Cellar Management

Pick My Next Bottle – 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape

The February installment of Pick My Next Bottle focuses on 2006 Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The purpose of this series is to provide insight into specific wines or producers you may currently have in your cellar. I plan on opening the winning bottle this Sunday and will publish a Bottle Note shortly thereafter.

Although overshadowed by 2005 and 2007, 2006 was a classic vintage in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The cold but dry winter and lack of rain in the Spring were followed by blistering heat in June and July. Relief came with rain on Bastille day, then again in mid August. A balmy September ensured fruit with balance, elegance, phenolic ripeness and tannic structure. The wines were, and still are, well priced.

The Wine Advocate scores below are from a retrospective tasting of the ’06 vintage that took place in 2016.

The contenders:

  • 2006 Clos des Papes – From the normal tiny yields of this estate (on the order of 22 hectoliters per hectare), the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape from Paul-Vincent has shed its baby fat and now shows a supple, elegant, seamless profile that’s hard to resist. Kirsch, licorice, garrigue and sweet spice all emerge from this medium to full-bodied, beautifully balanced 2006. It benefits from a short decant, and while showing plenty of maturity, it will evolve gracefully for at least another decade. 95 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe – One of the more youthful wines in the retrospective, the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape La Crau from the Brunier brothers is a head-turner. Possessing the ever present seaweed/nori character that I almost always find in this cuvee, it has a beautiful core of currants, crushed rocks, tapenade and licorice-like aromas and flavors. Made from 65% Grenache, 15% each of Mourvèdre and Syrah, and the balance Cinsault–all from the famed La Crau lieu-dit–this is as traditional and classic Chateauneuf du Pape as you can get. It’s a gorgeous wine that has another 10-15 years of longevity. 94 points from the Wine Advocate.
  • 2006 Clos Saint-Jean Deus Ex Machina – What’s probably the wine of the vintage, the 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape Deux Ex Machina (60% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre; the Grenache was raised all in concrete tank and the Mourvèdre in demi-muids) reveals a saturated ruby color as well as classic notes of tobacco leaf, crushed rocks, pan drippings, graphite, black currants and licorice. Showing more and more dark fruits, as well as additional density and depth, with time in the glass, this full-bodied Chateauneuf du Pape shows the hallmark elegance of the 2006 vintage, yet backs it up with incredible density, depth and length. 98 points from the Wine Advocate.

Which 2006 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Should I Open?

  • 2006 Clos des Papes (50%, 8 Votes)
  • 2006 Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (25%, 4 Votes)
  • 2006 Clos Saint-Jean Deus Ex Machina (25%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 16

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Thanks for voting! I’d love to see a comment below on why you picked one bottle over another. Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for the March installment of Pick My Next Bottle.

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