For me, the renaissance at Rauzan-Ségla began with the 1983 vintage here, but the first vintage that really came to the attention of American claret lovers was the superb 1986, which continues to drink splendidly well at age thirty. The bouquet is deep, vibrant and very classy, jumping from the glass in a blend of cassis, sweet dark berries, tobacco leaf, a touch of bell pepper, leather, cigar smoke and dark soil tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and nicely soil-driven in personality, with a fine core, lovely complexity and a long, poised and moderately tannic finish. This is now starting to drink very well indeed, but it has decades of life still ahead of it. (Drink between 2015-2045)
The 1986 Rauzan-Ségla is held up as one of the best wines of that decade. Now at 30 years old, it has an initially tightly wound bouquet that demands coaxing from the glass. It eventually offers exquisite aromas of small red cherries, cranberry jus, confit dates and briary, a hint of sandalwood tucked underneath. You would never describe the aromatics as "explosive" but it seems to gain in intensity. The palate is medium-bodied with a slightly savory entry. There is good structure here, but there is a sweet seam of fig and candied orange peel that to be honest, does not quite match the personality of the wine. My hunch is that this Rauzan-Segla is approaching the end of its drinking plateau, but any "decline" is going to be gradual and graceful. Drink now if you can, though I am certain large format bottles will have much more to offer. Tasted July 2016. (NM)
The 1986 Rauzan-Ségla is tasted from two bottles, the first showing a little oxidation. The second is similar to my note taken at my 30-Year On retrospective. Picked between 1 and 21 October, it is quite youthful at first, it clearly has more energy and focus, more cohesion than either the 1983 or 1990: blackberry, melted tar and smoke, hints of iris and violet emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, structured and dense like many 1986s but with a fine bead of acidity. This feels solid and almost Pauillac-like with huge insistent grip on the finish. Excellent, but one for those that enjoy traditional classic Claret. Tasted at the Rauzan-Ségla vertical at the château. (NM)
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