The Pinson brothers started their 2006 harvest on September 13, ahead of the ban de vendange, and picked everything in six days, according to Christophe Pinson, who described the newest crop of wines as "in a fruity style, and on the soft side." The wines have roughly similar acidity to the '05s, but are a bit higher in alcohol and more glyceral in texture, according to Christophe, who is responsible for the vines while brother Laurent is in charge of vinification. Grape sugars were in the 12.5% to 13% range and no chaptalization was done. "We really had just one week to pick in 2006," said Christophe. "If we couldn't finish in that window, the fruit would have been too ripe and there would have been problems with rot." Pinson made it clear that he prefers 2004 for its minerality, and that he considers both '05 and '06 to be less typical Chablis. (Michael Skurnik Wines, Syosset, NY)
Previously recommended: 2005 Chablis Vaillon (87), 2005 Chablis Montmain (88+?), 2005 Chablis La Foret (89+?).
(tasted from cuve Fruit-driven aromas of pineapple and grapefruit. Supple and soft, with some exotic suggestions of banana and lichee. There's a bit of lemony verve here, but I found myself looking for a bit more shape.
(aging in barriques, none new) Slightly diffuse aromas of soft citrus fruits, honey and spices. Fat, rich and rather soft, with the honeyed quality carrying through on the palate. Favors ripe fruit over minerality and comes across as a bit warm (this is a full 13%).
Pale yellow color. More lift on the nose here, offering hints of fresh apricot, orange and quince. Fat, sweet and rather full in the mouth, with an enticing stone fruit character joined by a whiff of banana. A silky, supple wine with more structure than the Montmain. But this still lacks the cut and lift I look for in Chablis. From vines averaging 50 years of age.
Good pale color. Lively aromas of stone fruits and spices. More dense and gripping than the Foret, with ripe stone fruit and spice flavors leavened by nicely integrated acidity. Round, fat and silky but more convincing on the spicy, persistent and firm finish. These vines average 30 years of age.
(from 12-year-old vines) Good pale yellow. Subdued aromas of apricot and nectarine, plus a whiff of banana. Round, ripe and sweet, but with less depth and grip than the Mont de Milieu. Ripe, fruity chardonnay more than soil-driven Chablis. A bit warm on the back end.
(15-year-old vines) Good pale color with a green tinge. Nuanced nose offers stone fruits and hazelnut, plus a hint of minerality. At once pliant and juicy, with citrus and mineral flavors. Finishes with a touch of youthful austerity, and lingering notes of pear, spice and fresh herbs. Seems fresher and firmer than the Vaillon.
((13.5% alcohol; aging in a combination of 70% oak and 30% cuve From barrel) Pale yellow. Aromas of nectarine, snap pea, menthol and mint; conveys a suggestion of musky minerality. Densely packed and concentrated; more reserved and less exuberant than the premier crus, with sound acidity to cut its flavors of peach flesh and spices. A rich wine with a persistent, firm finish. From cuve: Good pale color. Citrus hints, ripe pineapple and hazelnut on the nose. Dense, chewy and rich, with the pineapple fruitiness accompanied by mint and menthol. A bit more vibrant than the portion from barrel. The most tactile and minerally of these 2006 samples. The blend should be excellent.
($38; bottled in January of 2007) Bright yellow. Aromas of lemon, smoke and nutty oak. Dense and fairly fat but with good cut and lemony lift. The nutty quality carries through on the palate. Following the Pinson '06s, this came across as less exotic. Finishes with a saline nuance and a touch of resiny oak.
($65) Good bright yellow. Very ripe but reticent aromas of apricot and marzipan. Fat, round and full, with ripe acidity and some spicy oak giving shape to the stone fruit flavors. The broad, long finish features more spicy grip and length than the Mont de Milieu. Agreeable already but will probably be better with three or four years of bottle aging.