Following a number of trouble free years in Space Exploration the Space Shuttle Challenger explodes shortly after take off watched by people live on TV around the world. The Internet Mail Access Protocol defined which opens the way for E-Mail and the same year the Human Genome Project is launched to understand the Human Makeup , this will open the way for great advances in the treatment of many illnesses. The worst ever Nuclear Disaster occurs as the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station Explodes causing the release of radioactive material across much of Europe. In the UK (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease is identified which causes many deaths over the next few years and a major reform in farming practices. 

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Vintage Report

Bordeaux: The 1986 vintage was the largest since the Second World War. It started in poor, cold and wet spring delaying the bud-break. After this the weather improved at the level of 1985 with hot and dry summer lasting until the harvest. The quality remained good although the quantity was large. The heavy rains in latter part of September caused difficulties for producers.

Dry whites were diluted as well as thin skinned Merlot. Thick skinned Cabernet Sauvignon was handling the rains and humidity better. While 1985 was superb in the right bank especially in Pomerol, 1986 was great in left bank especially in Médoc. The best experiences have been Yquem, Margaux, Mouton and Léoville-Las Cases. Generally speaking the vintage produced firm, tannic and powerful red wines.

The wines still have the potential for longer maturing. To buy a wine that is enjoyable just now, Lafite-Rothschild is a good choice. Pétrus was a surprise with its modesty.

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Vintage Report

Champagne : Generally, a good vintage and even excellent in places.

   The mild and rainy spring turned into summer fairly early, and the flowering began in late June in good hot and sunny conditions. At the turn of August and September, the weather turned rainier. Molds took over the vineyards and caused problems in the quality of the grapes. At the same time, rains delayed pickings, and they took place from late September to early November. Many producers hesitated to begin the harvest hoping the weather would dry out. The result, however, was a fairly abundant harvest, from which the wines produced by careful selection are excellent. The best example of this is Philipponat’s Clos des Goisses, which with its heaviness, tropical fruitiness and richness in nuances represents the best of the vintage. 

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Vintage Report

Australia / Barossa: A very dry year with below average growing season rainfall and a warm vintage, again with with no rain, provided ideal conditions for ripening and reaching good Baumes, although this is recorded as a very bad year for oidium. The vintage conditions resulted in rich, generous red wines. Highlights Government regulated grape pricing was abolished and a base price for all varieties of $190/tonne established for dry land areas (Riverland $170/tonne). Grape prices put economic returns for growers at an all time low and led to reduced inputs and vineyard development. The SA Government Vine Pull Scheme was launched, reimbursing growers who removed old vines or unwanted varieties and left their land unplanted. 1986 Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon was turned into sweet sherry! No grapes were crushed at Leo Buring, with contracted grapes processed at Peter Lehmann Wines. Since 1983 Leo Buring had reduced its grower base from 200 to 25 growers, and its crush was cut from 9000 tonnes to 2500 tonnes. Increasing salinity in the underground water supply led to a recommendation to proclaim (or control) the Barossa irrigation water supply. Quality became an increasing issue for grapegrowers and winemakers, as Yalumba promoted objective grape load quality assessment. In the wineries Yalumba first used cross-flow micro filtration, and Seaview opened the largest champagne facility in Australia at Nuriootpa. Australian wine consumption was at an a record high of 21.6 litres per head. Increasing brandy excise had a severe impact on the brandy industry. Greenock Creek Wines was started by Michael and Annabelle Waugh. John Duval was appointed Chief Winemaker and custodian of Grange, at Penfolds. "A heritage resumed", is the motto of Heathvale, the name of the original 1850s home of William Heath, one of the first wine producers in the Eden Valley. It was 140 years later in 1986 that Trevor and Faye March arrived and replanted the vineyard, providing the stimulus to start their Heathvale wine label.
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Italy Vintage Report by Tb: 1986 provided another excellent crop year right on the heels of 1985. Indeed, 1986 kept producers on tenterhooks. The second extremely cold winter in a row turned into a rainy spring. In May the whole of Italy was subjected to a heat wave, which was followed by variable summer weather and ruinous hailstorms in Piedmont. The most unfortunate producers lost their entire crops to the hail. Late summer and autumn were hot and dry. Chiantis and Super Tuscans enjoyed greater success than Montalcinos and Montepulcianos. In general these wines have matured quickly are ready to drink right now.



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Napa and Australia Vintage Reports: Weather Conditions Another year with early budbreak, but it occurred after nasty winter floods in Napa and Sonoma. With a cool early season and few heat spikes, the growing season was long and seemed to resemble its predecessor up to and including a warm September. However, for whatever the reason, this vintage went its own way to reveal a sleek, polished fruit side and only moderate tannins. The successes were widespread and again shared by Napa and Sonoma. Inviting in their youth, the Cabernets promised a long and glorious future. But with rare expectations, most petered out within a decade. Those lasting longer lack the structure and pizzaz of 85 and the fatness of 84. For Merlot the vintage turned out to be almost as fine as 85. The mild summer weather enabled the fruit to reach a plump, ripe stage with forward flavors. When the Merlot from this vintage was offered, Merlot was increasing in popularity as a soft, drink-now red. However, the 86s were capable of moderate aging and a few held up well for close to a decade. Overall, the Merlot was slightly more impressive than 86 Cabernet.



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The best wines of the 1986 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Lafite-Rothschild 96.6 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
2 Montrachet 96.3 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
3 Château Mouton-Rothschild 96.1 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
4 Musigny 96.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
5 Bâtard-Montrachet 95.8 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
6 Batard-Montrachet 95.7 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
7 Léoville-Las Cases 95.5 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
8 Château Margaux 95.5 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
9 Montrachet Marquis de Laguiche 95.3 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
10 Art Series Chardonnay 95.3 Leeuwin Estate Margaret River, Australia
11 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
12 Clos des Goisses 94.7 Philipponnat Champagne, France
13 Vieilles Vignes Françaises 94.7 Bollinger Champagne, France
14 Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles 94.7 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
15 d'Yquem 94.6 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
16 Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet 94.6 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
17 Chevalier-Montrachet 94.6 Domaine Michel Niellon Burgundy, France
18 Musigny V.V. 94.5 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
19 Château Gilette 94.5 Château Gilette Bordeaux, France
20 Corton-Charlemagne 94.5 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Burgundy, France
21 Corton-Charlemagne 94.5 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
22 Bienvenue-Batard-Montrachet 94.5 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
23 Meursault-Perrières 94.5 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
24 Cabernet Merlot 94.5 Cullen Wines Margaret River, Australia
25 Grange Hermitage 94.4 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
26 Unico 94.3 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera el Duero, Spain
27 Cristal 94.1 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
28 Barolo 94.0 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, Italy
29 Châteauneuf-du-Pape 94.0 Château Rayas Rhône, France
30 Château de Fieuzal 94.0 Château de Fieuzal Pessac Leognan, France
31 Château Musar 94.0 Château Musar Ghazir, Lebanon
32 Château Climens 94.0 Château Climens Bordeaux, France
33 Belle Epoque Rosé 94.0 Perrier-Jouët Champagne, France
34 Musigny 94.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
35 Nuits-Saint-Georges Les Meurgers 94.0 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
36 Brunello di Montalcino 93.8 Soldera Montalcino, Italy
37 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 93.7 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
38 Lafleur 93.5 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
39 Château Haut-Bailly 93.5 Château Haut-Bailly Pessac Leognan, France
40 Château Léoville Poyferré 93.5 Château Léoville Poyferré Bordeaux, France
41 Dom Pérignon Rosé 93.3 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
42 Pol Roger vintage 93.3 Pol Roger Champagne, France
43 Krug Clos du Mesnil 93.2 Krug Champagne, France
44 Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 93.2 Caymus Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
45 Hill of Grace 93.1 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
46 Echezeaux 93.0 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
47 Insignia 93.0 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley, United States
48 Château de Figeac 93.0 Château de Figeac Saint-Emilion, France
49 Meursault Les Casse-Tête 93.0 Coche Dury Burgundy, France
50 Chateau La Tour Haut Brion 93.0 Château La Tour Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
51 Steinberger Riesling Eiswein Auslese 93.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
52 Brokenwood Hermitage Graveyard Vineyard Shiraz 93.0 Graveyard Vineyards Hunter Valley, New South Wales, Australia
53 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 93.0 Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
54 Château Beychevelle 93.0 Château Beychevelle Bordeaux, France
55 Sorí San Lorenzo 92.9 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, Italy
56 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 92.8 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
57 Le Pin 92.8 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
58 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St. Jacques 92.8 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
59 Château Rauzan-Ségla 92.7 Château Rauzan-Ségla Bordeaux, France
60 Château Gruaud-Larose 92.7 Château Gruaud-Larose Bordeaux, France
61 Montrose 92.6 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
62 Château Latour 92.5 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
63 Château Filhot 92.5 Château Filhot Sauternes, France
64 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 92.5 Château Montelena Napa Valley, United States
65 Château Haut-Brion 92.4 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
66 Cheval Blanc 92.3 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
67 Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 92.3 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley, United States
68 Richebourg 92.3 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
69 Château Cos d'Estournel 92.2 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
70 Comtes de Champagne 92.1 Taittinger Champagne, France
71 Château Palmer 92.1 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
72 Blanc de Blancs Vintage 92.0 Billecart-Salmon Champagne, France
73 Black Label 92.0 Wolf Blass South Eastern, Australia
74 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 92.0 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
75 Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc 92.0 Château de Fieuzal Pessac Leognan, France
76 Pol Roger vintage rosé 92.0 Pol Roger Champagne, France
77 Recioto della Valpolicella 92.0 Quintarelli Giuseppe Amarone della Valpolicella, Italy
78 Barbaresco 92.0 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, Italy
79 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 92.0 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
80 Château Talbot 92.0 Château Talbot Bordeaux, France
81 Chateau Lynch-Bages 92.0 Château Lynch-Bages Pauillac, France
82 Clos de Tart 92.0 Mommessin Burgundy, France
83 Grands Echézeaux 92.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
84 Ridge Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon 92.0 Ridge Vineyards Santa Cruz, United States
85 Montrachet 91.8 Marquis de Laguiche Burgundy, France
86 Château Pape Clément 91.8 Château Pape Clément Bordeaux, France
87 Pétrus 91.6 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
88 Sassicaia 91.5 Tenuta San Guido Tuscany, Italy
89 Comtes de Champagne Rosé 91.3 Taittinger Champagne, France
90 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 91.0 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
91 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 91.0 E.Guigal Rhône, France
92 Vintage 91.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
93 Dom Ruinart Rosé 91.0 Ruinart Champagne, France
94 Chevalier Montrachet Demoiselles 91.0 Maison Louis Latour Burgundy, France
95 La Mission Haut Brion 91.0 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
96 Millésime 91.0 Paul Gobillard Champagne, France
97 Château Rieussec 91.0 Château Rieussec Sauternes, France
98 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 91.0 Jacques Selosse Champagne, France
99 Pavie 91.0 Château Pavie Bordeaux, France
100 Opus One 91.0 Opus One Napa Valley, United States


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