1986 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Tasted at the château, the 1986 Haut Brion is a vintage that I had not tasted for some time. It is a blend of 28% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 62% Cabernet Sauvignon according to the chateau's records. Mirroring the 1996 La Mission, in this vintage that Haut-Brion occupies a higher quality level, with more complexity and vivacity on the nose: dusky black fruit, warm gravel, terracotta and cigar humidor. Lovely! The palate is very well balanced, maybe a little rustic compared to recent vintages, yet with firm body and grip. It's the kind of gruff, almost surly, broad-shouldered 1986s that might be a little curmudgeonly compared to 1985 or 1989, however after 30 years you are compensated with plenty of freshness and focus. I don't think it ranks up there with the best of the first growth...that would come in other vintages, but it still provides plenty of drinking pleasure for those who love their classic claret with capital "C." (NM)
Lively and rich and fully mature. Less density than the Mouton 1986 served blind alongside this wine. It hits the palate with sweet earthiness but leaves it with a firm dryness. Very appetising and nuanced. 18/20 points
Dark ruby red. Aromas of cedar, tea, berry, cherry and leather. Medium- to full-bodied, with velvety tannins. Soft and delicious, but slightly dry on the finish. (JS)
Château Haut-Brion is one of the five first growth wines of Bordeaux, and the only one from Graves. Located on two hillocks of gravel over clay and sand in Pessac for a classic Graves terroir, it consists of 51 hectares of mostly red varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). It is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux and was even served to Charles II! The estate is now owned and lovingly managed by the Dillon family, the royal family of Luxembourg.