Today we offer a glimpse into the past and revisit what was not considered by critics to be the best of vintages in Sauternes. The 2006 vintage was generally challenging throughout Bordeaux. I have recently sampled some 2006 Bordeaux red wines from great producers and I have generally been disappointed with the wines. Sauternes and Barsac were seen to produce some of the top wines of the vintage which saw some ripe fruit based on the heat encountered in July and early September as well as good freshness from a relatively cool August. However the vintage saw a fair amount of grapes with ‘aigre’ (bad rot) was due to heavy rains during mid-September. Sémillon suffered a great deal of spoilage while Sauvignon Blanc tended to fare slightly better as a varietal.
I recently had the great opportunity to revisit this vintage which was challenging but produced some excellent wines. All wines shared a common thread of good freshness at this stage in their development. While this will not be a long-lived vintage, it is energetic and vibrant at this stage — and exceedingly hard to resist. While this vintage in Sauternes may live in the shadow of 2005, the great wines from 2006 are absolutely worth revisiting and remain an exceedingly good value.
2006 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey Sauternes- A deep, golden hue, the 2006 Laufaurie-Peyraguey opens with a bouquet of honey, vanilla creme brulee, roasted pineapple and candy apricot with ginger undertones. The mouthfeel is soft and delights the palate. Showing beautiful balance, this beautiful wine shows pineapple upside down cake, vanilla cream, butterscotch and suggestions of nutmeg. There is a seamless quality to this wine that is truly beautiful. Drinking marvelously now, this will show well over the next decade or more. Drink 2019-2033- 92
2006 Chateau Coutet Barsac- The nose here shines with persimmon and apricot jelly with creme brûlée tones. Showing off an unctuous character the wine has a good freshness that runs through with not the richness of other vintages of Coutet but solid concentration. Vanilla creme brulee, marzipan, beeswax and ripe pineapple flavors all come together nicely in the glass. While not my favorite vintage of this wine, this is showing nicely right now and will cellar well for another decade. Drink 2019-2026- 92
2006 Chateau Guiraud Sauternes- The 2006 Chateau Guiraud is a stunning bottling that has aged gracefully at this juncture. On the nose this shows some really spicy notes with cinnamon alongside rope pineapple and creme brûlée on the nose. The palate shows a good deal of freshness but moderate intensity with vanilla creme brulee, ginger, nutmeg and ripe pineapple flavors. Bright and balanced, this is an excellent showing that is best enjoyed over the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 91
2006 Chateau Rieussec Sauternes- Initially reticent and needing 30 minutes of air to fully express itself aromatically, the 2006 Chateau Rieussec opens with a lighter bouquet of butterscotch, buttered popcorn, mango and ginger undertones. The palate shows really good freshness and intensity with a good sense of minerality. Pineapple creme brulee, poached pear, bananas foster and nutmeg flavors complete this beautiful wine. The exceedingly long, finish lingers and rounds out this complete wine. What this doesn’t possess on the nose, exceeds expectations on the palate and finish, as this elegant wine is one of the great wines of this vintage. Enjoy this wonderful wine over the next two decades. Drink 2019-2035- 94
2006 Chateau Climens Barsac- The nose is quite captivating with vanilla creme brulee, apricot, nutmeg and bananas foster. The palate shows wonderful tension and freshness with bananas foster, vanilla cream and apricot flavors. Downright delicious now, this still has a long life ahead of it. The balance and poise here is seriously good. Drink 2019-2035- 93