The 2006 vintage at Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Even with a rainfall deficit, the maturation conditions were ideal. With this 2006 harvest, Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemakers sign the 8th very good year out of 9 vintages !

Meteorological datas

From the meteorological point of view, the first nine months of 2006 were marked by rainfalls under the normal season level and by an excellent shinning.

More precisely, the 2006 vintage is characterised by the thermal gap between the months of July and August, by well targeted but rather few rainfalls (368 mm of rain against 450 mm for a normal year, more especially rains of mid-July and mid-August), and finally by an excellent sunshine (2.378 hours of sunshine against 2.993 in average). It is known that temperature differences and cool nights, during the end of summer, are favourable factors for the synthesis of polyphenols and aromatic precursors, so essential for the elaboration of rich and balanced wines. The very few rainfalls of the summer (58 mm of rain against 99 for a normal year) have permitted the grapes to mature in excellent sanitary conditions.

Except for some few storms followed by strong winds (Mistral) during September, we can say that meteorological conditions were once again optimum, allowing Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemakers, to vinify a great vintage.

2006’s vintage characteristics

Even though some white and syrah grapes had to be harvest in early September, some late plots of Mourvèdre and Grenache had sometimes to wait until the beginning of October to reach their full phenolic maturity.

The maturity is a particularly important factor for the final quality of the wine, that Châteauneuf-du-Pape winemakers tend to master in order to optimise each vintage potential. Last devatting took place in late October, when the wine were nearly finished, even for the malolactic fermentation, easily started by a favourable cool after season. The finished wines have beautiful generosity, deep colour, fragrance of red and black fruits, good balance with mellow and elegant tannins. The good natural acidity of the grapes gives to the wine a certain freshness. It is without a doubt a very qualitative vintage, that some compare to 99, and that inscribes itself in the same line than its predecessors : 2003, 2004 and 2005.

On an production aspect, the yield in 2006 is around 32 hectolitres per hectare, therefore less than maximum 35 hectolitres per hectare allowed in the appellation decree.