Of course if you read the review section you’ll know my opinion of the 2005 vintages, which I can summarise as: Mora Mora, good but needed work, Sambirano: awesome if not exactly typical of the bean.
Well, having now tried the 2006 vintages I can say the results are COMPLETELY different. The Sambirano 2006 was really a major disappointment, all woody and harsh. Last years’ had, I think, been roasted fairly heavily, and perhaps Malagasy thought they might tweak the bar by lightening up on the roast, which they certainly appear to have done, but the net result was only just short of disastrous. It reminds me a lot of Valrhona’s Ampamakia 2002, another effort that just didn’t cut the mustard. Malagasy should really have stuck with their darker roast – when you’ve already got a proven success, it’s important to resist the urge to tinker.
But the Mora Mora bar, which did need tinkering, has been as much of a dramatic improvement as the Sambirano was a let-down. This is a wonderful rendition of a Madagascar, very soft, very feminine, a truly “beautiful” bar if I may say so. It’s got the same blueberry suggestion as Guittard’s and an awesome chocolatey finish very reminiscent of last year’s Sambirano. I’ll have a more complete review soon. When I first saw that it got a silver in the AoC awards this year I was skeptical but now I see why. In fact, the bigger mystery is why it didn’t garner a gold.
Obviously Malagasy is an evolving, experimenting company. In their first production year I wasn’t expecting anything revelatory and the Sambirano really was a happy surprise. This year they’ve managed to get the same sort of surprising outcome as last with a Mora Mora which is perhaps even better than last years’ Sambirano. However, the flip in quality is a bit deflating. I get the suspicion that the 2007′s will be more evenly matched and probably better as a group but that neither bar will be great, merely excellent, and that would be a loss, at least IMHO: I feel that one great chocolate and one decent chocolate is a better result than 2 excellent chocolates.
Who else has managed to try the Malagasy 2006′s?