1986 Gruaud Larose, St-Julien

SKU #950225 96 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Still tasting as if it were only 7-8 years of age, the dense, garnet/purple-colored 1986 Gruaud-Larose is evolving at a glacier pace. The wine still has mammoth structure, tremendous reserves of fruit and concentration, and a finish that lasts close to a minute. The wine is massive, very impressively constituted, with still some mouth-searing tannin to shed. Decanting of one to two hours in advance seems to soften it a bit, but this is a wine that seems to be almost immortal in terms of its longevity. It is a great Medoc classic, and certainly one of the most magnificent Gruaud-Larose ever made. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035. (RP)  (1/2003)

95 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Very youthful deep ruby-red color. Brooding nose offers perfumed blackcurrant, mineral, violet and quinine aromas. Big, dense and rich, conveying an impression of strong extract to the powerful, well-delineated blackberry and herb flavors. The long, tactile finish features chewy but polished tannins and a lingering floral note. Though ready to drink now, this wine will continue to age gracefully. One of the best Gruaud-Larose wines of the past 40 years. (ID)  (4/2013)

Jancis Robinson

 Magnum. One of the stars of the vintage showed good, long-term form. Dense and classic and rather dry on the finish. Super fresh and refreshing. (17.5/20 points)  (7/2010)

K&L Notes

94 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted at The Ledbury Gruaud Larose lunch, a consistent note compared to the one encountered last year, perhaps one of the finest wines of the decade after the 1982. It has a typically backward, distant nose that does not really want to play ball, but reluctantly offers black fruits, tobacco, cedar and retains that Graves-like personality. The palate is masculine, bolstered by rigid tannins, quite tarry in the mouth with hints of mocha towards its stern, finish. Gentleman’s claret! Superb. Tasted June 2011." (01/2012)

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Varietal:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.
Country:

France

- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.
Sub-Region:

Bordeaux

- View our bestselling Bordeaux.
Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.