Marvellous old Bordeaux with delicate cassis, graphite, and faded violet nuances. A legendary wine for this estate, equal to the 1982 but ageing better. (ID)
Now at 30 years of age, there is a gulf between the two Pichons in this vintage that no longer exists. The 1986 Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has long been one of the best wines from the estate alongside the 1982 (even if the first bottle was a little oxidized). The second bottle was representative. It has a classic pencil-lead, cedar-infused nose that rockets from the glass, a subtle floral note developing with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple red berry fruit, a pinch of white pepper and cedar, structured compared to coeval vintages and perhaps further along its drinking plateau than previous examples. Certainly à point, I would be reaching for bottles of this now if you cannot locate those 1982s, or alternatively seek out the superlative 1996. This still remains a fine, rather regal Pichon-Lalande. (NM)
The 1986 Pichon-Lalande has long been one of the standout wines of the decade, and served blind, this suggests that it might have the 1982 in its sights. In many ways, it is the twin brother of the Cabernet-driven 1996. It bolts out of the stable doors with intense blackberry and cedar aromas -- pure Cabernet -- and reveals touches of mint with time. The palate is medium-bodied and thankfully less obdurate than a decade ago; the tannins have mellowed in recent years and secondary notes of sage and graphite are now more expressive. I once described the 1986 as "broad-shouldered." It remains just that, but it has learned some grace and manners. This is a clear high point for the estate. Drinking window: 2019 - 2040 (NM)
Juicy, fleshy and showy, with warm plum sauce, melted black licorice, espresso, cocoa powder and black currant confiture notes all melded together, yet clearly defined. The smoldering, tobacco-fueled finish expands steadily with air. A wine of power and range that is just hitting its stride. (JM, Web-2014)
The 1986 vintage on the Left Bank remains a few years away from real blossoming, but at age thirty, the very best wines are starting to stir nicely and it is not a crime today to be dipping a toe in the water (if one has sufficient bottles still in the cellar for future needs). Such is the case with the excellent 1986 Pichon-Lalande, which is not quite fully open, but is starting to show some generosity on the palate and lovely depth on the nose. The bouquet is a youthful, but blossoming blend of cassis, espresso, cigar ash, gentle herb tones, a fine base of gravelly soil and a touch of smoky new oak in the upper register. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and starting to just show some secondary development, with a fine, fine core of fruit, impeccable focus and balance and a long, still moderately tannic finish. Another four or five years in the cellar should really allow this wine to open more fully. It will make old bones. (Drink between 2020-2060) 94+ points
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