"The 2005s are significantly higher in acidity than the 2006s as well as more concentrated," said cellarmaster Patrick Piuze, "but the 2006s may be more typical Chablis due to their balance. They're more minerally and less fruit-driven wines. They're not bombs but they have finesse, structure and personality." Piuze admitted that most of his colleagues in Chablis prefer their 2005s, but noted that this may be partly because there was less room for error in 2006 due to the narrow window for harvesting ripe, healthy fruit. (I also got the feeling that Piuze has taken the Brocard wines to a higher level in 2006.) He used very little press wine in 2006 as the pHs of this juice tended to be too high. Following quick alcoholic and malolactic fermentations, all the wines except for the Clos were racked in mid-February. Piuze planned to use a bit more CO2 than usual to retain maximum freshness. (Martine's Wines, Novato, CA)
Also recommended: 2005 Chablis Vieilles Vignes Domaine Sainte-Claire (86), 2005 Chablis Vau de Vey (86).
(this is the '06 version of the U.S. cuvee I called Malantes in last year's coverage of the 2005s) Musky brown spices, lemon and minerals on the nose. Fat, round and stuffed with lemon, flowers and minerals. Nicely framed by harmonious acidity. Finishes subtle and dry, with good mineral precision. This was more impressive than three other village wines under the Domaine Sainte-Claire label (Chichee, Chablis and Prehy), which showed more blurry flavors. On the other hand, Brocard's Bourgogne Kimmeridgien bottling, from fruit harvested late, showed lovely chalky, oyster shell minerality and impressive texture and length for its appellation, and seemed every bit as strong as the Malantes.
Lemon, lime, spices and a suggestion of green papaya on the nose. Rich, spicy and round, with very good palate presence to the ripe stone fruit flavors. The stony element gives the finish good cut.
Subdued but pure aromas of citrus and stone fruits, quinine and ginger. In a distinctly dry style, with very good intensity to the crushed stone and mineral flavors. Brisk acidity gives the lingering finish an impression of youthful austerity.
Slightly exotic aromas of peach and flowers. Fat, round and soft, with flavors of banana and spice. Finishes with good length but comes across as a bit generic.
Subtle pineapple and powdered stone aromas. Dense, rich and ripe, with very good intensity and breadth to the flavors of stone fruits, white flowers and ginger. The dusty back end features a repeating note of gingery minerality. "Twenty years ago, these vines rarely ripened their fruit," noted Julien Brocard.
(this was just being cold-stabilized) Aromas of lime and green papaya. Then soft and broad in the middle palate; a bit flat today as it's low in gas. A distinctly round style that seems ready for bottling. But does it have enough verve?
Pale color. Nuanced nose offers stone fruits, hay, flowers and spices. At once silky and juicy, with a brisk citrus character and sound acidity giving this an impression of youth. Not at all an exotic style of Fourchaume. The old vines and the early harvest date enabled us to keep good lemony acidity here, noted cellarmaster Patrick Piuze. Impressively backward.
Peach and dried fruits on the nose. Offers a very ripe fruit character, but harmonious acidity gives shape to the stone fruit flavors. I like the sugar/acid balance here. Not a hugely structured wine, but finishing notes of flowers and minerals give this persistent premier cru good lift.
Pale, green-tinged color. Musky aromas of green papaya and silex, plus a peppery nuance that reminded me of gruner veltliner. Fat, round and concentrated, with intriguing notes of white flowers and herbal tea. The strong back end conveys a dusty impression of extract. From very old vines affected by millerandage, notes Julien Brocard.
Good pale, green-tinged color. Reserved but complex nose hints at green tropical fruits, spices and smoky silex Rich, dense and broad, coating the palate with dusty stone fruit flavors. Ripe acids and a slightly bitter-edged minerality on the back give this persistent premier cru very good balance and shape.
Pale yellow. Cool aromas of underripe pineapple, nutmeg and pepper are pure and complex. Quite primary, even grapey, with citrus and spice flavors. This shows a dense, oily character without any excess weight. Finishes tactile and long, with a dusting of curry spice. At once elegant and powerful.
Good pale, green-tinged color. Brisk aromas of citrus peel, powdered stone and quinine. Rich, round and silky, with impressive volume in the middle palate. This has the fat of a grand cru but without any impression of heaviness. The suave finish is long on dusty minerality and lime. This is built to age.
(from Mont de Milieu and Vaubarousse, a premier cru located just above Montee de Tonnerre) Bright, pale yellow. Tight, high-pitched, minerally nose. Austere but not hard, with classic dry flavors of citrus peel and powdered stone. Finishes persistent and quite firm. This, too, is built to reward aging. (The Chablis Extreme, with a lot of lees in suspension, was too reduced to assess with accuracy.)
(from vines on "the Cote de Lechet side," according to Brocard; recently bottled) Clear, bright pale yellow. Very ripe but reticent aromas of dried fruits and mint. Round, silky and on the soft side, with the dried apricot character following through in the mouth. This lush but not especially sweet wine displayed mounting ripeness with air.
Slightly reduced, musky aromas of citrus fruits, flint, smoke, oyster shell and toasted bread. Dense, sappy and dry, with the silex character following through in the mouth. Flavors of crushed stone, chicken broth and lime show no overripeness. Finishes firm, dry, dusty and broad, with good structure and grip. From vines on the flatter part of Bougros, where it's normally hard to get mineral character, according to Brocard.
Sexy, pure nose offers green papaya, flowers and gunflint; refined and nuanced. Silky in texture but with a light touch to the flavors of citrus fruits, white flowers and powdered stone. This is round and lush but with shape and grip. Finishes dry, broad and very long, with lovely lingering perfume. An impressive showing.
Pure, brisk, steely nose offers lemon, lime, grapefruit peel and crushed stone, with complicating notes of spearmint and menthol. Suave and citric on entry, then superconcentrated and steely in the middle, with bracing flavors of grapefruit, lemon and spearmint. This has a compelling sugar/acid tang. Shifts to a higher gear on the back end, ending with a real whiplash of fruits and stones. This should be long-lived for the vintage.
(this went straight into once-used barriques, with no debourbage Pale yellow with green highlights. Very ripe aromas of stone fruits, ginger and vanillin oak. Rich and spicy, with strong acidity framing the flavors of peach and flowers. After all the stainless steel wines here, this one came as a shock, but it's undeniably dense and long. Finishes with a sexy suggestion of nut oil and a slight dryness from the oak. Piuze notes that he will use 450-liter barrels in 2007 to get a more subdued oak character.
($40) Pale straw. Subdued aromas of peach, wet stone and cotton candy. Round and ripe, with sweet stone fruit and honey flavors. This has fat but I wanted more Chablis cut and grip.
($35) Pale straw-yellow. Soil-inflected aromas of peach, flint, ginger, powdered stone and chicken broth, with a steely topnote. Rich, ripe and concentrated, with juicy acids framing the flavors of peach, orange and stone. This boasts very good texture and length.
($35) Pale yellow. Subtle flinty nose. Suave and fine-grained in the mouth, with good energy to the stony flavor. The lingering finish offers a bit less grip and cut than the Extreme.
($37) Good pale, bright yellow. Musky aromas of citrus fruit and quinine. Rich, dense and fine-grained; combines the stoniness of the vineyard with the sweetness and supple texture of the vintage. Nicely concentrated and rather round, finishing with good chewy extract and persistence.
($86) Light yellow. Expressive aromas of pear, pineapple, vanilla and spicy oak. Round, rich and rather oaky, with peach and pineapple fruit currently battling exotic spices and vanilla. But this chewy wine boasts excellent extract and energy.
($69) Light yellow. Reticent nose hints at wet stone. Rich, ripe and concentrated but youthfully closed, showing soil-driven notes of petrol, wet stone and earth. A rather large-scaled but backward grand cru with a long, stony finish.
($72) Bright pale yellow. Subtle scents of pear skin, anise and fresh-cut hay. Juicy, dry and uncompromising, with excellent inner-palate energy to the flavors of dusty stone and lime zest. The most brisk, vibrant and penetrating of these 2005s-but then this is Les Clos! Finishes with excellent lift for the vintage.