The 1986 Mouton-Rothschild is a behemoth that almost has a California-like richness and sweetness of fruit. Offering incredible yet classic Cabernet Sauvignon notes of crème de cassis, tobacco leaf, lead pencil shavings, and wood smoke, this beauty starts out reticent and backward (which is mind blowing for a wine that’s 32 years old) yet opens up gorgeously with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, rich and unctuous, yet still incredibly pure and lively, it’s a sensational, benchmark Bordeaux that probably has another 2+ decades of longevity.
This was the greatest bottle of the 1986 Mouton I have ever drunk. I have been lucky enough to drink it many times, but on occasions it has come across as very tight and reserved, even hard. Yet on this special night last Friday in Bangkok it was perfect – the perfect wine that it was purported to be for a very long time. How strange that the owner of Mouton, Philippine de Rothschild, died the same day. Please read my tribute to here. The bottle we drank showed amazing aromas of mushrooms, mint, minerals and dark berries. It boasted a fully body of ultra richness and extraordinary length and beauty. It had an almost chiseled precision to the quality with fabulous length. It lasts for minutes on the palate. My Thai friend decanted it four hours before serving.
The 1986 Mouton-Rothschild is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that was picked from 2 October until 16 October. Winemaker Philippe Dhalluin, who was not working at the property back then, told me that the pH was fairly low at 3.54 when it is usually around 3.75, due to the natural tartaric acid in the vines. It has a powerful and intense bouquet as always: exemplary graphite and cedar scents, a touch of black pepper and incense. It seems to unfurl in the glass, like a motor revving its engine. The palate is beautifully balanced with its trademark firm tannic structure, a Mouton-Rothschild with backbone and masculinity. Layers of black fruit intermingling with mint and graphite, a hint of licorice emanating from the Merlot, gently fanning out and my God, it is incredibly long. It is not like the 1985 Mouton-Rothschild that is so fleshy and generous. This is serious, aristocratic Mouton, a true vin de garde and yes, I do think drinkers will have to wait until it reaches its true peak. Sometimes that's just the way it is. Tasted September 2016. (NM)
Philippe Dhalluin served the 1986 Mouton Rothschild to wrap up our vertical. The 1986 remains one of my favorite Moutons. A dark, powerful wine, the 1986 is endowed with a vertical sense of structure that is a marvel to behold. Dark stone fruit, smoke, graphite, mocha, soy and licorice are fused together in a marvelously intense, deep Mouton that promises to drink well for another few decades. Tonight, the 1986 is absolutely stunning. The blend is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Harvest started on October 2nd and wrapped up on the 16th. (AG)
Ageless, yet balanced. Black color. Mint, mineral, berry and cherry. Full-bodied, chewy and tight. Long, long finish. A great, great wine. (JS)
Very deep, saturated ruby with only a hint of garnet at the rim. Ripe red and black fruits, mint, vanilla, minerals and delicate black pepper on the captivating nose. Very rich, big and deep, with a luscious texture and ripe flavors similar to the aromas. Finishes smoothly tannic and very long, with building sweetness. This gorgeous Mouton, though massively built, also reflects the long hang time of the berries, which led to a perfect polymerization of its tannins and a fleshy structure. Still very much an infant: I wouldn't touch a bottle for at least another ten years. I also like the fact that, although it's very sweet and creamy, strong acidity (note the lower-than-usual pH) is keeping it vibrant. This vintage is the first in which Mouton vinified its young vines separately and only used those vats judged to be of grand cru quality. Following a slowdown in physiological ripening during August, the late harvest (October 2-16) permitted a longer growing curve. Tourbier noted that 'petit verdot needs its head in the sun and its feet in the water, and as it had been initially planted on one of the highest, coolest sites at Mouton, a mistake on our part, it rarely ripened enough to be included in the grand vin, and this explains why we hardly used it in the older vintages.' (ID) 98+
This was always an exceptional wine, but an exceptionally slow-maturing one. It was served blind and seemed immediately like Mouton with its sweet, light mintiness and spice. This opulent monument of a wine has at least cast off enough tannin to provide majestic drinking now. What a treat to encounter this wine again at this exciting stage of its life. (JR) 19/20 points
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