Robert Parker 98
The 1986 Leoville-Las Cases is still so youthful in appearance after 30 years, with only a thin bricking on the rim giving away its age. The bouquet is magnificent: extraordinarily pure and delineated, bewitching black fruit laced with cedar and graphite, the latter lending an almost Pauillac-like personality. The palate is exactly as I have found the previous dozen or so bottles I have tasted: structured, delineated, intense, aristocratic and imperious. It is less formidable than say, ten years ago, so it has probably just stepped onto its drinking plateau. The acidity is perfectly judged lending freshness and tension, crucial to counterbalance those layers of spicy black fruit that fans out with cedar and graphite (again) towards the finish. You come away with the feeling of having consumed a wine with immense energy, yet with so much more to give over the next three decades, and knowing this property, perhaps even the three decades after that! I would agree with the late Michel Delon: the 1986 Léoville Las-Cases is the summit of the 1980s. Tasted September 2016.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2060
Saturated dark ruby. Cassis, shoe polish, camphor and rose petal on the nose; this reminded me of a great vintage of Latour. Dense and extremely concentrated; explosive yet totally backward. There nothing playful about this infant claret. Finishes with extraordinary, slow-building persistence. Very serious juice; one of the great Bordeaux of the 1980s. Drink 2010 through 2035.
Bright ruby. Iodine nose. Just a little bit dusty with a dry finish but with real density. This is, unusually, a 1986 that still has some developing to do.
Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020