Josh Dunnuck takes a look back at 2006 Northern Rhônes in the Feb. 28, 2017, Wine Advocate (Issue #229), with several Chapoutier reviews:
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage l’Ermite Blanc
The lightest colored of the three whites, the 2006 Ermitage l’Ermite Blanc is unquestionably one of the greatest white wines in the world today. Full-bodied, seamless, silky and yet hugely concentrated, with to-die-for notes of praline, caramelized fruits, liquid rock, toasted almonds and celery seed, it’s the quintessential Hermitage Blanc possessing an incredible amount of fruit and texture paired with elegance, purity and finesse.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree
More tight and reserved than the open-knit Le Meal Blanc, the 2006 Ermitage Cuvee de l’Oree offers a heavenly bouquet of caramelized orchard fruits, celery seed, buttered hazelnuts, orange blossom and white flowers. Just crazy good on the palate, with full-bodied richness and a seamless, unctuous texture, it has incredible purity, precision and length, with this liquid rock-like minerality on the finish. It’s just about as good as it gets, and while it’s drinking great today, it should keep for 2-3 decades.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage le Meal Blanc
Easily the most exuberant and over the top of the three Ermitage Blanc cuvees, the 2006 Ermitage le Meal Blanc is still light gold in color and delivers a pedal-to-the-metal style in its honeysuckle, orange blossom, caramelized stone fruits, celery seed and even a hint of garlic. Deep, full-bodied, layered and seamless on the palate, it’s another wine that’s drinking at point today, yet will keep for another 2-3 decades.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage l’Ermite
More taut, focused and chiseled than the le Pavillon, the blockbuster 2006 Ermitage L’Ermite offers full-bodied richness, a liquid rock-like minerality and sensational notes of black currants, bloody meat, licorice and spice. Reminding me of the 1995, with sensational depth, purity and length, this incredible wine won’t hit maturity for another decade, and will keep for 2-3 decades.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage le Meal
Coming from the warmest terroir on Hermitage Hill, the 2006 Ermitage le Meal is a killer wine that oozes Hermitage notes of black raspberries, saddle leather and bloody meat. Complex, full-bodied, and textured, yet with surprising elegance, it’s an awesome wine to drink anytime over the coming two decades.
2006 M. Chapoutier Ermitage le Pavillon
Showing more minerality than the le Meal, yet more plushness and sexiness than the l’Ermite, the 2006 Ermitage le Pavillon is a tour de force that gives up sensational notes of crushed rocks, blackberries, currants, smoked meats and licorice. It shows a touch of iron and bloodiness with time in the glass, is full-bodied, seamless and incredibly layered on the palate. There’s no shortage of tannin either and this beauty needs 4-5 years of cellaring to hit full maturity, and will keep for another 2-3 decades.
2006 M. Chapoutier St Joseph les Granits Blanc
A wine that punches well above its price point is the 2006 St Joseph les Granits Blanc, and Northern Rhône lovers should buy this cuvee in just about every vintage. Offering lots of complexity in its buttered citrus, apple, white truffle, celery and savory aromas and flavors, this beauty is full-bodied, rich and textured on the palate. Like the other whites from this team, it’s drinking perfectly today, yet should keep for at least another decade or more. Having said that, why push a good thing? Drink!
2006 M. Chapoutier Cote Rotie la Mordoree
The 100% Syrah 2006 Cote Rotie la Mordoree was backward and tight, yet had beautiful concentration, full-bodied richness and classy notes of white pepper, mint and darker fruits. It opens up with time in the glass and is a big, powerful Cote Rotie that’s loaded with potential. Give bottles another 2-4 years of cellaring and enjoy over the following decade or more.