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96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Aubert de Villaine and his team harvested their 2006 Montrachet on September 26, and it was bottled (as a single assemblage) at the end of 2007. High-toned peach, lemon oil, musk, and floral aromas mark the penetrating, ethereal nose. Smoky, peach kernel pungency weaves its way through nutty, peachy richness on the palate. Less obviously dense, rich and sappy than the extraordinary 2005, this 2006 for all of its sheer viscosity and ripeness, displays a dynamic, almost shimmering sense of fruit and mineral interplay. Intriguingly, in my initial -- November, 2007 tasting -- this effect was more pronounced from a barrel that had been rolled to disburse the lees than in one that had undergone conventional batonnage. The youthful 2006 reflects its new wood environment in a way that the 2005 -- at similar stages in its evolution -- did not. There is no lack here of the mystery that should be expected from one of the world’s most fabled and expensive wines, not just in the paradox of viscosity, richness and power combined with elegance, lift, and refinement; but also in nuances that left me groping the lexicon for animal or mineral descriptors. (12/2008)
96 points Allen Meadows - Burghound
As it was originally from cask, the 2006 Montrachet remains relatively discreet with almost shy white flower, grapefruit, mildly exotic orchard fruit and subtle spice notes trimmed in just the right amount of wood that lead to beautifully textured, pure, intense and focused big-bodied flavors wrapped around a firm acid spine and culminating in a wonderfully racy, dry, linear and mineral-driven finish. This is one of the more elegant and sophisticated vintages for this wine (much more so than the 2005 though it's not as big, rich and dramatic) and it's likely to be more of a Montrachet of finesse rather than overt muscle. I quite like this because even though it's ripe, there is a very firm acid skeleton that should allow the '06 Montrachet to age for a very long time though be at its peak in a decade. (7/2009)
96 points Wine Spectator
The nose announces toast, butterscotch and citronella notes. On the palate this white is immediate and vibrant, with lime, peach and mineral flavors, both expressive and seductive. Last year, I gave the 2005 Montrachet a perfect 100-point score, and the 2006 is more open and appealing at this stage, showing less of the intense mineral character of its predecessor. (Web Only--2012)
The Montrachet family consists of grand five Grands Crus grown in the two villages of Puligny-Montrachet and Chassagne-Montrachet. These two share the Montrachet and Bâtard-Montrachet appellations. Chevalier and Bienvenues belong to Puligny, Criots belongs to Chassagne. These Grands Crus are the most southerly of the Côte-d'Or, and lie between Meursault in the north and Santenay in the south. Their origins go back to the Middle Ages - the work of the Cistercian abbey of Maizières and the Lords of Chagny. The wines of Montrachet (pronounced Mon-rachay) came fully into their own in the 17th century. There is no argument : this is the finest expression of the Chardonnay grape anywhere on earth. The Grand Cru appellations date from 31 July, 1937.
The underlying rocks date from the Jurassic, 175 million years BC. Exposures lie to the east and the south. Altitudes: 265-290 metres (Chevalier) ; 250-270 metres (Montrachet) ; 240-250 metres (Bâtard, Bienvenues, Criots). In the " Climat " of Montrachet, the soils are thinnish and lie on hard limestone traversed by a band of reddish marl. In Chevalier, the soils are thin and stony rendzinas derived from marls and marly-limestones. In the Bâtard " climat " soils are brown limestone which are deeper and, at the foot of the slope, more clayey.
The power and aromatic persistence of these lofty wines demands aristocratic and sophisticated dishes with complex textures : « pâté » made from fattened goose liver, of course, and caviar. Lobster, crawfish, and large wild prawns, with their powerful flavours and firm textures, pay well-deserved homage to the wine and match its opulence. Firm-fleshed white fish such as monkfish would be equally at home in their company. And let us not forget well-bred and well-fattened free-range poultry whose delicate flesh, with the addition of a cream-and-mushroom sauce, will be lapped up in the unctuous and noble texture of this wine. Even a simple piece of veal, fried or in sauce, would be raised to heavenly heights by the Montrachet's long and subtle acidity.
Serving temperature : 12 to 14 °C.
2006 Harvest / A vigneron's challenge again !
At the time of this writing, the vineyards, relieved of their fruit, have begun to change colour. The soft October sun is caressing the red and gold hills. The villages are quiet again after the hubbub of the harvest. The streets are filled with generous fragrances coming from the wineries where fermentations are proceeding. The birth of this new vintage is a real pleasure to the senses !
The climatic conditions in 2006 were a little crazy and at first such a great source of anguish before restoring, against all expectations, our optimism and confidence, that they would deserve to be described in detail.
In brief, what did we see ?
- a long totally unusual heat-wave in July which had the effect of stopping the vegetative cycle of some vines, even though most of them showed their amazing ability to stand the stress.
- the coolest and rainiest August since 1986, favourable to botrytis that set in very early.
- in this strange scenario, what was the behaviour of the vineyards ?
In fact, after those extremes of heat, cold and humidity that succeeded one another in a scattered upside down order, a decisive factor appeared that brought the vintage towards a happy end : hot weather, without any rain at all, that from September 1st lasted for the whole month, except for a short stormy episode on September 23rd and 24th. These ideal conditions permitted the vineyards to efficiently use the water retained in the soil thanks to the rains of August and therefore to accelerate in a totally outstanding manner the ripening of the grapes. In September the sugar levels increased sometimes by almost 2 degrees in one week, especially during the third week.
Finally, the grapes that we picked were as ripe as in 2005. Of course the botrytis that had set in with the rains of August, but had stopped developing when the fine weather had returned, was still present. Lying in wait, it reappeared during the harvest on the bad stormy day of Sunday September 24th. Luckily, it was too late and the episode was too short, to cause real damage.
The year was therefore difficult, but it gave the vigneron the opportunity to make great wines, as long as he had used the right means to harvest ripe grapes before the botrytis did too much harm. First, the control of the yield was essential. The fine "Pinot Noir fin" which bears small clusters with small berries showed how its predominant presence is important in our vineyards, even though it was also necessary to thin the young vines at the time of the "veraison". In such climatic conditions, only low yields could first allow the vines to fight the heat and later the attacks of botrytis, then to obtain the precocious maturity that was necessary to enable us to harvest before the rain came back.
The "philosophy" of the harvest itself was a major factor in the quality of the grapes we brought in. An ultra-meticulous sorting was crucial in order to eliminate the botrytis. Our experienced team of pickers did a great job. Day after day, the work was done to perfection. In the vineyards, Gérard Marlot, our vineyard manager, who is about to retire, and his successor, Nicolas Jacob, admirably managed to maintain the vigilance of the pickers. Then in the winery, Bernard Noblet's team performed once again « haute couture » selection on the sorting table and put the finishing touches to the pickers' work.
In summary, the conditions were admittedly difficult, but excellent at the end of the growing season, which gave us the possibility to bring in ripe sugar-rich grapes.
We ourselves feel as though we adjusted everything as correctly as it was possible to do. First, regarding the date of the harvest - it was necessary to wait until the grapes were fully ripe, but to bear in mind that the rot was spreading. Then the yields had to be quite low and it was essential to have a final selection by the sorting of the grapes.
We harvested in the following order :
Richebourg ....................... 20th and 21st September
La Tâche .......................... 21st, 22nd and 23rd September
Romanée-Conti ................ 22nd September (morning)
Romanée-St-Vivant ......... 23rd and 27th September
Grands-Echezeaux ........... 25th September
Echezeaux ....................... 25th and 27th September
The Montrachet was harvested on the sunny morning of September 26th. The low yields and the amazing ripeness of the Chardonnay grapes, gold and juicy, full of sugar and slightly "botrytised" - just what is needed - should give a great 2006 Montrachet.
The yields of the red wines do not exceed 28hl/ha.
The beginning of the fermentations were rapid and spontaneous, the vinifications proceeded without any difficulty. The vatting lasted as usual, around 18 days.
It is too early to give a definitive opinion about the quality or to make comparisons with other vintages, but the first wines seem to come up to our expectations : the beautiful deep colours, the generous fragrances and the silky texture in the mouth promise wines with great finesse.