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1986 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan

SKU #950764 93 points John Gilman

 The 1986 Haut-Bailly is a really terrific example of the vintage and is starting to really drink beautifully at age twenty-four. The deep, complex and very pure nose offers up a mix of cherries, orange zest, tobacco leaf, lovely minerality, summer truffles and cedary wood. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish and strikingly transparent, with a lovely core of fruit, superb intensity of flavor, modest tannins and outstanding length and grip on the beautifully balanced finish. Just a lovely and very refined example of the ’86 vintage. (Drink between 2013-2035).  (7/2016)

91 points Wine Spectator

 Remarkably elegant and graceful with firm tannic structure and currant, cassis, cedar and earth flavors that are complex and intriguing. Built for the long run, but almost drinkable now.  (6/1989)

Jancis Robinson

 Very dark ruby. All Cabernet Sauvignon. Very zesty. The Brie flatters this wine and makes it taste fuller. Very long and quite high VA. 17.5/20 points  (10/2011)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted at the château, the 1986 Haut Bailly is a vintage that I have not tasted for five years. It has an attractive nose that is clearly fully mature, but still healthy, well defined and quite generous with small red cherries, mulberry and cedar. The palate is medium-bodied, structured yet fresh with good grip in the mouth. There is tangible salinity, especially on the finish that you could argue cuts away short. This might be because there was no Merlot in the blend and was in fact, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. It's not bad at all, although it does not approach the best vintages from the château. Tasted July 2016. (NM)  (12/2016)

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Price: $139.99

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Staff Image By: Jeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/30/2014 | Send Email
The wines of the '86 vintage were forbiddingly tannic in their youth and very slow to evolve. Closing in on 30 years past the vintage they are really coming into their own. The 1986 Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan is certainly a strong candidate for one of the most charming wines of the vintage. The wine has all the hallmarks of a nicely aged claret - fully garnet color, bottle notes of cedar and saddle leather, and a fine coating of tannins on the finish that is the legacy of this long-lived vintage. In addition, however, it also offers a remarkable sweetness of fruit - red currant and cherry. The wine is possessed of a lovely ripeness and a suppleness of texture that became even more evident with additional aeration.

Additional Information:


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.


- 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.


Specific Appellation:


- Graves is the large red and white wine region located to the southeast of the city of Bordeaux along the Garonne River. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red wines from the area, while the whites are mixtures of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The most important area within the Graves is the village of Pessac-Leognan. Most of the great chateaux, including Haut Brion, a premier cru and the only wine outside of the Medoc to be included in the 1855 Classification, are located in this small appellation. Graves derives its name from the rocky, stony terrain of the region. Many people believe that the stony soil radiates the day's heat at night and thus makes the grapes ripen earlier than the other regions in Bordeaux.