From $24.99 and €17 a bottle and £150 a dozen in bond
Last week's exploration of the 2005 vintage in Bordeaux will be followed later this week with a pretty comprehensive review of the 2006 classed growths, but in the meantime here is a bargain from that later vintage.
I have already published my delighted acclaim for Ch La Fleur Morange 2005 and a set of tasting notes on a Ch La Fleur Morange vertical, but Mathilde de La Fleur Morange 2006 St-Émilion is the second wine of that exceptional property.
The wine is named after the daughter of Fleur Morange's owners Jean-François and Véronique Julien, whose four acres of century-old Merlot vines in the village of St-Pey-d'Armens due east of the town of St-Émilion seem capable of such great things. Jean-François Julien, who seems as precise a winemaker as he was a cabinet-maker, puts this down at least partly to the unusual complexity of the soils in their small vineyard. Claude Gros, whom I profiled recently, is the consultant oenologist. Below is the tiny chai.
Mathilde is designed to be drunk much earlier than the grand vin but I would put its drinking window at 2008-12 and was very impressed by the management of tannins. You could enjoy this already with a bit of roast beef. It looks rich and nuanced, then is very solid, meaty and polished with great balance already. It's a wine that manages to be both serious and opulent at the same time – very ripe-tasting (13% alcohol on the label) but without any specious sweetness. It really covers the palate in the way that top quality wine does, and should provide extremely rewarding drinking for the price. I also tasted Mathilde de Ch La Fleur Morange 2007 St-Émilion, which seemed much tarter, leaner and simpler, although I am assured that Mathilde tends to gain weight with time.
A third wine, Avalone de Ch La Fleur Morange, is made exclusively for the French market. The 2006 was looking rather lovely when I tasted it.
The wine is available in the US at under $25 a bottle, in France for €17 and is being sold by Interest in Wine (www.interestinwine.co.uk) for £150 a dozen in bond, which works out at £16.40 a bottle once VAT and duty have been paid.