Wednesday, June 27, 2012

a first look at 2006 St-Émilion

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2006 Château Pindefleurs | AC St-Émilion Grand Cru

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2006 Château Grand Corbin-Despagne | AC St-Émilion Grand Cru Classé

Two weekends ago, I opened a pair of 2006 St-Émilions, which I had been holding onto since release. No particular reason why it was these two; no, actually, there's a very good reason why it's these two. Both were relatively inexpensive compared to the other bottles in that En Primeur order, and I had previously tasted the 2006 Pindefleurs nearly 3 years ago. Major thoughts from that tasting? A modern wine in every sense, that syrupy fruit, awkward and ungainly on the palate, all with a touch of brett. So it was safe to say that I didn't harbour any high expectations for either one of these wines.

That may have been why I ended up so satisfied with both.

No special treatment at all; just a quick chill in the fridge, and we drank both wines over 3 days with dinner. Immediately, the Pindefleurs was brilliant, slightly earthy, but completely shedding that baby fat and revealing a beautiful purity in its fruit. Minerally too, and developing quite a nice texture on the palate. This is 90% merlot, and 5% each of the two cabernets. Very finely structured as well. And the wine holds up very well with air, drinking very nicely on the third day.

The 2006 Grand Corbin-Despagne (profile here, by Chris Kissack) is a wine composed of 75% merlot, 24% cabernet franc, and only 1% (or similarly insignificant amount) of cabernet sauvignon. Press sheet for the 2006 vintage here. It opens up with quite a rustic character, needing a night in the fridge to blow off. And it just keeps getting better and better and better. Showing ever more pure, with the fruit becoming sweeter with air. Incredible elegance already, with a distinct structure for easily another 10 years. It's that cabernet franc, such an important varietal for aromatic complexity and backbone. A lovely, lovely wine. This producer, of course, was mired in the 2006 St-Émilion classification mess, when it was finally upgraded to Grand Cru Classé, only to see some de-classified producers file litigation to have the entire classification ruling overturned. It's back in its rightful place, as a GCC - taste the wine, and you'll see why.

What a great first look at the 2006's. Very excited for their future. I think there's so much good wine that we sometimes forget about Bordeaux. After all, it's only a handful of the great classified growths that are getting all the attention; meanwhile, thousands upon thousands of little producers are crafting wines that are very good, and very exciting indeed with only a fraction of the press. Maybe buying all that Bordeaux was a good idea after all.

It's going to be an exciting day today. Going to go see the Picasso exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The last time these works will be shown in North America, before they return to Paris permanently. Looking forward to art in the morning, then a nice, leisurely lunch and drink in the afternoon!

DF

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