2006 Bordeaux

 

19FINE BUT IRREGULAR VINTAGE FOR BORDEAUX BUT VINTAGE OF THE CENTURY FOR BORDEAUX MUSHROOMS (CÉPES)!

Fine examples of Bordeaux ceps (Boletus edulis) - 2006 was vintage of the century for cepes!

After in every aspect perfect 2005 vintage, Bordeaux came down to earth in vintage 2006. Especially up to harvest and during the harvest, the weather was miles away from being advantageous for all districts in Bordeaux, and I could feel it during two weeks intense tastings in Bordeaux in April 2007.

DIFFICULT CONDITIONS

Winter 2006 was relatively calm and with moderate temperatures. However, March 2006 became the rainiest March in 30 years, while April and May experienced moderate rainfall and quite high temperatures for spring. June was unusually dry and hot, so flowering went quickly and as scheduled, and without any problems at all.

Until end of July, 2006 vintage looked like it would repeat last year's astonishing success, but then problems began creeping in. August became the coldest month compared with last 20 years average, without much sun and with very little rain.

September started with very hot, sunny and humid weather, followed by ten quite rainy days, and then came sunshine and hot weather again for the remaining days of September. October was unstable and mixed from the very beginning sunshine and rain.

Properties on Left and Right Bank, who got Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot into cellars by the end of September, did make the best wines. Others who waited, experienced an unstable October with both sun and rain, and this humid weather with temperatures around 25°C, resulted in outbreak of white rot on Cabernet Sauvignon, especially in Haut Medoc, Medoc and Graves, but not in every vineyard. Cabernet Sauvignon became not perfectly ripe all places, because this grape variety needed a dry period of at least one week in the beginning of October, and it didn't happen.

Winemakers in Sauternes & Barsac experienced big difficulties during harvest due to constantly changing weather conditions, and were forced to make a very effective selection of grapes. Rain and humid weather were so to say guilty of outbreak of sour rot – flies which transformed grapes to bad smelling (acetic acid), and made these completely useless. The harvest was quite long, but grapes collected in the last third of September, were probably of best quality.

As the only exception, harvest of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle for dry white wines went without any problems at all. All these grape varieties reached perfect ripeness and did keep freshness and aromas, because of the cold month of August.

20Main problem of 2006 vintage in a nutshell - white rot because of rain, high temperatures and very humid weather -  Cabernet Sauvignon seen in October 2006

FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE VINTAGE

2006 vintage will undoubtedly be a vintage, where terroir and winemakers skills and talent clearly shines through. You will find tannin bombs, refined and extremely elegant wines and thin ones among red wines everywhere in Bordeaux. Some proprietors tried sometimes too hard to compensate for the capricious weather and improve their wines by overextracting and using excessively much new oak. Some others waited too long with harvesting and ended with overripe grapes, which meant wines tasting of marmalade and having dry tannins.

Among dry white wines, some great ones can be expected, because it wouldn't surprise me with perfect harvesting conditions in memory, if some wines surpass their 2005 version. Sauternes & Barsac in 2006 vintage will be small in quantity and seems to fluctuate between vintages 2001 and 2004 in terms of quality at the best properties, but is otherwise quite uneven in the district.

Even if vintage 2006 generally is no match for its one year younger brother regarding intensity and richness of nuances, several properties did make as good wines as in vintage 2005 or in some cases better.

Maybe the explanation is, that these properties did underperform for some reason(s) in vintage 2005 and did'nt capitalize 100% on this vintage's incredible potential. But it seems, that these properties in question didn't put a foot wrong in vintage 2006!

Does 2006 resemble any previous vintage? Yes, IMHO it's generally speaking close to vintage 2004 in terms of style and quality, and the coming years will show, which one of these two vintages comes on top. I'm however quite sure, that vintage 2004 prices out vintage 2006.

Early rumours say that 2006 prices only will go down 15-20% compared with 2005 ones. IMHO, there's nothing that will justify this little reduction. It should rather be in the region of 40-50%, but if it's not going to be, Bordeaux wine trade will only have themselves to blame, when primeur sales don't go well. 2006 isn't by any means yet another vintage of the century!

On the funny side, it was quite an entertaining time for me to discover the huge harvest of Bordeaux ceps, when I visited Bordeaux in beginning of October 2006. I saw people selling ceps directly from stand on streets of Blanquefort (outskirts of Bordeaux) and several proprietors told me, that their employees passed to them many baskets containing ceps, because they already had enough of ceps in their homes. In some Saint-Émilion restaurants, I saw many different dishes accompanied by ceps! Francois Mitjavile, proprietor of Tertre Roteboeuf, told me, that he has never seen so big and fine harvest of cepes, as it happened in 2006! Certainly a vintage of century for ceps! ;-)

The following TNs come from tastings arranged by Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and from visits I arranged by myself. I've rated all wines according to 100 points scale.

Please notice, that Leoville Las Cases and Ducru Beaucaillou in Saint-Julien, Haut Batailley, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Pichon Baron and Pichon Comtesse in Pauillac, Calon Segur and Cos d'Estournel in Saint-Éstephe, Clos L'Eglise, L'Eglise Clinet and L'Evangile in Pomerol plus La Mondotte, Pavie and Pavie Decesse in Saint-Émilion, were not tasted for various reasons, mainly because of very tight tasting schedule I had and late withdrawal of some wines mentioned above from UGCB tastings.

PÉSSAC-LÉOGNAN

Red wines:

Haut Brion (57% Merlot + 41% Cabernet Sauvignon + 2% Cabernet Franc) and La Mission Haut Brion (59% Merlot + 40% Cabernet Sauvignon + 1% Cabernet franc), delivered both great performances in 2006, but were not as hedonistic as in 2005 . La Mission Haut Brion was full of dark cherries and blackcurrants added big portions of ripe tannins, densely knitted, rich and with exquisite structure, while Haut Brion had more aromas on the nose and tannins were rounder. Well deserved 94-95p for both wines.

Pape Clement. Was very oaky, strong and full-bodied on the palate but had plenty of fat blackcurrants to balance big amounts of tannin. Long aftertaste. Eminent wine. 92p.

Domaine de Chevalier, Ferrande, Latour Martillac, Malartic Lagaraviere and Olivier were all together pretty wines with catching aromas of black cherries and raspberries, full-bodied and well-structured, and with dazzling length on the palate. 90-91p.

Bouscaut, Carbonnieux, Les Carmes Haut Brion and Larrivet Haut Brion delivered goods in compact and complex style with delicious dark berries everywhere and long aftertaste. 90p.

Chantegrive, de France, Haut Bailly, Haut Bergey, La Louviere and Respide Medeville were on the light side, charming and seductive, with aromatic and tasty berries, plus nice balance. 89p.

Bahans Haut Brion and La Chapelle de La Mision Haut Brion offered dark cherries, fine fruit sweetness and also lovely structure and length. Well made second wines. 88-89p.

Smith Haut Lafitte. This wine was "covered" in new oak from top to toe and therefore incredibly difficult to assess. However, some considerably large amounts of ripe blackberries and cherries could be sensed out in the horizon. Will it manage to come out of "jail" in the nearest future? It remains to be seen. 88+p?

OK wines. Fieuzal and Picque Caillou. 85-86p.

Dry white wines:

Haut Brion and Laville Haut Brion are top wines of white Bordeaux, but quite expensive and rare due to huge demand. Laville Haut Brion was extremely full-bodied with apple and citrus on the nose and palate, refined and sophisticated. It had exquisite structure and splendid length on the palate. In Haut Brion, acidity was more present; otherwise it had same high quality as Laville Haut Brion. Stupendous wines. 94-95p.

La Louviere had aromatic and intense nose of apple and acacia flower, splendid structure, fine elegance and was very long on the palate. Impeccably made. 93p.

Larrivet Haut Brion and Latour Martillac reminded quite well regarding style about La Louviere, but were barely that intense. Beautifully crafted wines. 92-93p.

Domaine de Chevalier and Pape Clement impressed with freshness, splendid collaboration between aromaticly scented fruit (lemon/citrus, pear and peaches) and acidity, many nuances, lovely structure and long aftertaste. Well deserved 92p for both.

Fieuzal and Olivier offered freshness, roundness, elegance, aromas of apple and pear, and soft aftertaste. 91p.

de France, Haut Bergey and Picque Caillou presented soft and round texture and very nice interplay between fruit sweetness and acidity. All tasted just very nice. 90p.

Bouscaut, Carbonnieux, Chantegrive, Ferrande and Rahoul had aromas of grapefruit and apple, nice concentration and length, plus much charm. 88-89p.

Smith Haut Lafitte was in turn very much embossed by new oak and pronounced acidity. This wine will need time to get rid of sharp edges and become more balanced. 88-89p.

OK wine. Malartic Lagraviere. 85-87p.

SAUTERNES & BARSAC

d'Yquem. Presented incredibly refined botrytis and was superbly sophisticated on the palate. Best wine of the vintage in the district but was in no way as mind-blowing as 2005. 96-97p.

Climens. Was sublime everywhere with fabulously shaped botrytis and possessed sheer elegance and finesse. 95p.

Rieussec. This wine was easy to find in blind tasting with its sugary taste of spicy tropical fruit, big concentration and great depth. Stunning wine for the vintage. 94p.

De Malle. Formidably made wine, which by the way resembles quite a lot this property's fantastic 2001! Well shaped and incredibly deep noble rot with staggering aroma and taste of melon, mango and acacia honey. Very concentrated wine with fine fruit sweetness and corresponding acidity, sophisticated, long and with lovely structure. 93-94p.

Rabaud Promis. Was a big surprise with really strong botrytis, beautiful nose of acacia flower, mango and guava. Powerful, refined and stylish wine. 92-93p.

De Fargues. Very deep and intense noble rot, citrus peel, pear and acacia honey everywhere, strong and powerful on the palate with stunning balance. 92-93p.

La Tour Blanche. This property continues to impress. Beautiful and powerful botrytis, pineapple, melon, apricot and acacia flower on the nose and palate. Deliciously delicious. 92p.

Coutet, Doisy Daene, Lafaurie Peyraguey and Suduiraut were of same kind, aromatic fruit (pear and apricots) and very stylish. Well deserved 92p.

Raymond Lafon. Lighter than usual, elegant and with quite marked acidity, which matched fruit sweetness perfectly. Lovely structure and many nuances. 91-92p.

D'Arche, Doisy Vedrines, Lamothe Guignard, Nairac, Romer du Hayot and Sigalas Rabaud caught my attention with delicate and striking botrytis, fine nose of orange peel, apricot, apple and pear, lusciousness and fine balance. 90-91p.

Rayne Vigneau. It was extremely catchy with well tuned noble rot, aromatic, tasty and very charming. A real heartbreaker wine. 90p.

Bastor Lamontagne, Caillou, Filhot and de Myrat were alltogether well structured wines on the light side with nice botrytis and fine aroma of acacia honey. 88p.

OK wines. Broustet, Clos Haut Peyraguey, Guiraud, Romer and Suau. 86-87p.

MÉDOC

Haut Condissas. Exciting blend of dark berries and oak. Tasty. 88-89p.

La Tour de By. Flawless wine with tasty fruit, reasonably concentrated and harmonious. 88p.

OK wine. Greysac. 86p.

LISTRAC

Fourcas Hosten. Powerful and sappy with quite nice intensity of black and red berries. 88p.

OK wines. Clarke, Fonreaud and Fourcas Dupre. 85-86p.

MOULIS

Poujeaux. Exhibited deliciously parfumed nose of blackcurrants and cherries, fine depth and length on the palate. Well balanced and really well made wine. 90p. Chasse Spleen was just as expressive and fine as Poujeaux, but had more oaky character. Better than its 2005 version! 90p.

Maucaillou. Nice and uncomplicated wine with tasty berries and good length on the palate. 88p.

HAUT-MÉDOC

Belgrave, La Lagune and La Tour Carnet impressed a lot with very strong aroma of black cherries and blueberries, and superb balance between these dark berries and ripe tannin. There was lovely structure and comlexity on the palate too. All these three wines will be great value for the money, if prices are right. 91p.

Beaumont and Lamarque were flawless and quite nice wines, round, charming and fruity. 88p.

OK wines. Camensac, Cantemerle, Citran, Coufran and Malescasse. 86-87p.

MARGAUX

Margaux. This wine had a wonderful blend of elegance and finesse. The balance was exemplary, presenting perfectly ripe blackcurrants in great race with ripe tannins. Gentle wine work. Feminine version of the heavenly 2005. 94-95p.

Palmer. Did really challenge Margaux with its powerful performance. It was packed with ripe blaccurrants and raspberries, and had plenty of nuances and refinement. Extremely stylish and gracious, and therefore so typical for the commune. 94-95p.

Kirwan. Has been on the rise in recent vintages. The wine here bursted with confidence with extremely aromatic and powerful nose of black cherries. It was impressively composed and long on the palate. Delicacy rated 92p.

Dauzac, Rausan Segla and Siran were extensively aromatic, intense and tempting wines with fine depth and complexity. Delicious stuff. 91-92p.

Labegorce, Marquis de Terme and Rausan Gassies had captivating aromas of black berries, roundness and elegance. Fresh and vivid wines, and true heartbreakers. 91p.

Giscours. Black red. Did show the true "face" of Margaux commune with breed, finesse and sheer elegance. Lighter than usual. 90-91p.

Marojallia and Monbrison. Were almost exact copies of Giscours with more taste of oak on the palate. 90p.

Alter Ego and Pavillon de Margaux were delicate, tasty and incredibly charming wines. 89p.

OK wines. D'Angludet, Cantenac Brown, Durfort Vivens and Prieure Lichine. 86-87p.

Concerning Lascombes – the barrel sample was so oaky and tannic, that I was afraid of losing my teeth straight away. Therefore, I'll not be giving any score to this wine.

SAINT-JULIEN

Branaire Ducru. We did get here really pretty and intense aromatisk nose of black cherries, meaty and palate well layered with berry fruit. Fine balance and long aftertaste. Delicious wine. 92p.

Beychevelle and Leoville Barton delivered extremely fruity wines with fine aroma of blackcurrants and raspberries. Even if both wines tasted lighter than usual, they appeared elegant and charming. 90-91p.

Leoville Poyferre. Seemed to be well on the light side with spicy blackcurrants and cherries, harmonious, round and quite charming. Will it put on weight after some time in bottle? 89-90p.

Lagrange. This wine bursted with oak and had plenty of dark berries and tannin, which however was ripe and round. 89-90p.

Gruaud Larose, Langoa Barton and Talbot were all reasonably well made with tasty fruit and round tannin. 88p.

PAUILLAC

Lafite. Incredibly well balanced wine with silky blackcurrants and silky tannin,, Refined and sophisticated with many nuances. Diametrally different from the super concentrated 2005 version, but we still have high class here. 94-95p.

Batailley and Lynch Bages. Tremendously splendid wines with strong nose filled with blaccurants, pretty intense and deep, incredibly tasty with great finesse and sophisticated touch. Beautifully composed wines. 93p.

Pontet Canet was almost as dazzling as Batailley and Lynch Bages. Pure delicatesse wine. 92-93p.

Carruaders de Lafite, Clerc Milon, Duhart Milon, Haut Bages Liberal and Lynch Moussas offered roundness, nice cooperation between ripe berries and ripe tannin and quite some charm. 88-89p.

OK wines. D'Armailhac. Croizet Bages and Grand Puy Ducasse. 86-87p.

SAINT-ÉSTEPHE

Montrose. 2006 was made by completely new technical staff. Strong and distinct. Complete wine with stupendous structure, big depth and with beautiful balance between dark berries and fat tannin. It was obvious, that Jean-Bernard Delmas (ex-manager of Haut Brion and La Mision) "interference" lifted Montrose up considerably. Stunning wine. 93p.

Lafon Rochet. Presented firmness, oaky flavours and weight on the palate, but there also were enough of dark cherries and blackcurrants to balance strong tannins. It was superbly structured wine with fine length. 90-91p.

The tasty, lively, energetic and well balanced Cos Labory og Les Ormes de Pez got 89p.

Tronquoy Lalande. Same owner now as Montrose. Strong and powerful, spicy berries, quite nicely balanced. 88p.

Dame de Montrose. Sappy and delicate with some nicely tasting berry fruit. Pleasant wine. 88p.

OK wines. Haut Marbuzet, de Pez and Phelan Segur. 86-87p.

Jean-Bernard Delmas - now doing things in very proper way at Montrose - April 2007

SAINT-ÉMILION

Ausone. Probably the best wine of the vintage. A fabulous blend of sofisticated touch, refinement and elegance with incredibly sweet dark berries and silky tannins. Surely a lighter version of 2005, but what a wine! 96-97p.

Cheval Blanc. Lighter than usual. Wonderfully refined and elegant wine with great finesse. Beautifully composed. 94-95p.

Tertre Roteboeuf. Black red. Strong aroma of black cherries and blueberries, delicious fruit sweetness, silky tannins, refined and formidably structured. One more proof of Francois Mitjavile's incredible skills as winemaker. 94p.

Troplong Mondot. Barely so hedonistic and breathtaking wine as in 2005. Still, there were goodies for every taste. Full of black cherries and new oak. It needs time to develop some more roundness. 93-94p.

Pavie Macquin. Incredibly intense and strong on the nose and palate with black cherries everywhere, great sweetness of fruit here, which corresponded perfectly with fat and ripe tannin. This delicacy here is worth all 93p.

The powerful, beautifully shaped, nuanced and impeccably made Valandraud scored also 93p.

La Couspade. Impressed a lot with strongly aromatic dark berries on the nose and palate, lovely complexity and exquisite balance. Tremendous treat. 92-93p.

Angelus, Beausejour, Clos Fourtet and La Confession presented full-bodied texture, aromaticly scented blackberries and raspberries, strong backbone, big depth and fine length on the palate. Well deserved 92p for every wine here.

Balestard La Tonnelle, Cap de Mourlin, Destieux, Franc Mayne and Grand Mayne were all delicious wines in the elegant style, parfumed, full of blueberries/dark cherries on the nose and palate, with adequate new oak, harmonious and long aftertaste. 91p.

Bellefont Belcier, La Dominique, La Gaffeliere, Figeac and Magdelaine released violets, cherries, strong backbone and catchy elegance. Really charming wines, all of them. 90-91p.

Chapelle d'Ausone, Fonbel and Moulin St. Georges impressed with lusciousness, beautiful balance and dark berry fruit in silky package. 90p.

Barde Haut, Belair, Beau-Séjour Becot, Clos Dubreil, Clos de Sarpe, La Gomerie, Larcis Ducasse, Quinault L'Enclos and Trottevieille left a very positive impression with tasty black cherries, adequate amounts of tannin and strong structure. 88-90p.

Petit Cheval. Was a tad more loosely knitted than previous wines. 88p.

OK wine. Berliquet, Dassault, Canon-La-Gaffeliere, Larmande, La Serre and La Tour Figeac. 87p.

POMEROL

Petrus. Black red. Incredibly aromatic, sophisticated and incredibly well constructed wine. Huge amounts af dark cherries/blueberries and ripe tannin. The balance was completely breathtaking in this wine, but so was the length on the palate. Still, in my opinion, it's not better than 2005 version. 95-96p.

Lafleur and Trotanoy were not far behind the "king" (Petrus). They possessed hugely aromatic nose of dark berries like blueberries and blackberries, full-bodied, refined and having large amount of ripe tannin, with lovely balance and multilayered. Fabulous wines, even if they aren't as breathtaking as their 2005 version. 95p.

Vieux Chateau Certan. 75% Merlot + 25% Cabernet Franc. Extremely seductive and silky wine all the way. Fabulous lusciousness and breed. A huge success for the vintage, but not another 2005. Close call anyway. 94-95p.

Le Pin. Was just as impressive and tempting wine as Vieux Chateau Certan. 94-95p.

Certan de May and Hosanna were black red, largely intense and strong, with lovely complexity, lusciousness and fat ripe tannin. 93p.

La Croix St.Georges. Did erupt with aromatic and perfectly ripe berries plus ripe tannin. Powerful and full-bodied. Just entirely delicious wine. 92-93p.

Clinet, La Conseillante, Gazin and La Pointe was a quartet of splendidly tasting elegantier wines, incredibly fragrant, gracious and finesse loaded. 92p.

La Cabanne, La Fleur de Gay and La Fleur Petrus followed immediately after with more oaky character and firmness 91-92p.

Latour-á Pomerol and Certan Marzelle offered well-proportioned wines with dense texture, ripe berries and violets, plus ripe tannin. These wines have a really nice future. 91p.

Bourgneuf Vayron. Looked like it often does as a powerful beast of a wine loaded with fruit and lusciousness, but also showing much more than a handfull of tannin. It needs time to soften. 90p.

La Providence. Was similar to Bourgneuf Vayron, but lighter and fruitier. 89-90p.

Romulus. Luxury cuvée af La Croix Taillefer - 100% Merlot. Very modern style with very ripe grapes, splendid balance and long aftertaste. 89p.

Feytit Clinet, La Grave, Lafleur Gazin, Pensées de Lafleur and Plince had a catchy fragrance of violets, blueberries and blackberries, were luscious and long on the palate. 89p.

La Croix de Gay presented ripe berry fruit, nice concentration and pleasant structure. 88p. Bon Pasteur had large amounts of new oak and tannin, and was therefore very difficult to assess. 88p?

OK wines - Beauregard and Petit Village. 86p.

LALANDE-DE-POMEROL

L'Ambroisie. Luxury cuvée from La Croix des Moines made from 70 years old vines made by Benoit Trocard. Intense og delicious aroma of black cherries. It was powerful wine, well structured and with soft and persistent aftertaste. Delicious wine. 89-90p.

La Fleur de Bouard. Loaded with tannin, but balance was OK. It had quite nice nose of ripe blackberries and raspberries. It needs time to develop more complexity 88p.

FRONSAC/CANON-FRONSAC

Fontenil. It was aromatic on the nose with black cherries, strong and powerful. Fine balance and depth. 89p.

Du Gaby, Moulin Haut Laroque and de La Riviere had distinct fragrance of dark berries and nice structure. 88p.

BORDEAUX/BORDEAUX SUPERIEUR/PREMIÈRES CÔTES DE BORDEAUX

20 Mille from super duper winemaker Jean-Philippe Janouiex (La Confession) is 100% Merlot from 6 years old vines planted close to Croix Mouton. 20.000 vinstokke per ha. Strong and firm wine with fine tannins, splendid balance and long aftertaste. 89-90p.

Croix Mouton and Le Conseiller from same winemaker were pretty wines for the vintage with luscious and fragrant dark berries and lovely structured. 88-89p.

Marjosse. Pierre Lurton's (d'Yquem and Cheval Blanc) own wine. Fragrant wine with violets and raspberries, harmonious and tasty. 88p. Domaine de Courteillac and Reynon were similar to Marjosse. 88p

Pavillon Blanc. White wine of Château Margaux was a real stunner! Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc and from yield of 13 hl/ha. Fat, concentrated and full of lemon, apple and pear flavours. Exquisite balance and very long aftertaste. 91-92p.

CÔTES DE BOURG

Roc de Cambes. Dark red. It had beautiful aromas of blackberries and black cherries, splendidly structured and harmonious. Francois Mitjavile's brilliant skills as winemaker are pretty obvious here! It's a big success for the vintage. 90p.

CÔTES DE CASTILLON

Joanin Becot and Veyry. Pleasant wines with perfumed and tasty dark berries, well composed and with round aftertaste. 88p.

UNLESS STATED OTHERWISE, ALL WINES LISTED BELOW WERE TASTED ON THE 5TH SEPTEMBER 2007 IN COPENHAGEN

2006 D'AIGUILHE: Strong, earthy and tannic. Not fully in balance. It needs time to get round and charming. 88p.

2006 D'ARMAILHAC: Very nice nose of faffled cocoa and chocolate, pleasant and very charming. Nice intensity, balance and length. Already very enjoyable. 89p.

2006 ANGELUS: This wine presented full-bodied texture, aromatically scented blackberries and raspberries, strong backbone, big depth and fine length on the palate. Should give much enjoyment from 2012 and continue in 15 years. Well deserved 93p for this excellent wine. Same impression in September 2009.

2006 LES ARUMS DE LAGRANGE white: Fruity and round wine, crisp, tasty and pleasant. Aromas of lemon, citrus and apples, fresh acidity. 86p.

2006 BASTOR LAMONTAGNE: Fine botrytis, mango flavour, nicely composed but light. Will drink nicely from 2009. 88p.

2006 BEAUREGARD: It showed more concentration and more power than 2004 version, but wasn't yet in full balance. Needs time to become more round and softer. 88p.

2006 BEYCHEVELLE: It delivered extremely fruity wine with fine aroma of blackcurrants and raspberries. Even if this wine tasted lighter than usual, it appeared elegant and charming. 2010-2020. 91+p.

2006 BRANAIRE: Black red. We got here really pretty and intense aromatic nose of black cherries, and meaty palate well layered with berry fruit. Fine balance and long aftertaste. Delicious wine to keep in the next 12-18 years. 92p. Same impression in September 2009. Tasted a bit lighter in September 2010 so rating is now 91p.

2006 CAMENSAC: Not that tannic and disjointed as it tasted in April 2007. It was finely composed and tasty wine with fine complexity and fine balance. 2010-2016. 88p.

2006 CANON-LA-GAFFELIERE: This wine was quite an improvement from tasting it in spring 2007, when tasted in September 2007. It was marked by oak and with much extract, and it appeared as full-bodied and tight wine with long taste. It needs time to soften. 90p.

2006 CANTEMERLE: Vast improvement here in terms of concentration and balance, just as it happened for Camensac 2006. 89p.

2006 CHASSE SPLEEN: It was just as expressive and fine as 2006 Poujeaux, but had more oaky character. 90p. 2010-2020.

2006 LA CLÉMENCE: Black red. It was strong wine, powerful and long on the palate, with gobs of perfectly ripe Merlot. Aromatic dark cherries and truffles. Splendid effort for the vintage and one to keep for 10-15 years. 92p.

2006 CLERC MILON: Aromatic, deep on nose and palate, classic style, chocolate, fine balance and finish.. Just splendid. 91p. Tasted in September 2010.

2006 CLOS FOURTET: It showed full-bodied texture, aromatically scented blackberries and raspberries, strong backbone, splendid balance, big depth and fine length on the palate.Splendid effort for the vintage and well deserved 92p. One to keep for 12-16 years. Same impression in September 2009.

2006 CLOS DE L'ORATOIRE: This wine left very positive impression with well-defined berry fruit, adequate tannin, strong structure fine balance and nice finish . 88p.

2006 DESTIEUX: From the owner of La Clemence. Delicious wine in the elegant style, parfumed, full of blueberries/dark cherries on the nose and palate, with adequate new oak, harmonious and long aftertaste. Enjoy it from 2011. 91p. Three years later (September 2010), it was more tannic and earthy but still fine quality. Same rating.

2006 DOMAINE DE CHEVALIER red: Black red. It showed catchy and aromatic nose of blackcurrants, deep and splendid structure. Meaty and intense wine with fine balance and long aftertaste. Much better appearance than in April 2007. 92+p.

2006 DOMAINE DE CH EVALIER white impressed with freshness, splendid collaboration between acidity and aromatically scented fruit in shape of lemon/citrus, peach and apricot, many nuances, lovely structure and long aftertaste. Should last for 12 – 20 years without any problem. Well deserved 92p.

2006 DURFORT VIVENS: Also this wine presented a vast improvement from tasting it in April 2007. Aromatic and catchy nose of violets and dark berries, meaty and racy on the palate. Well-made wine. 90p.

2006 FERRIERE: Delicate, sweet fruit, fine structure and well balanced. This is a pretty wine, which can be enjoyed with a big smile. Makes friends very quickly. 2009-2015. 90p.

2006 LES FIEFS DE LAGRANGE: Delicious, elegant and very charming. It was very enjoyable and tasty wine. 87p. Same impression in September 2010.

2006 FOMBRAUGE white: 60% S.Blanc + 40% Semillon). Same soil as La Tour Carnet blanc. Vivid and fresh with delightful flavours of acacia flower, peach, pear and citrus. Pretty nicely composed, well-balanced and tasty. delicious. 89p. Tasted in November 2009.

2006 LE GAY: Fresh, lots of cherry flavors, rich and with excellent structure. Brilliant wine for the vintage. 92p. Tasted in October 2007.

2006 GISCOURS: Black red. Did show the true "face" of Margaux commune with breed, finesse, pure elegance and long finish. Lighter than usual. 91p. Same impression in September 2009. Seemed to improve substantialy in September 2010, showing strong and powerful attitude. Tight, very flavorful, fine balance and long finish. Splendid wine worth 93p rating.

2006 GRAND PUY LACOSTE: Strong wine with luscious berries, classic Pauillac style with superb depth, structure and length. Really well put together! It was formidable wine. Same impression in September 2009. 92p. Same impression in September 2009.

2006 GUIRAUD: It hadn't change since April 2007. Closed and not giving much insight in its ingredients. We wait and see. 88+p?

2006 HAUT BAGES LIBERAL: It offered fine concentration, roundness, nice cooperation between ripe berries and ripe tannin and quite some charm. Catchy wine. 89p.

2006 HAUT BAILLY: Dark red. A wine with very mineral flavours, ripe berries, fine structure and fine depth. It improved considerably since I tasted it in April 2007. Well-made and a one to keep for the next 10-15 years. 90+p.

2006 LABEGORCE: It had captivating aromas of black berries, roundness and elegance. Fresh and vivid wine and a true heartbreaker in the next 8-12 years. 91p.

2006 LABEGORCE ZEDE: Similar appearance as Labegorce 2006. 91p.

2006 LAGRANGE: This wine bursted with oak and had plenty of ripe dark berries plus ripe and round tannin. 89-90p. More impressive when tasted in September 2010. 90p.

2006 LATOUR MARTILLAC: Nice concentration and bite, splendid balance, fine depth and length. Well made and thoroughly splendid wine. 90p. Tasted in September 2010.

2006 LEOVILLE POYFERRE: This wine still seemed to be well on the light side with spicy blackcurrants and cherries, harmonious, round and quite charming. Will it put on weight after some time in bottle? 89-90p. Yes it did! It was a different story in September 2010 - tight, lot of flavors, very concentrated with plenty of ripe berries, splendid structure, long finish. Splendid wine worth every inch of 93p.

2006 MARQUIS D'ALESME BECKER: Fat and meaty wine with silky fruit and considerable finesse. 88p. Tasted in September 2009.

2006 PAPE CLEMENT white: Incredible intensity of acacia flower, apple and lemon gras flavours on the nose. Strong and powerful on the palate with fabulous depth and finish. A bit modern in style I don't really care! Stunning performance. White Bordeaux on a very, very high note. 95p. Tasted in November 2009.

2006 PETIT VILLAGE: This wine did vastly improve since tasting it in April 2007. Quite powerful, meaty, fine dark berries and ripe tannin, and nice balance. It will even be better from 2010. 88+p.

2006 PHELAN SEGUR: This wine was rather subdued, too oaky and too tannic. But the fruit was clearly there and it will take some time for this wine to be round and approachable. 88p.

2006 PICHON BARON: Dark red. Very concentrated wine with fat fruit and ripe tannin in close dance. It had semi modern style with fruit sweetness, power and strong structure. In all, this wine showed fine quality. 91p. Same impression in September 2010.

2006 PONTET CANET: Tremendously splendid wine with strong nose filled with blaccurants, pretty intense and deep, incredibly tasty with great finesse and sophisticated touch. Beautifully composed wine. 93p. Was as impressive in October 2007 when tasted at the property.

2006 POUJEAUX: As profound as in April 2007 and maybe even better now. It exhibited deliciously parfumed nose of blackcurrants and cherries, fine depth and length on the palate. Well-balanced and really well made wine. 91p. Barely exiciting in September 2009 - seems like another wine in the bottle! 87p.

2006 SMITH HAUT LAFITTE red: This wine was "covered" in new oak from top to toe in April 2007 and therefore incredibly difficult to assess. However, it seemed in September 2007, that this wine "lost" considerable amount of tannin and started to show ripe blackberries and cherries. Still, it needs time to become round. We have to wait for additional 5-7 years. 91p.

2006 SUDUIRAUT: Beautiful and powerful botrytis, pineapple, melon, apricot and acacia flower on the nose and palate. Deliciously delicious. 93p. Same impression in September 2010.

2006 DU TERTRE: A bit lighter than expected. Elegant wine with good length, but obviously lacking some grip and concentration. Maybe it will improve in bottle. 87p. Same impression in September 2009. Same transformation to the better when tasted in September 2010, as it happened for 2006 Giscours. Splendid aromatic touch, elegance, finesse and smooth aftertaste. 90p.

2006 LA TOUR CARNET red: One of the best quality for price in Bordeaux and it rarely disappoints. I have a very pleasant memories of 2001, 2004 and 2005.
Very intense on the nose with ripe berries flavours (blackcurrants, raspberries and black cherries), beatifully balanced, luscous, shows fine concentration and a splendid shape overall. Extremely tasty wine which makes friends immediately. 91p. Tasted in November 2009.

2006 TROPLONG MONDOT: Full of black cherries on nose and palate, aromatic, great complexity, structure and balance. Long finish. Excellent wine. 94p. Tasted in September 2010.

2006 VALANDRAUD: This wine presented itself even better than in April 2007. It has gained more richness and depth. High-class wine for the vintage. 94-95p. Tasted twice - last time in October 2007. Consistent notes.

2006 VIEUX CHATEAU CERTAN: Silky, aromatic, awesome structure and length. As impressive in bottle as it was from the barrel. 94-95p. Tasted in March 2009.

Latest news

2016 VINTAGE IN BORDEAUX - INDEED THIS VINTAGE HAS ALL THE COMPONENTS TO BE A FANTASTIC VINTAGE. MANY PLACES 2016 HAS POTENTIAL TO BE BETTER THAN 2015 AND CLOSE TO 2010. DURING TWO WEEKS IN APRIL 2017, I'LL FIND OUT IF EARLY PROMISES TURN INTO GREAT DELIGHT, WHEN I*LL TASTE AROUND 350 BARREL SAMPLES OF 2016 VINTAGE. STAY TUNED!

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HOW DID LESSER REDS FARE IN 2014 VINTAGE? WHAT ABOUT LESSER DRY WHITES IN 2015 VINTAGE? PLEASE CHECK OUT "Grand Cercle tasting of 85 red vines in 2014 vintage and 20 white dry wines in 2015 vintage" IN THE CHAPTER "HORISONTAL AND VERTICAL TASTINGS"

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THAT'S THE WAY TO CELEBRATE 70TH BIRTHDAY - CHECK OUT THE ARTICLE WITH SAME TITLE IN THE CHAPTER "HORISONTAL AND VERTICAL TASTINGS"

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HERE ARE MY TOP TEN WINES OF 2016

1. Montrose 1990 100p 2. Latour 2000 100p 3. Lafleur 2000 100p 4. Le Pin 1990 99p 5. Cheval Blanc 1990 99p 6. Lafite 2000 99p 7. Montrose 2010 99p 8. Yquem 1986 98p 9. Tertre Roteboeuf 2000 98p 10. Certan de May 1982 98p