MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
The Weather Created Concentrated, Mouthwatering Flavors
The 2006 Bordeaux vintage had its work cut out for it before the first grape buds began to emerge in the spring. That’s because one year earlier, the 2005 vintage was a smashing success; critics still call the 2005 one of the greatest wines that Bordeaux has ever produced. But while the 2005 was extremely high in quality, this meant that the 2006 vintage had large shoes to fill. In the beginning of the growing season, it appeared that 2006 Bordeaux would easily meet these high expectations; a classic, wet Bordeaux spring gave way to a hot, sunny summer and, in the process, the grapes grew richly sugary and concentrated.
But everything changed when August arrived. That year, the weather turned cool and wet once again, causing the grapes to swell just before harvest season. This cool weather late in the season was a benefit for some producers and a nightmare for others. That’s because cooler weather gave the grapes some much-needed acidity and tannin, yet if producers left their grapes on the vine for too long, these astringent qualities could easily overpower the wine. This is why the best 2006 Bordeaux was made by producers who harvested their grapes early. These wines retained their rich, dense residual sugar, with just a hint of acidity and firm, strong tannins.
Which Appellation Produced the Best 2006 Bordeaux?
Although many bottles of 2006 Bordeaux are extremely high in quality, this was nonetheless a difficult vintage for most producers in the region to manage. Some appellations, like Pomerol and Pauillac, had massive success across the board, whereas other subregions, like Saint-Émilion, struggled a bit more. Before you search for the best 2006 Bordeaux for the collectors on your gift list this year, you’ll need to know which producers harvested their grapes early in the season, before the cool weather took over entirely. For instance, Pauillac producers saw success in 2006 in part because they traditionally harvest their grapes early, especially when the weather is particularly cool.
Some of the top wines and best gifts you’ll find from this vintage include:
The Best Pauillac
- Lafite-Rothschild: An elegant, dark vintage that still needs at least another decade in your cellar to mature fully.
- Mouton Rothschild: Round, supple, and easier to drink in its youth compared to other 2006 wines.
The Best Margaux
- Margaux: Sweet and more Merlot-heavy than usual, with extremely long aging potential.
The Best St. Émilion
- Cheval Blanc: While many producers in this region struggled, Cheval Blanc was creamy, dark, and thrilling, in part because its winemakers picked the grapes before the rain made them too astringent. It will benefit from a few more years in a cellar, as this will tame its firm, tannic structure.
The Best St. Julien
- Léoville-Las Cases: Aromatic and exotic in flavor, this wine has one of the longest finishes of this vintage. This is a great wine to indulge in personally, rather than resell on the market later. You can either store this bottle long-term, or drink it now.
The Best Pessac-Léognan
- Haut-Brion: Beefy and savory, this is among the most intense wines in the 2006 vintage. It still needs some time in a cellar to truly shine, but it’s already maturing beautifully.
- La Mission Haut-Brion: Also meaty in flavor, and perhaps even more concentrated and dense than Haut-Brion. This wine needs another 10 years in a cellar, at least, before it’s ready to drink.
When you enjoy any of these top choices from the 2006 Bordeaux vintage, you’ll immediately notice their emphasis on rich fruit and their ability to impress even the most sophisticated collector as they approach maturity.
Aging and Investment Prospects Are Promising
Why should you invest in 2006 Bordeaux, rather than the legendary 2005 vintage? In general, 2006 Bordeaux can be more fascinating to drink than the 2005, and often, the 2006 wines have a better quality to price ratio.
In terms of flavor alone, you’ll rarely find Bordeaux like the 2006. Usually elegant, refined, and delicate in personality, it’s rare for a Bordeaux to become this hedonistic and tannic. As long as you’re patient, the harsh, raspy tannins in these wines eventually soften, as we’ve seen with some producers already (like Mouton Rothschild). And, while the 2005 is the type of wine that you’ll want to keep in storage indefinitely in order to turn a profit later, the 2006 may be more attractive to collectors who actually want to drink their wines personally. Since their market value has held steady over the past 10 years, neither significantly increasing nor decreasing in price, these are the perfect drinking wines.
As an investment, you may also find that you get better value out of the best 2006 Bordeaux than from many other modern Bordeaux vintages. When 2006 Bordeaux was first released, it garnered incredibly high prices—the success of the 2005 vintage drove up prices across Bordeaux for years. But today, 2006 prices are steadier and more predictable. You won’t pay more for these bottles than they’re actually worth, and many of the top wines from this vintage are well within the $1,000 to $1,500 price range. This is a small price to pay for an unusually concentrated, breathtaking Bordeaux.
The Ideal Gift for Choosy Collectors
The 2006 Bordeaux vintage makes a perfect gift for collectors because it’s unlike any other vintage that they may have tried before. This isn’t a “traditional” Bordeaux by any means—it’s bold, even a little brash, at times, but it’s this quality that makes it so much fun to taste for the first time. And, you won’t sacrifice elegance for boldness entirely; the top producers still employed their precise winemaking techniques, keeping the natural boldness of the vintage in-check. To make this gift even more special, we recommend offering your gift recipient five or ten years’ worth of professional storage for these wines. While some of these bottles can be enjoyed now, this vintage will only become more succulent and balanced over the next five or ten years, making storage a significant benefit. Since many of the best 2006 Bordeaux wines still have at least a decade of aging ahead of them, the collectors in your life will appreciate this thoughtful gift—you’ll help them enjoy such an unusual vintage when it’s fully mature.
Whether you are giving gifts to a novice or an experienced collector, Vinfolio is your partner in selecting, buying, and storing wine. And, with a brand new selection of 2006 Bordeaux in our inventory, we could be your one-stop-shop for holiday wine gifts this year. Contact us today to share the joy of the world’s best wine.
At Vinfolio, we help our clients buy, sell, store, and manage their most
treasured bottles of wine. But in our spare time, we’re just a group of
passionate and slightly obsessed oenophiles–we love sharing a great
glass of vintage Champagne, followed by a Burgundy, and then a
Bordeaux, to get things started. We’re always obsessing over the latest (and oldest) vintages, and we want to share that knowledge and passion with our readers.