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Wine Advocate-Parker :
The 1986 Chateau Margaux is one of the dark horses of the vintage. It has an exquisite bouquet that is now fully mature, with a mixture of red and black fruit, violets, pastilles and hints of cold stone. It blossoms in the glass, gaining intensity all the time. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a more robust Margaux as you would expect given the vintage, clearly with firm backbone, more straight-laced than the 1985 or 1989. Yet there is wonderful delineation and focus here. If you seek strictness and classicism in a wine, then this is the place to come, plus there is superb mineralité and tension on the ferrous finish. Perhaps a little overlooked in recent years, the 1986 Margaux comes highly recommended for those who love the property. This is a wine finally coming of age.
Since the 17th Century, the first wine of Château Margaux has been recognised as being one of the greatest wines in the entire world. It owes its unique qualities to the genius of its terroir as well as to the passionate work of a succession of generations. It’s a remarkable wine that comes from a combination of characteristics that are only rarely found: finesse, elegance, complexity, density, intensity, length and freshness. Although its tannic concentration may be exceptional, it’s rare to detect astringency.
The great vintages are distinguished by their formidable ability to move us. The lesser vintages give pleasure to wise enthusiasts. They offer the advantage of evolving very rapidly and, reveal, after a few years, instead of power, this subtlety that is the prerogative of great terroirs. Château Margaux has an extraordinary ability to evolve. Over the years, it has developed a finesse, an aromatic complexity and a remarkable presence on the palate.
Château Margaux has sought to achieve excellence in its wines for over 400 years now through painstaking and necessarily long studies of its terroir, through a constant desire to learn and innovate, by remaining sensitive to demanding markets, and above all through a passionate commitment that has been shared by the families that have succeeded each other at the estate. At the end of the 17th century, it became part of the nascent elite “First Growths” – long before being established officially by the Classification of 1855. Since then, Château Margaux has known fame and fortune, seeing by experience how ephemeral both are.
The estate has 200 acres under vine. Each plot and each variety are treated differently from pruning throughout the growing season. Chateau Margaux’ goal is to nurture and maintain vines for as long as possible, as they believe vines need to reach 20 years of age to produce great wine. The estate is constantly trying to understand through experimentation how to improve soil health and fruit quality. Today, no insecticides are used, there is an important balance of healthy insects to counter pests, and any number of experiments with ploughing, organic farming, and biodynamic applications are ongoing. A final key point to note, Margaux has for the last 30+ years had among the lowest yields in the Medoc.
The wine was aged for 15 months, in 10% new oak and 90% second use barrels. Because of the particularities of the vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon made up an extremely high 88% of the blend, with Merlot only 12% of the blend. Importantly, the wine is held in bottle until ready to drink, which may not mean that vintages are released sequentially.
At tasting, the Château Margaux 1986 shows off power and concentration at first. On the nose, the bouquet opens slowly as it grows older. The wine is both rich and balanced, similar to the 1961 vintage. It also boasts impressive breadth and richesse. The palate reveals tight, dense tannins, which slowly soften with time. This explains the incredible ageing potential of the Château Margaux 1986.
The organoleptic qualities described here are only valid for the year in which this wine was tasted. Naturally, the wine is subject to evolution in the bottle throughout its life, and certain characteristics described in this commentary will no longer apply.
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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