Surprising vintage, 1986 produced wines with great aging potential. As is often the case in Bordeaux, the left bank wines offer more structure and potential. Ideal climatic conditions in the latter part of the season helped the Médoc and Pessac-Léognan acheive perfect ripeness. Outstanding vintage for cabernet sauvignon, there is no doubt the left side of the Gironde with its gravelly soils succeded. The 86 Bordeaux have evolved favorably and are showing superb complexity. The 86 left bank wines offer a classic Bordeaux profile as many continue to improve. A selection of reputed châteaux was chosen to evaluate the high quality and evolution of this excellent Bordeaux vintage.
@ Les Conseillers du Vin, thirty years later, we revisited this classic Bordeaux vintage that should be at its peak. To verify the evolution, structure and balance of this fine Bordeaux vintage, a group of 16 experienced tasters analysed 7 outstanding Chateaux plus a mystery wine in the usual blind tasting format.
Results: Overall the wines faired very well! To establish the order of preference of the tasting panel, 3 points were awarded for a first place vote, 2 pts for a 2nd place vote and 1pt for a 3rd place vote.
One wine stood out: wine # 3 Lynch Bages with 29 points way ahead of wine # 6 Ch. Les Ormes de Pez (15 pts) and wine # 2 Rauzan Ségla (14 pts) Most of the wines showed good structure, great balance and complexity. The mystery wine, 1986 Monticello Napa Cab, did not fare well. It seemed on its way down and was correctly identified by nine (9) participants of which four tasters chose it as the disappointing wine of the tasting. The Rauzan Ségla and Haut Bages Libéral seemed more evolved with a slight austere finish. Two wines displayed more depth and structure: Lynch Bages and Pape Clément. Still quite alive, these two wines should continue to evolve favourably. My top three wines were: 1-Lynch Bages, 2-Pape Clément, 3-Les Ormes de Pez.
The wines : Order of blind tasting:
1- Château Haut Bages Libéral, Pauillac (Group score: 7 pts)
A fairly evolved Pauillac. Medium bodied, elegant and fresh. Mineral nose with some vegetal. Lively acidity may indicate that it’s starting to thin out. Medium weight and length. Drink up! My rating: 88/100
2- Château Rauzan Ségla, Margaux (Group score: 14 pts)
Classic Bordeaux nose displaying forest floor and mineral scents with some dried berry scents. Firm tannins and obvious acidity announce a wine that is starting its decline. Drink up! My rating: 90
3- Château Lynch Bages, Pauillac (Group Score: 29 pts)
By far the preferred wine of the tasting. Great colour. Typical Pauillac nose: graphite, forest floor with a hint of bell pepper and blackberries. Very good extract with a solid structure of slightly firm tannins for more aging potential (3 to 5 years). My rating: 93+/100
4- Cabernet Sauvignon 1986 Monticello Napa Valley (Group score: 6 pts)
Nine (9) of the tasters identified it as the mystery wine. Very evolved tawny port colour. Over the hill wine. Lost most of its fruit. Not much left. My rating: 84/100
5- Château Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan (Group score: 12 pts)
My second favourite wine. Full bodied with fresh acidity, good structure and a charming lingering satisfying finish. Typical mineral/forest floor scents enhanced by vegetal and animal hints. Still some potential, drink now or over the next 3 to 5 years. My rating: 92/100
6- Château Les Ormes de Pez, St-Estèphe (Group score : 15 pts)
This lovely Cru Bourgeois was not out place at all! Forrest floor scent with some animal, mineral and bell peppers hints. Some lingering tannins, but remains quite supple and elegant with good balance and medium length. Ready to drink. My rating: 91/100
7- Château Beychelle, St-Julien (Group score: 9 pts)
Medium bodied, showing some evolution. Complex Bordeaux nose displaying humus, bell peppers with floral and mineral scents. A classic well balanced Bordeaux with good length. My rating: 90/100
8-Château Gruaud Larose, St-Julien (Group score: 4 pts)
Having tasted this wine over a dozen times, this particular bottle did not seem at its best. Probably a bit more evolved than expected. Floral, mineral and forest floor scents. A fresh, elegant refined Cru Classé. My rating: 89+?/100