Lafite, as with all Premier Cru, is great in that the savoir faire keeps the wine structure and style very constant YoY. However, when it is a good year, you get to taste the fruit along with the philosophy of the chateau and structure. 1986 was just that.
I disagree that this tastes like a Burgundy. This is a classic Cabernet-driven Bordeaux. Fantastic with a full-bodied Partagas.
We finally opened this bottle tonight. Was it worth the wait...maybe. But we have had better. It was good, but not great. We should have opened it years ago. One hour breathing in a decanter and the tannins were soft, the fruit remained, bouquet was okay. We had it with a lamb shank, steamed beets, and other holiday treats. It was our last '86.
Considering the perfect parker rating, you want to love the 86 Lafite! At least, you try and try..after a mountain of trying, It became evident that this wine is still way, way too young. It behaves like a 7 year old with a beard. Its mind blowingly tight and intense. I would think that this wine might finally peak in about 30 years...
Clear. Light edge, light + core. Red to bricking. Very sexy nose. Somewhat burgundian, complex, red berries and some touches of development, but still fairly fresh. Very charming. On the palate, the development and age of the wine is more apparent, but still dominated with berries and fruit. Firm, ripe tannins, fine. Med+ acidity. Very fine textured, little of those raw 86 tannins. Very good length on the finish, but the acidity seems to cut it short a bit.
After more airation: A more seamless nose and mouthfeel. Even more complex and the concentration is more obvious, though it still passes well within the boundaries for "elegant". Still very sexy. The finish has improved lots, longer, more in balance (the acid and tannins seem very integrated now). Very long finish. Very, very good wine.
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(Lafite) The 1986 Lafite Rothschild was much finer than the 1996. There was nice spice and lots of cedar in its nose. It was long, fine and with great acidity, but it seemed minor after the major 1996.
(Chateau Lafite-Rothschild Pauillac) A desperately youthful appearance, dense and almost purple still, so no clues to the age of this wine there. The nose remains remarkably primary, showing just some sweet blackcurrant pastille fruit, with some very dense, cedary pencil. The palate shows a lot of structure and future potential rather than anything else; firm tannins from the midpalate through to the finish, supporting a raft of sweet fruit, but not showing great complexity at present. Elegantly textured rather than a blockbuster. This clearly needs more time in the cellar, and should be great for the future.
(Lafite-Rothschild) had a pine sol/exotic flower tension in its nose with some other classic components on the palate but was overall disappointing. It was Lester's least favorite of the flight, and I agreed. There were nice grape flavors and good tannins but more polished than I remember. It did kick into overdrive on its finish with time in the glass, but I need to revisit this wine again some time soon
(Chateau Lafite Rothschild) Now this was a sick wine. The nose was amazing. Layer after layer of the Pauillac funk. Lead pencil, Dunhills, cassis, black cherry, mushroom, etc. Just amazing. Jumping out of the glass with its obvious greatness. The palate lived up to the nose. Maybe it was even better. Just the most amazing level of fruit persistence in a Bordeaux I have ever had. Concentration, purity, and balance were perfect. This was one of those wines that was a privilege to drink. Perfection in my book. The fruit just stayed with you for minutes after the wine was swallowed.
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