1986 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien

SKU #950802 91 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Still backward (frustratingly so), this wine shows a very dark ruby color with a hint of pink at the rim. The aromatics are beginning to emerge from just pure fruit-driven notes to secondary characteristics. Sweet earth, truffle, black currant, underbrush, and licorice emerge with coaxing. In the mouth, the wine is powerful, dense, with high tannin., impressive concentration, and a formidable, sort of old-style personality. The best 1986 Medocs are terrific wines, but have never been wines that show a lot of charm. Like so many of its siblings from the Medoc, one admires the wines more than actually enjoys them,. I still have high hopes that everything will come together. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2030. (RP)  (1/2003)

90 points Wine Spectator

 Locked up tight with dense currant, spice and cedar flavors framed by tannins. On the finish there are hints of elegance and grace.  (5/1989)

Jancis Robinson

 Still young-looking and young-smelling. Very full and rich nose. Opulent. Slightly dusty. Even more robust than most other vintages. 17.5/20 points. Drink 2005-2018.  (1/2008)

K&L Notes

94 points, Wine Advocate's Neal Martin: "Tasted with Anthony Barton at the Saint Julien restaurant, this behemoth of a wine is definitely starting to pump on cylinders. As before, it needs considerable decanting, but it unfurls beautifully in the glass to reveal blackberry, dark plums, a touch of sandalwood and warm gravel. Coming direct from the property, there is a touch more fruite compared to other bottles. The palate is medium-bodied with great depth and breadth: less masculine than before, mellowing nicely with layers of lifted blackberry, plum, wild strawberry and cedar that leads to an extraordinarily long finish. There is a sense of harmony and composure to this wine that makes it utterly beguiling. Top class. Tasted November 2011." (Wine Journal, 3/2012)

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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 M├ędoc 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.