DRC - La Tache 2006
Tasting Notes and Scores
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 22/12/2009 Domaine de La Romanee-Conti's 2006 La Tache possesses a sense of sheer density and a viscosity – by no means precluding energy – that go beyond the other wines in the Domaine''s current collection. Scents of bitter-sweet floral perfume, citrus oils, white pepper, peat, and black fruit distillates pungently, almost aggressively fill the nose. The marrow and beef gelatin aspect of this Pinot is salient, but is allied on a palpably tannic palate with similarly impressive concentrated cooked black fruits, dark mushroom stock, forest floor, smoky Lapsang tea, and licorice. For grip and power, too, this surpasses its stable mates. But a glance back at the Romanee-St.-Vivant suggests that you can''t have it all, and that this La Tache cannot approach that wine''s finesse or quite equal its mystery. Still, I suspect this will be worth following for at least two decades. The Domaine de La Romanee-Conti harvested from the 20th-25th of September (commencing with Richebourg) and subjected the crop to rigorous sorting. Understandably, the viticultural meticulousness at this estate as well as its team of some 60 highly-skilled and –motivated pickers paid dividends in the context of a challenging vintage. Director Aubert de Villaine and cellarmaster Bernard Noblet vinified their 2006s with a lesser share of stems and whole clusters, and exposed them to new wood for a shorter period (thereafter racking into older barrels) than the corresponding 2005s.
While young La Tâche has the reputation of always being highly expressive aromatically, even explosive, there are some vintages where this tendency is more muted and 2006 is one of these. The positively gorgeous if presently reserved nose offers up the hallmark spice and floral components that are broad and deep though requiring some real glasswork to coax out but it's worth the effort as the nose here, restrained or not, is brilliant. The big and generous flavors are an exercise in contrasts as they are at once round and rich while remaining wonderfully defined and precise with more minerality coming to the fore than any of the prior wines displayed, all wrapped in a linear, precise and palate staining finish that not withstanding the initial aromatic reserve, is indeed explosive. This is already harmonious and the transparency and purity of expression are something to see. While I do not argue that the '06 La Tâche rivals vintages like '99 or '05, there is something special about this one that causes me to already be in love with it. In a word, magnificent and now that it is in bottle, my original description needs no modification except perhaps to observe that this is a Zen-like vintage for La Tâche as it is very calm and deliberate in demeanor.