TN: 1986 Ch. Montrose

1986 Ch. Montrose – I stayed away from my 86s for a long time, given that many of them were excessively tannic when young, which wouldn’t allow what fruit there is to show well. I’ve found that at least some of them have been drinking well for the last 5 years or so – definitely an old style vintage when you don’t even look at them for 25 years!

Colour is still quite deep and uniform on this wine and the nose was changeable – on opening (served to me blind) I sniffed and asked if it might be an Italian wine, given the pronounced blackberry/black cherry nose, but that changed over time and became much more claret centric.

We drank it over a couple of hours and it developed some nice spice on the blackberry, and some cherry, and on palate, although the tannins had softened, they were certainly still evident. It had what I would call a slightly narrow profile on palate and finished a little bit shorter than I would have liked but showed no signs of fading.

I’d classify this as a decent Montrose but not a great Montrose. I still cellar some 1970 that was excellent but has declined a bit in the last 20 years, some 1990 which can be stunning (although when tasted against the 1970 back in the late 90s lost out to the older wine), and the 1995 which I haven’t touched yet.

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I have one bottle, would you say it is drink or hold?

I’d sy you can drink as I doubt it will improve from here. The tannins are not obtrusive and the fruit isn’t going to improve.

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For my daughter’s engagement party about a decade ago, I open both my last bottle of 1970 Montrose and my first bottle of the 1990. The '70 was tired, but provenance might have been an issue. The '90 was, IMHO, way young. I think it’s just now beginning to be ready. So I’m not remotely surprised that back in the late 90’s, it wasn’t as good as that magnificent 70.

No idea on the '86, although I wish I had some!