Saturday, June 4, 2011
Leoville Las Cases 1986
I bought this bottle of 1986 Chateau Leoville Las Cases in 1989 and it has been hanging around in the cellar since that time. I said at the time of purchase that it was a bottle of wine for my retirement party, and Thursday night several us sat down with a rack of lamb and opened this wine.
Between purchase date and consumption date the wine garnered some phenomenal reviews, some even calling it the best Las Cases ever made. I can't answer to that but I can say that this was simply a remarkable wine that ranked with some of the best in my memory. From the time the cork cleared the top of the bottle the bouquet was strong and seductive with layers of flowers and fruit mixed with earth and spice. It was nearly enough to just sit and sniff the wine.
There was the beginning of some browning at the edges, but there was nothing in the nose to indicate age. It was fresh and alive and the more one swirled the more aroma the wine produced. The taste was equally impressive. There were black cherries, cassis, cinnamon, vanilla, fresh earth. The mouth feel was great and the flavors just coated the tongue. The acidity was more than acceptable and there was soft, warming tannins to coat the tongue at the end.
The lamb was minimally seasoned with salt and pepper and browned in a skillet, then sprinkled with fresh rosemary and thyme and garlic then grilled over indirect heat to medium rare. The wine and the lamb were like a couple celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary - perfect together and winning the test of time.
If I had known the wine was going to be this good I would have retired a few years ago.
12.5% alcohol an original price sticker of $40. I do remember getting a discount on the wine because the label was soiled and I'm certain that it was part of a mixed case purchase so I could get another ten percent discount. Replacement price from a few internet sources would be $400 + or -.