2006 is an excellent Vintage, but will remain in the shadow of 2005 for sometime. Tasting 2005’s against the new vintage, the consistency of quality of 2005 vintage shone through. If you take 2005 and 2000 out of the picture, 2006 is as good as any vintage since 1990.
The Growing Season
A successful flowering of fruit set and a warm and sunny June and July was followed by a dreary August with below average temperatures. A fine spell in the first 10 days of September turned a potentially mediocre vintage into one of good quality. Heavy rainfall between 10th and 15th of September resulted in a rapid increase in berry size and a fall in sugar levels. Generally dry and sunny weather for the rest of September and up to the 10th October, enabled the harvest to be gathered under excellent conditions, where the health of the grapes allowed a relaxed approach to harvesting. Only well maintained vineyards on the better sites were able to cope with the difficult, fluctuating conditions. Overall the grapes were ripe, often with the same high sugar levels as in 2005.
The vintage is at its best as in the heart of Medoc, in St Julien and Pauillac, in the Northern Graves (only sporadic rainfall) and on the free draining slopes and gravel beds of St Emilion and Pomerol. The best wines are to be found on the finest terriors and in those appellations renowned for their charm. In general most Chateaux have made wines richer and more concentrated than in 2004 and 2001 and are certainly riper than 2002. The tannins are firm and will remain so for some time. The Medoc’s are similar to 1996, a classic vintage that will require patience. The result of vigorous selection of the grapes harvested has resulted in volumes considerably below 2005 vintage.
Château Haut-Brion, 1er Grand Cru Classé, Pessac-Léognan, Bordeaux, France, 2006
Grapes: 57% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc grown on 53ha of gravel and quartz, pebbly soils (48ha are red, the rest...
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