The 1986 Cheval Blanc is a beautiful wine and one of the sleeper vintages for this fine estate in the decade of the 1980s. The really refined and lovely nose wafts from the glass in a complex mélange of dark berries, menthol, cigar ash, herbal tones, soil, espresso and a deft touch of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, suave and classy, with a fine core of fruit, modest, ripe tannins and a very long, still modestly austere and perfectly balanced finish. All this lovely wine needs is just a bit more time in the cellar. (Drink between 2013-2060) 93+
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. 18.5/20 points. (JR)
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