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Average critic rating : 92.0 points
The Perrot-Minot 2006 Chambertin Vieilles Vignes combines bitter-sweet blackberry and mulberry fruit intensity with soy-like savor, beef stock reduction, and dark chocolate. Here is another one of those rather opaque saps of Pinot that characterize much of this collection. Its tenacious finish is a bit gum-numbing and its implosive concentration mind-numbing. If one is going to acquire this, one needs to have faith and patience, but I can imagine it glorying in making a fool of me fifteen years hence by displaying a seductive visage and elegant wardrobe. ||Christophe Perrot-Minot - for more on whose fanatic methodology and old vines sites, readers should consult my issue 170 report - says his 2006 crop came in at a mere 25-30 hectoliters per hectare before it hit the sorting tables, where each cluster was destemmed and picked-over by hand before making the final cut. The result was a collection much reduced in volume as well as in number of bottlings (of which I did not, sadly, taste nearly all). Results reflected a conscious diminution of active fermentative extraction (with most of that pumping-over, not punching-down), a tendency Perrot-Minot has followed in recent years even abstracting from the vicissitudes of vintage; and pressing was, he reports, as gentle as mechanically possible. When it comes to new wood, though, Perrot-Minot says he backed off only a little bit from the levels of 2005. All in all, the house style strikes me as better-suited to the inherent structure, clarity, and bridled power of 2005 than to what Perrot-Minot - like most growers - talks about as the "elegance and finesse" - even "airiness" of 2006. I think it entirely fair to say that this collection departs from its vintage, and perhaps the word "transcends" might be more appropriate - at least, with a decade's hindsight! Incidentally, suggested retail prices for these rare wines have taken a significant jump this vintage, although the market reality may be less dramatic. (I have not tried to distinguish in the description of these wines those that are bottled under the "Henri Perrot-Minot" name, since their labels are otherwise indistinguishable and the matter of solely legalistic significance.) Wine Advocate.December, 2009
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