|2006 Bouchard Pere & Fils Echezeaux Burgundy - 96 pts! A relatively subtle touch of wood frames a highly spiced red berry fruit nose that displays nuances of earth and smoke that are in keeping with the rich, full, sweet and mouth coating flavors that are really quite supple, indeed even forward yet the finish is very firm and moderately austere. Like the best wines in this range, there is an impressive amount of dry extract that confers a textured quality to the backend. BH Philippe Prost, Bouchard's winemaker, repeated that the "new cuvÃ©rie is a godsend in terms of being able to analyze quickly and efficiently what we are bringing in as well as to separate out specific parcels within vineyards and then include them or not later as each cuvÃ©e merits. We now can also move grapes, must and wine around with zero pumping, which is especially important with grapes as now we don't break the seeds, which in some vintages is critical because they're not always ripe and as such, they can be the source of bitterness. This was especially important in 2006 and 2007 whereas 2005 wasn't really as much of a test because the raw materials turned out to be much more robust and tolerant. In terms of the growing season, you really had to wait for phenolic maturity in the reds whereas it was important to harvest the whites early. In fact, it's interesting to note that for the first time since 1989, we started harvesting the whites before the reds! We began picking on September 18th for the chardonnay as it was easy to have surmaturitÃ©. The fruit was harvested under cool conditions and we had good if not truly exceptional cleanliness and relatively high sugars in chardonnay that mostly ranged between 13.5 and 14%. In retrospect, I am very happy that we got the whites in early because rot was a potential looming problem and the acidities were falling rapidly so by starting when we did we were able to avoid both problems. Yields were all over the place with some vineyards being relatively normal but others were low. As to the wines themselves, while there is no perfect parallel, I might compare the 2006 whites to the 2000s as they're similar in style." Prost went on to note that the '06s were bottled earlier than normal because they were taking up their wood quickly and in both colors and thus the decision was made that there was no point in risking the wines drying out in barrel. The quality of the Bouchard '06 whites is certainly very good to excellent and while the reds can't match the '05s, the '06 whites are every bit as good as their '05 counterparts though I hasten to point out that they possess very different personalities.