicey cherries.
Chandon de Brialles Corton Bressandes, grand cru
(£385.00 duty paid). Medium colour. More substantial spicy nose. A beautiful combination of elegance and concentration on the palate. Promises well.
For a list of all UK merchants offering Burgundy 2006, see wine-searcher.