Tasted at the château, the 1986 Cheval Blanc has a far superior bouquet to the 1996 Cheval Blanc when I tasted them side by side. The aromatics here are far more cohesive and complex, very delineated with expressive Cabernet Franc, hints of cooked meat, cranberry, juniper berries and wilted rose petals - just gorgeous. The palate is beautifully balanced with slightly furry tannin that is offset by a superb seam of acidity. It is nicely structured but not overbearing, leather and truffle filtering through the black fruit and while there is a little austerity on the finish, it is purely complementary. Though 1986 is not known as a Right Bank vintage, the 1986 Cheval Blanc pulled victory out of the bag and at 30 years, it continues to give immense pleasure (NM).
One of the finest 1986s I can remember. Pale/mid ruby. Very rich, sweet and subtle on the nose. So much more luscious than most 1986s. Round and supple. All that tannin has magically melted. Good bordeaux needs a very long time, children. 18.5/20 Points. Drink to 2020. (JR)
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