1986 lalande

This is a wine I have been looking forward to drinking for a long time. I love lalande wines and the 86 is a vintage that is often raved about. The bottle was not in the best condition so prehaps this may affect my review. The cork was soaked right the way through and top of the cork had moulded. the capsule was intact and was easy to move around and pull off. The fill was just above the neck.
I poured it into a decanter for 2 hours before drinking but had a few cheeky sips to see what was happening. The colour was quite amazing!. It is still bright and shiny. A beautiful clear ruby with no signs of bricking or aging. You would never guess this wine was 24 years old at all.
On first taste the wine had little aroma and was quite tart with quite a bit of acidity. Some fruit was lingering but overall not the great wine I was hoping for.
After 2 hours it had improved a lot. Nose was a little more pronounced( not very) with some cassis, cedar and pencil lead. The palette was still quite medium bodied and ruled a little by the acidity. More fruit flavour was evident
After 4 hours the wine was better still. The acidity had reduced and the fruit flavours had become more to the fore. It was more silky and some more nuance had appeared. However it still feels tight and to be honest I prefer other vintages I have had recently (96 was amazing and the 76 was so open and delicious even though it is not a blockbuster)
All in all I am a bit dissapointed but as I said it may be the provenance of the bottle and I have some more to try in the cellar. Lets hope they live up to the reputation!!!

I have had the '86 PL several times, as well as many of the other vintages. If I recall correctly, all the '86s I’ve tried of this came from either PL’s cellar or from that of Château Siran (owned by the brother of PL’s former owner). Like you, I have always found the '86 PL good enough, but never quite as good as I expect from the producer in such a vintage - especially compared to PL’s performance in other vintages.



I would say that, in retrospect almost 25 years after the vintage, the '86 PL was initially overrated by the critics (and to be fair, that is something in common with many wines in this vintage). This wine has always struck me as being atypically brawny for a Pichon Lalande, and given what I expect from this chateau, that fact alone may be influencing my opinion of the wine. In this decade, I would say that the '82 and '89 are both markedly superior wines, and I also prefer the '83, '85 and '88 to the '86, so it would be fair to say that in the context of both the vintage and what this chateau is normally capable of producing, the '86 is probably best considered an underachiever.


Your note sounds like every bottle I have tried or heard of so I doubt it was poorly stored. This wine is a beast. Extremely tannic/acidic/backward. Who knows if it will ever come round (it’s a bit like a lot of 75s in that regard) but I would stick it right at the back of the cellar and forget about it for at least another decade if not longer.


Like Dan, I think this just needs more time, like all the other '86s I have tried! The fact that they still show good fruit and youthful color makes me especially optimistic. Many '75s came around after being tannic for quite a long time. [cheers.gif]

I have had this 6 times, and only one bottle really popped in a way that I would hope for. What I have generally found is a wine that is steely, hard and not quite yielding. Given that a real pleasure and distinguishing aspect of Pichon Lalande is a sultry, softer more Merlot driven personality the 86 cuts away from that grain in a disappointing way. That said, one encouraging datapoint was my last taste of this wine, a couple of years ago, from a half bottle. It was the first one that DID show the Merlot and some of what I look for in PL. So maybe this will just take a long time to come around, but I am not really holding my breathe or expecting a revelation.

Had the '75 Pichon Lalande 10 days ago, and it was a beauty. Still bringing serious traction on the back end, but not off-putting in any way. Long and much prettier than it must have been in its oppressive youth.