What a remarkable performance! I must admit that I purchased more of the 1985 and 1987, somehow neglecting to secure much of the 1986. Do I feel stupid? As I have written so many times in the past, every time I do a vertical tasting of Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons, they taste better than my initial laudatory notes suggested. This great wine exhibits a black/purple color, a fabulous, sweet, pure, cassis-scented nose, massive body and richness, and total harmony among its components - fruit, wood, alcohol, acidity, and tannin. Still exceptionally youthful and vigorous, with no signs of age in either its color or taste, this 1986 could easily pass for a 3-4 year old California Cabernet. It is an extraordinary effort that appears to be a legitimate candidate for the 'wine of the vintage.' So what's new? Owners of this beauty should try a bottle for its pure, glorious richness, but this wine has 15-20 more years of delicious drinking. A bodacious Cabernet! (RP)
Good deep fresh red. Very expressive, Graves-like aromas of roasted plums, hot bricks and tobacco. Sweet, expansive and pliant in the mouth, with a flavor of chestnut. Soft and accessible. Finishes with even, fine tannins and a note of syrupy red fruit. Barrett says he has always liked the '86 as much as the '87 or '85. (ST)
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