Classic Pauillac aromas of rich, thick currant and black cherry with distinct cedary flavors that are very concentrated and wrapped in firm tannins. Beautifully focused and built for the long haul. *Top 100 Wines of 1989*
The 1986 Mouton Baronne Philippe was the previous name for Château d'Armailhac, adopting its present title in 1989. It has a very fresh and lively bouquet, more vital and precise than the 1986 Clerc-Milon. This is a real surprise: lifted blackberry laced with tar and cedar. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins not unlike the 1986 Mouton-Rothschild. Of course, there is not nearly the same level of complexity, but you could regard it as a younger sibling, which is no surprise as the terroir is at the end of the Mouton-Rothschild terroir. If you ever see a bottle of this at auction or on a restaurant list, grab it. Drink 2016-2026. (NM)
Now Ch d'Armailhac. Still very dark ruby with lots of fine sediment and a nicely shaded rim. The intense and mature bouquet came soaring out of the bottle as soon as it was opened. (This was the year when its stablemate Mouton was very highly regarded.) Strong lead-pencil aromas - much less obviously fruity younger vintages. But there is clearly fruit underneath here - and, still, a substantial dry whack of tannin on the palate. This has the most lovely nose but it needs time in the decanter and some meat - the roast spring lamb destined for it?! - in order to be brought to heel. Very fresh acidity but still masses of fruit weight. 17/20 points. (JR)
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