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2006 Bordeaux Horizontal

Tasted September 27, 2021 by englishman's claret with 133 views

Introduction

The aim of this tasting was to have a 15-year-on survey of Bordeaux from each appellation. To recapitulate the key climatic elements of the vintage (largely drawn from Jancis Robinson’s piece in the FT):
- Winter was cold and wet, not unwelcome given the preceding drought year and the need to replenish water tables.
- Rainfall abruptly reversed with a very dry April-July
- June and July were hot - hot enough in some vineyards to halt the vegetative cycle in July.
- August was cool and wet, deficient in sun (Sunshine hours 225 vs average 242 and rainfall was 22% higher than average)
- After a good start to September, it rained… and rained (150mm rain in 2 weeks in St Emilion; daily rain 9/11-9/18 and 9/21-24)
- warm temperatures and precipitation made rot a serious obstacle
- Most successful wines picked late September - early October; a late season yet understandably some under-ripeness might be expected as vines were at risk for shutting down in July heat but had not received Clement August or September weather. The caveat here being that Pomerol and whites ripened (and picked) before September rain.

Flight 1 (8 notes)

Red
2006 Château Palmer France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
93 points
The composure of the 2006 Palmer belies the bizarre weather conditions that defined the vintage for so many. There’s no trace of dilution or underripeness. The mixed black and red fruit, violet tones, and warm cedar are entirely typical to Palmer, if without quite the intensity or complexity of better years. This is an attractive Palmer for drinking now and over the next 15-20 years. 93(+?)
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château Pichon-Longueville Baron France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
90 points
The best thing about the 2006 Pichon Baron is that it smells like a Pichon Baron with a nose of cassis and coal. And while there’s not too much detail or complexity here, there are at least those reassuringly familiar and enjoyable components. As with many of the 06s, the tannins here are properly grippy. Not the most sophisticated Baron, but it’s still a Baron so I cannot complain too much.
Red
2006 Château Cos d'Estournel France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
89 points
The 2006 Cos comes off as rather clumsy with a nose dominated by black fruit and muddy earth, the details smudged. When this hits the palate, it manages to be simultaneously searingly tannic and devoid of serious length, in this way perhaps best conveying the message of a wet September and a late harvest. 2006 was a hard year.
1 person found this helpful Comments (2)
Red
2006 Château Figeac France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
90 points
The 2006 Figeac expresses admirable freshness with its green peppercorn spice and while it has better delineated fruit in its red and black plum aromas than many of its 2006 left bank counterparts, it still comes off a bit light-footed for a vintage that was reputed to be reasonably good in Pomerol (and we are on the border at Figeac, after all).
1 person found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château Léoville Barton France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
92 points
The Léoville Barton is one of the successes of the left bank in 2006. It would be difficult to confuse this for a very good vintage of Léoville Barton, but on the strength of the purity of its fruit, the classically clean cedar it displays, and its persistence on the finish (without devastating tannin) there is something to be valued here.
3 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château Haut-Bailly France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
88 points
The 06 Haut Bailly is a bit opulent in its way, with anise, smoky black fruit, and a mild dearth of acid that leaves it feeling a little flabby. I wouldn’t hold these long term, but they should make for agreeable drinking in the right context over the next decade.
2 people found this helpful Comment
Red
2006 Château Trotanoy France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
92 points
I had higher hopes for the 2006 Trotanoy than were realized from tasting this bottle. It’s true that this doesn’t possess some of the real problems of many left bank 06s, but where the dense blackberry and black truffle nose has weight, I’m not sure it possesses commensurate energy. I would be inclined to hold these another 5-10 years, by which point I expect it to develop into a good but not great example of Trotanoy.
4 people found this helpful Comment
White - Sweet/Dessert
2006 Château Climens France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac
93 points
I’m a vintage purportedly as difficult for Sauternes as for reds, the Climens stands out - a beacon of fresh, lemony, orangey purity with delicious acid and medium botrytis. Such a pleasure to drink and, owing to its excellent balance, this should age beautifully. Drinking now for those who enjoy young Sauternes, best held another 10 years for those waiting for tertiary nuance.
2 people found this helpful Comment

Closing

2006 was a difficult vintage, the weather proving utterly contrarian from July on. Alas, the wines show it. Some are more successful than might be imagined from such a difficult year, but it’s easy to place 2006 in the bottom 3 vintages of the decade, along with 2002 and 2007. Even from Figeac and Trotanoy - which should have been the least marked by the vintage - the wines seem only good “for the vintage” rather than standing on their own alongside wines from stronger years.

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