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Bordeaux 2006 - part I

by Tom Cannavan

Top Tens

Ten Best Wines - Top 10 Potential Values - Top 10 on a Budget

Ten Best Wines

Very tough to narrow this down to 10. There are others wines that scored as high a mark as some included here, but this is a personal list of my 10 best wines - the ones I'd most like to have in my cellar.

Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 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

Haut-Brion Blanc (Pessac-Léognan) 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

Pétrus (Pomerol) 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

Trotanoy (Pomerol) 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

Cheval Blanc (St Emilion) 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

Ausone (St Emilion) 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 Petrus. 92-96

Latour (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

Mouton-Rothschild (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

Lafite (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

Valandruad (St Emilion) 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

Ten Potential Best Values

Not necessarily inexpensive wines, but wines I believe might represent good value for money.

Batailley (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

Lynch Bages (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

Léoville-Poyferré (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

Talbot (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

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

du Tetre (Margaux) 2006
Quite bright, attractive, deeply fruity and blackcuranty 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

Coutet (Sauternes) 2006
Very nutty, almondy notes with a 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

Lafleur Petrus (Pomerol) 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

La Conseillante (Pomerol) 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

Prieuré-Lichine (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

Ten Best Wines on a Budget

Great wines that should be relatively inexpensive - say between £100 to £150 per case (roughly £10 - £15 per bottle including taxes). Of course, price are not released as yet and I may be guessing badly!

La Cabanne (Pomerol) 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

Lynch-Moussas (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

Belgrave (Médoc) 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

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 Chapelle de la Mission Haut-Brion (Pessac-Léognan) 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

Château Brown (Grave) 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

Moulin St George (St Emilion) 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

Siran (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 of 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

Fontenil (Fronsac) 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

Malescasse 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

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