Burgundy, it turns out, is a fine way to start the day. It's elegant, and provides a lift that bolsters the soul.
This morning we tried a few selected cask samples from Louis Jadot; offerings from their 2006 vintage. 2006 turns out to have been an odd year - an intense heatwave in July led to fears of a repeat of 2003. A wet August restored balance to the vines and the dry, warm September meant that there was balance and harmony to those who trusted their vines enough not to panic. Whites tend to be sexier and more forward than the reds, and overall it tends to be more of a 'terroir' vintage than 2005. What this means, apparently, is that the more expensive, premier and grand cru vineyards show their mettle, while the lesser wines are not the incredible value and superb quality of the previous year. With 2005 in Burgundy a basic AC Vosne Romaneé from a good producer will be spectacular whereas with 06 you may be better off getting the 1er Cru Beau Monts. If you can afford it. And that's assuming you can find much 05 Burgundy still kicking about - if you can, best of luck to you.
But I digress.
We tasted a nice cross-section of wines - it was not comprehensive. All scores are in brackets - they're cask samples that travelled from Beaune to Scotland and such they're not 100% indicative of the wine to come.
Louis Jadot Savigny Les Beaune Blanc 1er Cru Les Vergelesses 2006
Soft nose and palate - creamy and supple. There's decent mouthfeel, though no minerality to speak of, while the wood seems unruly at times - especially on the finish. Bit simple. (**)
Louis Jadot Pernand Vergelesses Blanc 1er Cru Clos de la Croix de Pierre 2006
Big, spicy, exotic vanilla and pineapple nose that comes through to the palate - there's a lot going on here. Nicely layered tropical fruit and spice, but still a good underlying elegance and a touch of the ephemeral on the finish. (****)
Louis Jadot Meursault 1er Cru Les Gouttes d'Or 2006
Not showing well at all - flabby, which befalls many a Meursault, but without the compelling sexiness to resurrect it. Is it the sample or the wine? Beaten soundly by the Pernand at half the price. (**?)
Louis Jadot Chateau Des Jacques Moulin-a-Vent Clos de Rochegrés 2006
An old favourite with an excellent nose of mint, briar and violets that follows through to palate - this is earthy, rustic, well-knit and remarkably deep. Still shocked that gamay does this. The secondaries are remarkable though obscure the primaries slightly. There's little core fruit at the moment, though I assume that will come out with time. It's just too expensive for a Beaujolais though, greatest Beaujolais though it may be. (***?*) - the question mark is due to price.
Louis Jadot Cote de Nuits-Villages 'Le Vaucrain' 2006
The most obviously 'sampled' wine, with a bunch of residual CO2 kicking up a bit of effervescence on the mid-palate. However, there's beautiful purity of fruit and nice secondary notes of tobacco and forest floor - not hugely complex, but lovely nonetheless. (****)
Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru Les Avaux 2006
Big, juicy, premier cru Beaune with surprisingly mature integration between the tasty cranberry fruit and oak. Quite more-ish and sexy. (****)
Louis Jadot Volnay 1er Cru Clos de la Barre 2006
Far darker fruit on the nose than any so far, with a touch of leather. Beautifully integrated oak with good depth and fine mouth feel. Fine structure. This is going to be a lovely wine. (****)
Louis Jadot Vosne Romaneé 2006
Good fruit and nice balance but a bit dumb. Would like to try it again after bottling (**?)
Louis Jadot Vosne Romaneé 1er Cru Les Beaux Monts 2006
Intense berry fruit on the nose - brooding and perfumed. The finest wine so far today. Integrated, complex and boasting elegant structure. Look forward to following up on this (*****)
Louis Jadot Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru Les Fuees 2006
Bit dumb - four Chambolle fans in the room looking despondent. There's a hint of more, but it's muted. Must come back to this. (**?)
Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2006
Lovely colour, though the nose is a bit closed - there's a lot of oak as well. Very good length on the palate and remarkable tightness. It's closed, waiting, but not dumb. (****)
Over all the wines tasted lovely. It was not one of those earth-shattering en primeur tastings you read about, with critics scrambling to get down as many adjectives as possible, trying to out-superlative and odd-fruit each other. Instead it seems to be one where you'll have to pick carefully for greatness, if that's what you want. I enjoyed the overall elegance - they weren't showy wines, even the sexy ones. I'd like to have tried some finer whites, but I'm sure I'll get the chance. The wines that excited me weren't the most expensive - the white Pernand and the Vaucrain (£20 and £16 respectively), should they live up to these samples, will be cracking wines at good prices. The outrageous 05 prices mean that people who've been priced out of Burgundy for a year could get some excellent wines at much better prices for 06, but they should choose carefully.