For a number of years now, we have had a succession of great and very great vintages, surely proving that, at least so far, the weather conditions have particularly favoured the ripening of the Cabernet grapes. It shouldn't be overlooked though, that this success has also been the result of more and more rigorous selection: in 2006, barely 36% of the crop went into the first wine, which will only be a third by the time it is bottled, after the unavoidable loss of the lees wine at each racking. One single batch of Merlot, though of remarkably high quality, finally went into the blend, but it only represents 4% of the whole? It is the first time we have had so little. The Petit Verdot (4%) and the Cabernet Franc (2%) make up their usual proportions; they each bring added complexity that is difficult to define, but is most certainly a necessary contribution to the character of the wines of Château Margaux. The Cabernet Sauvignon therefore takes up almost all of the place: 90%! It brings to the 2006 an extraordinary aromatic finesse, a tannic richness that is second only to the 2005; and a particularly dense and tight-knit texture. The finish is very long, fresh and lively, a little bit firm but already packed with flavour. 2006 is therefore a great Château Margaux vintage. Of course, it is not 2005, or 2000; those vintages are exceptional. But it does have both the grace and the purity of the 1996, the so classic freshness of the 2004 and the heady power of the 1986 or the 1995. Such balance is a brilliant expression of Château Margaux's noble terroir.
This has a wonderful nose of perfume, sandalwood, ripe plum and berries. Full-bodied, with seamless tannins and a long finish. Gorgeous. Best after 2015.
This is not a big Château Margaux, its style showing more elegance and discretion. The tannins are soft, although producing a dense web that lies underneath the black currant and plum fruit flavors. It is a wine that envelops the mouth, an edge of firmness over velvet fruit textures. The wine floats away slowly on the close.
It is worth noting that when the bottled 2006 Chateau Margaux, which appeared closed and less impressive than I had predicted from barrel, was retasted alongside the remarkable 2008, I elevated my score to 94+. It does not possess the size or power of the 2008 or 2005, but the 2006 exhibits impressive density, a deeper color, and the beautifully textured, pure style that is a hallmark of this estate. Moreover, it is relatively precocious, and can be drunk now or cellared for 25+ years.
($895) Good deep red-ruby. Deep but reticent aromas of redcurrant, tobacco leaf, licorice and loam; I don't find the typical floral high notes of Margaux. Juicy, fine-grained and suave, with good definition and a seamless, spherical texture to the currant and soil flavors. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins, but not the grip or power of earlier barrel samples of this wine.
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