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Fine wine in focus: 2006 Burgundy

Something of a forgotten or at least over-looked Burgundy vintage, the 2006s have nonetheless been quietly outperforming their parent index on Liv-ex over the past year.

Just like its Bordeaux counterpart, the 2006s in Burgundy have suffered in the shadow of the, undeniably great, 2005s ever since their release.

The wines may not attain the same level of sheer quality as the 2005 vintage and more careful selection may be required when picking from among them but they do not lack for excellence either.

As BBR’s sales director, Adam Bilbey told the drinks business, revisiting the 2006 vintage has shown it to be, “better than many thought it would be,” and certainly, “undervalued”.

Like many over-looked vintages – and it has certainly been true for 2004 and 2006 Bordeaux – the 2006 Burgundies have quietly been performing well under the radar due to good scores and (relatively) low prices.

Between January 2014 and January 2015, the 2006 vintage out-performed its parent index in the Liv-ex Fine Wine 1000 – the Burgundy 150. In that period, while the Burgundy 150 declined 0.6%, the 2006s rose 3.9% in parallel.

The biggest risers in that period and how far they rose can be seen below:

DRC, Richebourg 2006 18.51%
DRC, Romanée-Saint-Vivant 2006 16.33%
DRC, Romanée-Conti 2006 16.13%
Bonneau Martray, Corton Charlemagne 2006 12.02%
Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Clos 2006 11.00%
Jean Grivot, Clos Vougeot 2006 9.31%
Domaine Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet Pucelles 2006 7.08%

Although the 2006s are performing well in many cases, the price differences between them and a vintage such as 2005 are stark. The disparity between the benchmark market prices per case for Jean Grivot’s 2006 and 2005 Clos Vougeot is a striking 125%, while that of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti’s Romanée-Saint-Vivant is 42%.

Yet, conversely, if the price difference is large, especially for the more famous and sought after DRC, the difference in scores is minimal, belying such lopsided pricing in many instances.

The comparative prices and their scores can be seen at the bottom of this piece. In one instance Jancis Robinson MW rated the 2006 Romanée-Conti 19.5 and the 2005 a full 20, while Allen Meadows gave respective 97 and 99+ scores. Yet there is a 27% price disparity between the two vintages which can only be the result of the fame of the 2005, 12 bottles of the 2006 costing an average of £86,556 and the 2005 £109,992.

Romanée-Conti is of course an exceptional example but another sees William Fevre’s Clos Chablis score 18 points from Robinson for both the 2005 and 2006 and then the 2006 outscore the 2005 95 to 94 in Meadows’ rating, yet there is nonetheless a 28% price disparity in favour of the 2005.

Again and again the wines from 2006 are rated 17-18.5 or 92-95 points, solid scores and not far behind their 2005 counterparts but there exists, at minimum, a 13% difference in the average price per case in all seven examples.

The relative closeness of the scores proves that the overlooked 2006s do not lack for quality and strengthens the case that they have been underrated by the secondary market like many other “unfashionable” vintages.

“The reds and the whites from 2006 are charming, and delightful,” Richard Sutton, Armit Wines’ managing director Asia told db. “The reds have a purity of fruit and soft tannins, very approachable. The whites are nice, fresh, well-balanced wines. The best probably come from Chassagne. In my book they’re still well-priced for the quality of the vintage.”

His views were echoed by Bordeaux Index’s Hong Kong managing director, Guy Ruston, who said: “2005 was always going to be a tough act to follow and, with the likes of 2009 and 2010 in the market, 2006 has really slipped under the radar. That said, the whites have been well championed since their release. Recent encounters with ’06 Meursault Perrieres from Bouchard and ’06 Meursault Charmes from Lafon – both absolutely delicious, full of plump, ripe fruit – are testament to that.

“The reds are a much more mixed bag, although I recently enjoyed an excellent bottle of Mugnier’s Nuits St.Georges Clos de Marechale. Still a few years off its best it showed enough of its potential to reaffirm its status as one of the region’s genuine bargains.”

The 2006s therefore appear to fulfill the three principal requirements of wine collection and investment: good quality, critical approval and reasonable price.

Furthermore, as Tom Stopford-Sackville, managing director of Goedhuis, said: “While most of the reds have entered their drinking window now there is no huge rush, they do not don’t have the concentration of the 2005s, but they have more to them than the now delicious 2007s, suggesting a good life ahead. The better premier crus and the grand crus currently sit in that drink or hold category. The village wines are drinking now.”

Although Stopford-Sackville did list a number of 12 and six-bottle cases currently available through Goedhuis ranging from Chandon de Briailles’ Volnay 1er cru Les Caillerets to Mommessin’s Clos de Tart, as with most Burgundies over five years old there is generally very little stock in merchants’ hands, “it’s all quite ‘bitty’,” said Ruston,

Nonetheless, as Bilbey concluded: “Compared to more recent vintages it looks to offer value.”


All prices are benchmark market prices for a 12 bottle case stored in bond. Scores are from Jancis Robinson MW (JR) and Allen Meadows (AM).

DRC Richebourg 2006 – £10,200 (JR – 18.5 : AM – 95)
DRC Richebourg 2005 – £15,540 (JR – 18.5 : AM – 97-)

DRC Romanée Saint Vivant 2006 – £8,400 (JR – 17.5 : AM – 94)
DRC Romanée Saint Vivant 2005 – £11,952 (JR – 19 : AM – 97-)

DRC Romanée-Conti 2006 – £86,556 (JR – 19.5 : AM – 97-)
DRC Romanée-Conti 2005 – £109,992 (JR – 20 : AM 99+)

Jean Grivot, Clos Vougeot 2006 – £710 (JR – 16.5++ : AM – 92)
Jean Grivot, Clos Vougeot 2005 – £1,598 (JR – 18+ : AM – 94-)

Bonneau Martray, Corton Charlemagne 2006 –£840 (JR – 17.5 : AM – 92-94)
Bonneau Martray, Corton Charlemagne 2005 – £950 (JR – 18.5 : AM – 95-)

Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Clos 2006 –£420 (JR – 18- : AM – 95-)
Domaine William Fevre, Chablis Clos 2005 –£540 (JR – 18 : AM – 94-)

Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Pucelles 2006 – £1,400 (JR – 18 : AM – 92)
Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Pucelles 2005 – £1,590 (JR – 18.5 : AM – 93-)

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