It is hard not to love the more middleweight vintage of 1981 at Pichon-Lalande. The wine is at its absolute apogee of peak drinkability at the present time, wafting from the glass in a beautiful and quite classic aromatic blend of sweet cassis, cigar wrapper, gravelly soil tones, a touch of chipotle pepper, cigar ash and a whisper of merlot-derived sweet herb in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, fullish and utterly suave on the attack, with a fine core, lovely focus and grip, melting tannins and impeccable balance on the long and complex finish. A lovely vintage of Pichon.
The 1981 Pichon-Lalande was served with the 1982 and 1983 by estate director Nicolas Glumineau. I must confess that I was shocked how well it showed, far surpassing the example shown at a vertical a few months earlier. This has a lovely bouquet of black fruit, autumn leaves, cedar and bay leaf, clearly bestowed with more vigor than previous bottles. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins, leather and sage-infused fruit, like before. A melted finish indicates that this '81 will never get better. But it is delicious and in no way embarrassed by the 1982. Tasted at the château. (NM)
This has always been one of the sexiest, most delicious wines from the 1981 vintage. It still possesses a dark ruby/purple color. While the 1981 is less powerful than the 1982 and 1983, it reveals copious quantities of sweet black currant fruit, good flesh for the vintage, and a pure, nicely-textured and balanced style. This wine remains vibrant and youthful. (RP)
Harmonious and delicious. Entices with aromas of spice and fruit. Medium in body, with medium, velvety tannins and a tobacco, berry aftertaste. (JS)
1986 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (Bin Soiled Label, Very High Shoulder, Some Lightly Scuffed Labels)
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