Tribut, a particularly candid sort who told me last year than neither 2005 nor 2004 was special, did not yet have a lot to say about 2006 other than that it was "a very rich year, with a lot of similarities to 2005." He went on: "Both of these were precocious years that produced wines with a lot of alcohol and lowish acidity, although you don't really feel the alcohol due to the richness of the wines." Tribut noted that he did not make the full allowable yield in either vintage, and that production was actually lower in 2006 than in '05. Tribut ferments his wines in tank, then gives them a sojourn in barrels, but buys only three to six new barriques for each new vintage. Incidentally, Tribut told me that 2002 "is the last superb year here." (Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL)
Previously recommended: 2005 Chablis (88), 2005 Chablis Cote de Lechet (89), 2005 Chablis Beauroy (90).
($24) Lemon, hay and minerals on the nose. Juicy, ripe and supple, with a flavor of crystallized lemon peel. In a very rich, round, rather soft style, with a slightly aggressive impression of alcohol (13.5% here; the '05 was 14%).
($33; from Tribut's youngest vines, averaging 18 years of age) Good pale color. Reticent but Chablis-typical aromas of lemon, menthol and wet stone. Offers good intensity and better lemony cut than the village example. In a minerally style, with a distinctly lemony, slightly tart finish. This was the first vineyard picked in 2006, on September 18.
($33; from 25-year-old vines) Minerals, wet stone and raw pineapple on the nose. Sweeter and more pliant than the Cote de Lechet, with ripe but very lively flavors of crystallized lemon peel, pineapple, crushed stone and minerals. A bracing, gripping wine that finishes with a positive youthful austerity that argues for some bottle aging.
(tasted from cuve; 14% alcohol) Fresh pineapple on the nose, with a hint of fermentation aromas. Rich, dense and deep, with lovely harmonious acidity giving shape to the flavors of pineapple, lemon, grapefruit, flowers and stone. A step up in fat and thickness over the Beauroy but has the depth of flavor to buffer its high alcohol. Impressive and complex, with the balance to offer early appeal and the firm acidity to evolve slowly in bottle.
(bottled in April of 2007) Pineapple, wet stone and a bit of oak on the rather austere nose. Intensely flavored but youthfully closed; distinctly more minerally than the young '06, with liquid stone and spice flavors currently under wraps. Very rich but very dry wine, whose sucrosite is currently hidden by its classic finishing minerality. More classic than the '06 and in need of several years of bottle aging.