Ripe and exotic, with sandalwood and incense aromas highlighting the cherry and red currant flavors. There's some burly tannins behind the fruit. Needs time to integrate. Best from 2011 through 2024. 45 cases made.
Scents of smoky black tea, smoked poultry, fresh cherry and plum rise from the glass of Potel 2006 Vosne-Romanee Les Malconsorts. On the palate, this is the alter ego of the Petits Monts, being rather aggressively tannic. Were it not at the same time emphatically ripe in fruit, this would probably seem excessively rough. In the event, it finishes tenaciously and with impressive layering. I would revisit it in a couple of years in hope that the tannins have soften and the sense of opacity given way to a glimpse of further complexity as befits the site.
Nicolas Potel consistently favors promoting ripeness at low potential alcohol and consistently eschews chaptalization. He is also a fan of freshness and clarity in Pinot, while maintaining notably low levels of sulfur. A vintage where a significant share of fruit came in near or above 14% potential alcohol and was shadowed by botrytis was thus a challenge, which seems to have been selectively well met. (For more on the style and methods associated with Maison Nicolas Potel – whose wines are sourced from a mixture of contract fruit and purchased juice – consult my report in issue 171.) Despite the huge number of 2006s I tasted here, incidentally, they did not represent the entire Potel vintage collection. In May, 2009, Potel left the negociant firm that bears his name (and which belongs to the Cottin brothers, owners of Laboure-Roi) to devote himself entirely to his own domaine and negociant operation, Maison Roche de Bellene, which crushed its first grapes with the 2007 vintage (in part from Potel holdings that were showcased in Maison Potel bottlings of vintages 2005 and 2006). Long-time cellarmaster Fabrice Lesne has now assumed direction of Maison Potel. By the way, suggested retail prices for the 2006s here took a sharp downturn vis-a-vis those for the 2005s, an occurrence worth noting for its rarity. (That said, of course the effective, eventual retail prices for all 2006s have turned on market factors that transcended cellar door prices, let alone the parameters envisioned by national importers).