1986 - Ch Haut Brion 1er Cru Pessac-Léognan (Damaged Case)
Colour
Red
Producer
Château Haut-Brion
Region
Pessac-Léognan
Grape
Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Cabernet Franc
Drinking
2006 - 2020
Case size
12x75cl

1986 CH HAUT BRION 1ER CRU PESSAC-LÉOGNAN (DAMAGED CASE) - 12x75cl

Colour
Red
Producer
Château Haut-Brion
Region
Pessac-Léognan
Grape
Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot / Cabernet Franc
Drinking
2006 - 2020
Case size
12x75cl

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Tasting Notes

  • NM

    Neal Martin, July 2016,
    Score: 93

    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". Drink: 2016 - 2035

  • RP

    Robert Parker, 1998,
    Score: 93

    The 1986 Haut-Brion, which I thought should be fully mature by now, remains a backward, highly concentrated, powerful wine with more noticeable tannin than most top vintages. The wine does possesses a tell-tale smoky tobacco and sweet black currant-scented nose, in addition to subtle new oak and minerals scents. This medium to full-bodied, rich, intensely smoky wine has still not reached its plateau of maturity. It is unquestionably the wine of the vintage for Graves, and not far off the pace of the great 1986 first-growth Medocs. Drink: Now-2015

  • DC

    Decanter, October 2018,
    Score: 94

    A seductive mix of brambly autumnal fruits, black truffles, graphite and cigar box, this is absolutely ready to drink now and yet will continue to unwind and deliver for decades to come. The tannic structure is still noticeable, even at 32 years old, and it propels the fruit forward to a fresh, minty finish. I tasted this with a lovely group from the Napa Valley Reserve who were on a trip to Bordeaux in October. Drink: 2018 - 2040

  • JR

    Jancis Robinson, September 2002,
    Score: 17.5/20

    Deep ruby with strong brick flavours. Very chunky and not nearly as ready as La Mission. Still very tannic and chewy and uncharming for the moment. Should get there eventually. Drink: Now-2016

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Producer

Château Haut-Brion

Arguably the oldest recognised Bordeaux grand cru, Haut Brion has been owned by the American Dillon family since 1935. The Château was an early moderniser - the first estate to implement steel vats in 1961 - and over the years, their incredible investments have re-established the inherent quality of this property, enabling it to emerge as possibly the most consistent first growth since the 1980s. Situated in Pessac-Léognan in Graves, the estate is the only classified growth located outside the Médoc. Château Haut Brion has the most Merlot and the most Cabernet Franc of any of the First Growths and the second wine is Bahans Haut Brion.

Region

Pessac-Léognan

Stretching from the rather unglamorous southern suburbs of Bordeaux, for 50 km along the left bank of the river Garonne, lies Graves. Named for its gravelly soil, a relic of Ice Age glaciers, this is the birthplace of claret, despatched from the Middle Ages onwards from the nearby quayside to England in vast quantities. It can feel as though Bordeaux is just about red wines, but some sensational white wines are produced in this area from a blend of sauvignon blanc, Semillon and, occasionally, muscadelle grapes, often fermented and aged in barrel. In particular, Domaine de Chevalier is renowned for its superbly complex whites, which continue to develop in bottle over decades. A premium appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was created in 1987 for the most prestigious terroirs within Graves. These are soils with exceptional drainage, made up of gravel terraces built up in layers over many millennia, and consequently thrive in mediocre vintages but are less likely to perform well in hotter years. These wines were appraised and graded in their own classification system in 1953 and updated in 1959, but, like the 1855 classification system, this should be regarded with caution and the wines must absolutely be assessed on their own current merits.