TN: 1986 Chateau Montrose, 1995 Chateau Pichon Baron

Two old-world Bordeaux, one at apogee, one still quite youngish. Both needed serious decanting.

I love the 1986 Montrose. I’ve loved it for years. I’ve even loved its obvious variability, though sometimes it even throws too much brett for this outhouse kind of guy. This bottle shined, however. Was perhaps the least gamey 1986 Montrose that I have had. Showed beautiful purity of red and dark fruits, old saddle leather, sous bois. Tannins fairly resolved but some chew still present, excellent overall structure with the acids. Really needed about an hour to start its shine, was a bit muted in the first 20 minutes, after the funky blew off, and then decanted and started to drop to room temperature. Enjoyed for the rest of a 3-hour dinner with the Pichon Baron side-by-side, but really outclassed and out-scaled the Pichon, being the more powerful, brutish wine. (94 pts.)

I still struggle with 1995, and this 1995 Pichon Baron in particular. Perhaps 23 years just ain’t enough for Classified Growths from this tough vintage, hmm, like some '86s were 15 years or so ago? I did have a 1995 Sociando that was gorgeous, but this Pichon really needs another 5 years. Nose remained quite subtle, some dark cassis, classic Pauliiac pencil shavings but not much more. Classic display of Bordeaux fruit on the palate, pure red and dark fruits, never venturing to the plum spectrum. Loved the balance and structure of this wine, it just never really seemed to fully open up and show me what it has. It has a lot of potential - I think and hope - just leave it alone for 5 or more years. (91 pts.)

Ideally I would have decanted the Montrose for at least an hour before dinner, and the Pichon Baron, 2-3.

I like the 1995/1986 comparison. Both suspect of being too hard and tannic with not enough fruit to go the distance. I like both vintages, but I’m a tannin pig. Many 1986s that others wrote off early rewarded patience. A lot of 1995s will do the same, including this Pichon Baron. The 1995 Cos and Pichon Lalande have come around and are drinking well with an hour or two of air.

I have had the 86 Montrose, probably too young by your standards, and…I liked it well enough but not one of the great Montroses…which btw is one of my favorites. I can’t say I ever had the 95 PB, but certainly has been a perplexing vintage. Upon receipt as a new vintage, they were awesome. Did a dinner with a couple future buyng friends and burned a Mouton, Ducru and P. Lalande at the time, and totally wowed. Since then, some moments, most waiting for the magic to return.

Is the 1986 Montrose as good as the Monstrose? [wow.gif]

It definitely bullied the Baron!

1995 did not have enough fruit at release and will never have enough fruit to handle that structure. Just saying.

I never really liked either of those wines that much.

A prior dog once broke a bottle of the 95 PB, filling up the whole cellar with the aromas of currants.