Cassis, blackberry, licorice, vanilla, smoky black tea, and lily perfume wafting from the glass of Chateau de Chambolle's 2006 Musigny seduce the senses. The sheer sappy, palate-staining bittersweet fruit concentration here is remarkable, with the wine's strong undertone of wet stone seemingly acting as a sounding board. This displays an uncanny combination of sheer density with reverberative, vibrant energy and buoyancy that are consistent with the best wines of this vintage, but that this wine displayed to a considerable extent in 2005, too. This is one to cherish for the next 15-20 years.
When asked what he had done differently in 2006 when compared with 2005, Frederic Mugnier replied, "Nothing. I want the character of the vintage to be reflected in the wine as much as the terroir, so I try to hold everything else as constant as possible." While that statement might reflect a bit of hyperbole, it's hard to argue with a collection like Mugnier's 2006s, its wines reflective of their vintage, yet the best of them not really dramatically different from their 2005 counterparts. Certainly they are no less profoundly delicious, and will give more pleasure sooner. (For some details on Mugnier methodology, consult my report in issue 170.) Picking began here ahead of the ban de vendange, "at absolutely the same levels of sugar as in 2005" – meaning at 12.75-14% potential alcohol – although Mugnier hastens to note that it was only well along in the evolution of this collection – and to his surprise – that its ability to hold its own qualitatively with some of the great vintages at his estate became evident. "There wasn't much hail," he relates, "and only in a few sectors did we have to perform serious triage," which chez Mugnier – as at Rousseau – means in the vineyard, not on sorting tables.