Chateau Lafite Rothschild is one of the true iconic red wines of the world……and deservedly so. For my palate, what separates Lafite out in a crowd, is its incredible breed & pedigree. I absolutely love its innate ethereal, majestic, regal perfume.
Since 1982, however, I believe their wines have changed in style, like many of their First Growth peers.
I truly believe that the 1976 Paris Wine Exhibition where American wines were selected over French counterparts BY FRENCH judges in a comparative blind tasting not only instantly put California on the wine world map, it also help foster a trend towards riper, more forward, much more supple wine styles.
That concept was further sensationalized by Robert Parker & his high scoring appraisal of the 1982 vintage & its flambuoyant, ripe wines.
1986 was another ripe year.
Although out of the gates, Chateau Margaux & Chateau Mouton Rothschild garnered quite a bit of the media attention as being the darlings of the vintage, my vote was & is for the 1986 Chateau Lafite. It really has that something extra……which one has a hard time fully describing, but is innately there.
On this night, however, My wife & I felt this wine was VERY shut down & closed up.
Yes, there is ample fruit, amazing structure & a long finish….BUT….let’s just say the peacock did NOT show off its strikingly, colorful tail feathers on this night.
Wines often goes through phases, ups & downs, during its lifespan. The secret is catching one when it is really in a groove. For this wine…NOT now. I would suggest for those who are fortunately cellaring some of this wine……let it sit a while longer….in fact much longer.