Robert Parker 88
Tasted at the château, the 1986 La Mission Haut-Brion is a blend of 38% Merlot and 62% Cabernet Sauvignon. A bit like the 1996 La Mission, there is something sedate about the bouquet, nicely defined if not as complex as others, and certainly it would pale against subsequent vintages such as the 1989 or 2005. Delicate black fruit, sage and rosemary at first, then cola-tinged briary and dried fig. The palate is medium-bodied with a grainy entry. This feels a little brusque and quite ferrous in the mouth, missing some depth on the mid-palate, leading to a very foursquare finish that I feel is beginning to dry out a little. This was a period soon after Clarence Dillon’s acquisition of the estate from the Woltner family and the vineyard was being reconstituted. Suffice to say, that tells in this decent but to be candid, slightly dour Pessac-Leognan. Tasted July 2016.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030