Médoc and Graves, 2006

2006 was a good to very good Bordeaux vintage, but with considerable variation in quality within and between districts. Not as good as 2005, but the equal of the 2004 vintage. A winemaker’s vintage and knowing your producers is key. Pomerol was the real star of the vintage.

The 2006 growing season was drier than average. It was very hot around harvest time, fuelling speculation that it could rival 2005, yet this was negated by heavy rains in the second half of September, which halted the ripening process and caused some rot. Those that prospered picked early (before the rains) and/or severely restricted their yields through crop thinning, plus strict blend selection.

Prices are generally down on 2005, although a relatively small crop amongst the left bank’s elite châteaux (similar to 2005) will ensure that their prices remain beyond the reach of most wine drinkers. Below this, there are some good values to be found.

2006 was a very good year for Bordeaux dry whites (particularly Péssac-Léognan), which were generally fresh and concentrated, having been picked before the rains during the warm spell that ripened grapes nicely. This followed a cool August, which gave grapes natural zest and acidity to balance. It was a difficult vintage for Sauternes, which experienced grey rot in September, although Château d’Yquem excelled.

The wines

The finest châteaux of the Médoc who could afford to thin their crop and severely select their fermented wine, made wines comparable to 1996 with high percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon – biggish on tannins and concentration, which should age for 20-40 years. 

Pauillac and Saint-Julien were particularly consistent. Below the elite châteaux the Médoc becomes a lottery, and those who chose not to restrict their produce (mainly for financial reasons) produced less rounded, more dilute wines, with far less character. Many of these wines are overpriced, especially given recent price hikes in great years like 2000 and 2005. In Pessac-Léognan there are some excellent reds and whites, thanks to early harvesting Merlot, which ripened perfectly before the September rains.

Médoc and Graves, 2006

2006 was a good to very good Bordeaux vintage, but with considerable variation in quality within and between districts. Not as good as 2005, but the equal of the 2004 vintage. A winemaker’s vintage and knowing your producers is key. Pomerol was the real star of the vintage.

The 2006 growing season was drier than average. It was very hot around harvest time, fuelling speculation that it could rival 2005, yet this was negated by heavy rains in the second half of September, which halted the ripening process and caused some rot. Those that prospered picked early (before the rains) and/or severely restricted their yields through crop thinning, plus strict blend selection.

Prices are generally down on 2005, although a relatively small crop amongst the left bank’s elite châteaux (similar to 2005) will ensure that their prices remain beyond the reach of most wine drinkers. Below this, there are some good values to be found.

2006 was a very good year for Bordeaux dry whites (particularly Péssac-Léognan), which were generally fresh and concentrated, having been picked before the rains during the warm spell that ripened grapes nicely. This followed a cool August, which gave grapes natural zest and acidity to balance. It was a difficult vintage for Sauternes, which experienced grey rot in September, although Château d’Yquem excelled.

The wines

The finest châteaux of the Médoc who could afford to thin their crop and severely select their fermented wine, made wines comparable to 1996 with high percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon – biggish on tannins and concentration, which should age for 20-40 years. 

Pauillac and Saint-Julien were particularly consistent. Below the elite châteaux the Médoc becomes a lottery, and those who chose not to restrict their produce (mainly for financial reasons) produced less rounded, more dilute wines, with far less character. Many of these wines are overpriced, especially given recent price hikes in great years like 2000 and 2005. In Pessac-Léognan there are some excellent reds and whites, thanks to early harvesting Merlot, which ripened perfectly before the September rains.

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  1. Château Calon-Ségur, 1996

    Château Calon-Ségur, 2006

    Saint-Estèphe, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2017-2035
    Reviewer Rating: 91 - Robert Parker

    "A success for the vintage, it exhibits fine density, moderately high but sweet tannins, and alluring texture, and fine purity."  Robert Parker

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    £77.50
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