Although he's in the minority in Chablis, Didier Picq clearly prefers 2006 to 2005. "There was more material in 2006, even if the grape sugars and acidity levels were similar to those of 2005," he told me. "The wines are fatter and finer, both ripe and minerally." Picq used all wild yeasts for the first time in 2006. The fermentations lasted up to a full three months, which he believes provided a "natural batonnage" and gave the wines more finesse. All of the 2006s finished quite dry, at one gram or less per liter of residual sugar. As at a few other addresses, early tastings here are a bit complicated because there are multiple batches of village wine, and it's mix-and-match when it comes to bottling them. (Douglas Polaner Selections, Mt. Kisco, NY; SDG Selections, LLC, Durham, NC)
Previously recommended: 2005 Chablis (87), 2005 Chablis Dessus La Carriere (89), 2005 Chablis Vieilles Vignes (90), 2005 Chablis Vosgros (89+?), 2005 Chablis Vaucoupin (91).
($20) Sample # 1, from vines around Chichee: Complex aromas of citrus peel, white peach and flowers. Rich, ripe and peachy, with hints of grapefruit, pineapple and flowers. Broad but energetic, with a slightly exotic quality to the fruit. Sample #2, from soil rich in marne and large rocks: Aromas of tangerine, orange and curry powder, with a slightly grilled character. Round, rich and dry, with fresh acidity and underlying rocky character giving the pineappley flavor a touch of austerity. Sample #3, from a plateau near Vaucoupin: Bright pale yellow. Orange and spice aromas show an exotic pinot gris-like character. Rich, fat and broad, with a distinct impression of sucrosite But this pineappley sample is quite dry. Sample #4:, from a west-facing slope across from Vaucoupin, featuring similar clay-and-chalk soil: Pale, green-tinged yellow. Captivating aromas of silex, wet stone and lime. Suave, juicy and quite dry, with lovely minerally acidity and a piquant note of quinine. Fine-grained, rising finish is impressively austere for a village wine. Picq will blend a bit of this juice into his old-vines cuvee to cut the richness of that wine.
($20; a cuvee from a selection massale planted on SO4 rootstock on calcaire Pale yellow. Lemon drop and lime blossom aromas, with a topnote of sauteed pineapple. Dense, rich and sexy, with an enticing sweetness to its juicy pineapple flavor. Quite tactile and fruit-driven on the finish, with brisk acidity giving it excellent grip.
($23; from three parcels with an average age of 52 years) Pale, green-tinged yellow. Musky, very ripe aromas of orange, lime and spices. Fat, rich and sweet but flatter in the mouth than the Dessus La Carriere, with a dominant flavor of pineapple. This seems a bit topheavy in the middle and warm on the finish. Picq admits that one of the three parcels was picked too ripe, with 14.6% potential alcohol on September 23, and that's why he plans to add some of his most racy village juice to the blend. But today it's hard to envision the final cuvee
($33) Pale, yellow-green color. Captivating aromas of lemon verbena and smoke, plus a saline note I normally associate with Picq's Vosgros cuvee Fat, rich and sweet, with lively pineappley acidity leavening the impression of sweetness. Very robust, rich long wine with a powerful whiplash of a finish. This very strong wine will need bottle aging. (Picq did not present his Vosgros as it had been filtered the day before my visit.)