"Two thousand six was a year to pick late, even in the Cote de Beaune, in order to capture the beautiful side of a cool summer," said Mounir Saouma, who added that his wines are made from vines picked "earlier than the others in eight out of ten years." He went on: "There was a lot of variation even within the clusters. If you harvested too early, the wines are underripe, with too much acidity. The early pickers have made teeny wines with limited aging potential." Saouma did some lees stirring in 2006, which he feels gave the wines a better balance. "Two thousand five is a vintage to age. The wines have a lot of everything," he added. "But the 2006s may be more enjoyable to drink for many years." He noted that a few of his wines, such as the Vosne-Romanee Malconsorts, are "bigger" in 2006 than in the previous vintages, even if potential alcohol levels were generally about a half-degree lower in '06. Incidentally, for the first time production here reached 100 barrels, with 60 % of them red (of 52 premier and grand cru).
2006 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Grands Epenots
Good full red. Aromas of dark cherry, licorice and smoked meat. Juicy and fruity if on the lean side, with flavors of raspberry, cherry and leather. A lighter-style wine from light soil.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Epenots
(from compact clay soil) Good bright, deep red. Ripe aromas of redcurrant, smoke, mocha and minerals. Lush and serious, with a distinctly chewier, creamier texture than the Grands Epenots. Sweet flavors of spicy redcurrant, licorice and bitter chocolate. Finishes with substantial ripe tannins.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Caillerets
(bottled two days prior to my visit) Good deep red. Scented nose offers black fruits, violet and minerals. Sweet, lush and pliant, with lovely dark fruit intensity and attractive peppery lift. A broad, creamy wine that should provide plenty of early appeal. From a limestone slope that Saouma compares to the Cote de Nuits. "Volnay Caillerets is the red wine of the Cote de Beaune," he adds.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Corton Bressandes
Medium red. Musky, wild aromas of red fruits and smoked ham. Sweet, supple and meaty, with a slightly medicinal cast to its fruit but also a sensual texture given shape and lift by ripe acids. A classy Corton, not at all a brutal style. Finishes with slightly dry but fine tannins.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Damodes
Bright red. Reticent aromas of dark cherry, raspberry, spices and mocha. Sweet and sappy, with an almost liqueur-like ripeness to its maraschino cherry flavor but without any impression of heaviness. Very pure wine, finishing with lovely lift. This wine will get a relatively late bottling owing to a very slow malolactic fermentation.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Cailles
Deep red-ruby. A confiture of black fruits on the nose, complemented by smoke and caramel. Lush on entry, then quite firm in the middle, with black fruit and spice flavors currently dominated by a solid tannic spine. Juicy and long but currently rather ungiving.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Vaucrains
Good dark red. A tangy basket of fruits accented by bitter chocolate on the high-pitched nose. Ripe, tangy and dry, showing terrific class and cut. Vibrant and scented in the mouth but with a medicinal reserve today. This juicy, lively wine finishes with fine tannins and lovely lingering perfume. This finished its malo by July but fermented its sugars until August.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Lavaux Saint Jacques
Good medium red. Expressive nose offers blackberry, smoked ham and a note of game. Ripe and pliant on entry, then broad, dry and classic, with a silky, seamless texture and lovely length. Today the wine's primary fruit character is quite subdued, with smoke and saline elements to the fore. Saouma noted that he has changed his supplier for this cru, and that his new version is less tannic than previously.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Charmes
Good deep red with ruby highlights. Dark berries, black cherry, smoke, game and minerals on the slightly high-toned nose, with a medicinal aspect; imagine a cross between Chambolle and Clos Vougeot. Sweet, silky and fat with fruit; impressively dense and layered. Finishes quite long, with substantial granular tannins.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Haut Doix
(vinified with its stems) Bright, dark red. Pungent aromas of raspberry, blueberry and crushed stone; this reminded me of the minerally Volnay Caillerets. Sweet but quite tight on the palate, with terrific inner-mouth lift and perfume to the precise flavors of dark berries, licorice and stone. Quite bracing and perfumed on the very long finish. With its cut and freshness, this reminded me of an Amoureuses. Saouma believes that wines like this and the Amoureuses will last for two decades but will also be fun to drink at every stage.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses
Good deep red. Deeply pitched aromas of exotic fruits and smoke. Very rich and chewy but less obviously fruity and sweet than the Haut-Doix. Lower-toned and more soil-driven than the Haut-Doix-and quite rich for the vintage. This has a viscosity that Saouma says is due to the lower level of gas. Finishes quite long, with a note of roast coffee. There's plenty of energy and strength here, but today I prefer the Haut-Doix for its higher pitch.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Suchots
Good deep red. Wild small berries, smoked meat and minerals on the nose. At once lush and sappy in the mouth, with an almost liqueur-like sweetness leavened by an intriguing cool quality. Fruity but not overly sweet. This really saturates the palate on the back end, finishing with substantial tannins that show a slightly tough quality today.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Malconsorts
Saturated deep red. Candied red berries and exotic spices on the liqueur-like yet high-pitched nose. Less plush and fat than the Suchots but with more energy and precision thanks to its tangy minerality. Finishes with superb purity, cut and lift. I love this style.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Charmes Chambertin
Medium red. Musky, nuanced nose offers wild berries, dried rose, smoked meat and orange peel. Suave and velvety on the palate, with lovely lift and inner-mouth perfume. The berry flavors are complicated by subtle soil tones. Finishes quite long, with classy, smooth tannins. Saouma believes that Gevrey-Chambertin performed very well in 2006. "The wines are less tannic and more elegant than usual, without any loss of texture," he told me.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Clos Vougeot
Good deep red. Pungent aromas of blueberry, smoke, minerals and game. Lush, sexy and deep, with powerful extract and sappiness to its deep core of fruit. A metallic, iodiney quality and a saline element communicate a strong impression of the soil. This firmly structured wine coats the entire palate on the aftertaste, finishing with serious tannins and a note of coffee. Saouma noted that this grand cru was vinified with about one-third of its stems and underwent a long maceration; he planned to bottle most of it in magnums.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Clos St Denis
Deep red. Explosive, wild aromas of briary raspberry, brown spices and dried rose. Wonderfully sexy on the palate, with lovely energy giving shape to the silky texture. This has a velvety richness that reminded me of a 2005. As explosive on the back end as on the nose, finishing smooth, rich and tactile yet quite firm.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche
Deep red-ruby. More masculine and less expressive on the nose than the Clos Saint-Denis but primary and pure, hinting at blueberry and crushed rocks. Ripe, thick and densely packed if a bit youthfully unformed, with terrific energy and sappiness for a wine with so much breadth. More minerals and brown spices than primary fruit showing today. The finish features serious but ripe tannins and terrific persistence. This backward grand cru is going to need a good six to eight years of cellaring.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Mazis Chambertin
Good full red. Wild blueberry, blackberry and game on the liqueur-like nose, lifted by a minty topnote. High-pitched and bracing, with terrific intensity to the pristine flavors of pure crushed blueberry and rocks. Mounts impressively on the back half, finishing tight and firm, with powerful tannins and penetrating minerality.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin Clos de Beze
Medium-deep red. Wild, highly complex nose melds sappy crushed redcurrant and raspberry, game, tobacco, dried flowers and minerals. Like liquid silk in the mouth; dense, sweet and thick but laid-back. Builds inexorably toward the back, finishing with suave tannins, compelling perfume and terrific force. This intensely minerally, rocky grand cru shows some white wine notes on the aftertaste. But then there's calcaire here that's not very different from that of Montrachet, notes Saouma. A great '06 in the making.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes Mares
Deep red. Wild raspberry, cassis, smoked meat, rose petal and exotic brown spices on the bracing, nuanced nose. Sweet and gripping, combining impressive power and a fine-grained texture. Superconcentrated, explosive and wild, showing the superb energy of the vintage's finest examples. With palate-staining finishing notes of crushed raspberry, pepper, wild spices and herbs, it's hard to spit this stuff. Wonderfully complete wine.
2006 Lucien Le Moine Richebourg
Good deep red. Deep, wild, slightly reduced aromas of brooding red fruits, smoked meat and mocha. Thick, sweet and full in the mouth, but with its impressive volume leavened by a peppery lift. This viscous yet vibrant and superbly concentrated wine boasts a 2005-like texture but is a bit inscrutable today. Finishes quite backward and smoky, with building tannins.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Volnay Clos des Chenes
($100) Good medium red. Cherry liqueur and redcurrant on the very ripe nose. Sweet and concentrated, with high-toned flavors of red fruits and spices supported by firm acidity and a structure with the power of a Pommard. The long finish shows firm spine. This has the solidity for a long evolution in bottle.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Pommard Les Epenots
($107) Good red. Wild, smoky aromas of redcurrant, mocha, flint and iron. Lush, rich, dense and sweet, also in a distinctly powerful style. Boasts an impressive combination of body and juiciness. Finishes sweet, ripe and long.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Nuits Saint Georges Les Cailles
($107) Dark red-ruby. Wild, reduced nose offers black raspberry, underbrush and hints of chocolate and tar. Then sweet, supple and creamy in the mouth, with excellent energy to the flavors of dark berries, mocha and iron. Finishes with substantial but very fine tannins and subtle oak. Very Nuits from a ripe year.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Vosne Romanee Les Suchots
($134) Deep red-ruby. Aromas of black raspberry, bitter chocolate and spices. Sweet, dense and superconcentrated, with a tight core of floral berry flavor and terrific sappy depth. As ripe as this is, it's also classically dry on the vibrant, palate-staining aftertaste. I love the energy here.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Haut Doix
($125) Deep red-ruby. Superripe, slightly high-toned aromas of blackberry, blueberry, smoke and stone. Big, broad and quite dry, with an almost chocolatey ripeness; the high-toned character follows through in the mouth. Still youthfully imploded. Finishes long, with rich, chewy tannins and a superripe suggestion of caramel. Distinctly less bright than the 2006 example: this will rely more on its tannins than its acids for longevity. I'd give it seven or eight years in the cellar.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Chambolle Musigny Les Amoureuses
($263) Deep red. Knockout musky aromas of red raspberry, flowers and sweet spices. Wonderfully sweet, lush and full but with pungent minerality and captivating floral high notes giving this very pure, silky wine definition and lift. Utterly sexy and seamless wine, and very Amoureuses. I wonder if this one will ever really shut down in the bottle. There's plenty of stuffing and underlying structure here for long life.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Gevrey Chambertin Estournelles Saint Jacques
($105) Bright, deep, saturated red. Highly nuanced nose combines raspberry, flowers, game, minerals and smoky earth; just a touch reduced. Juicy, minerally and penetrating, with a chewy texture leavened by suave minerality. There's an utterly captivating restraint-not to mention razor-sharp definition-to the tangy fruit and mineral flavors. The firm tannins of this beauty argue for five or six years of patience.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Bonnes Mares
($280) Deep red-ruby. Musky, deep nose offers black raspberry, blueberry and medicinal spices. Then chewy, deep and incredibly sweet on the palate, with a distinctly firm edge to its well-delineated flavors of black and blue fruits, tar and iron filings. Conveys a powerful impression of extract and finishes with substantial tannins. As sweet as this is, it calls for extended cellaring.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Clos de la Roche
($240) Deep red. Knockout nose combines musky raspberry, leather, licorice, brown spices, minerals and flowers. Then compellingly sweet and silky on the palate, but with terrific energy to the soil-driven flavors of crushed stone, minerals, flowers and pungent spices. The oak element serves to further frame the flavors. A seamless, palate-staining wine with superb persistence, and the balance for a slow evolution in bottle.
2005 Lucien Le Moine Chambertin Clos de Beze
($443) Deep, bright red-ruby. Pungent aromas of blueberry, minerals, spices and exotic flowers, all showing a medicinal restraint. Superripe and wild, with almost exotic floral high tones to the creamy-sweet flavors of black fruits and minerals. The combination of sheer sweetness, density and firm spine is exhilarating. Offers extraordinary fullness of texture without any sign of heaviness. Finishes with lush tannins, outstanding length and captivating floral perfume.