WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

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WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Salil » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:31 pm

1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou
I've had mixed experiences with mid 80s Ducrus (with a lot of bad corks and more than the odd corked bottle), but this recent auction purchase was lovely with a dinner of short ribs. Still incredibly young with the fruit very fresh and a powerful tannic spine beneath that's almost overwhelming at first. This softens and becomes a lot more approachable and fragrant with a couple of hours in the decanter, with cedar, tobacco, graphite, leather and rich dark fruited flavours coming together seamlessly. Outstanding, really classical Bordeaux though this really does need a fair bit more time in the cellar. I do wonder how long some of these top '86s will need, with the likes of Gruaud-Larose and Ducru still coming across so youthful and tannic, and even some of the lower end estates like Meyney and Sociando-Mallet only starting to come around now.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Jay Labrador » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:09 am

Thanks for the note. I have one bottle of '86 Ducru and was gearing up to open it pretty soon. Looks like I'll wait a bit longer.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Oct 10, 2012 9:02 am

I think '86 has better balance than '75, but some of the '75s are still quite tannic. Be thankful you are young.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Tom Troiano » Wed Oct 10, 2012 11:54 am

I'm still waiting for one "this '86 is perfectly mature". I actually think its an over rated Bordeaux vintage (misjudged by Parker) and there was far more pleasure in the '85s. That said, I'm no fool (or maybe I am) and have many '86s in the cellar. I hope I live to 100.
Last edited by Tom Troiano on Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Salil » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Oh, I love 85s. Some really gorgeous wines on the left bank, and so many of them are drinking really well now.

I've enjoyed a few 86s - there are a few really stunning wines like Gruaud Larose (and the Ducru was really terrific after it had some time in the decanter) and some nice values like Meyney and Sociando-Mallet, but quite a few other wines I've had seem somewhat hard and charmless.

Right now I'm trying to backfill on 83s and 85s for more immediate drinking, and 89s for drink-and-hold wines. Helps that there are so many great wines from all those vintages still available at auctions/places like HDH, and they cost a lot less than the corresponding 86s or 90s.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Oct 10, 2012 12:51 pm

Lucky Salil- I think the "official" taint vintages at Ducru are 87-90, but I've seen several corked 86s.

I definitely prefer 85 to 86 overall, but that's mainly due to RB. In Medoc re 1986- while there are still lots of wines that are mostly about potential (Margaux, Mouton, etc) there are others that show well if very young (Gruaud), and others that are drinking well (Talbot, Meyney). And of course there are some where it seems tannins are outpacing fruit.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Patrick Martin » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:09 pm

I've had some sensational 86 LB Bordeaux. Rausan-Segla is awesome, Talbot terrific, Cos fantastic, and many others are showing well (if stern) like Pape Clement and Beychevelle. Even the 86 Lagune and Poujeaux we're very good last year with some air in a leathery, long, throwback way.

I don't know if these will ever really completely soften (but progress with the 86 Meyney is the last 3-4 years is encouraging), but these 86 pack a lot of wallop in a rustic, broad shouldered way that I dig. I really like 85 too, but they can see a little dilute next to the 86 (left bank only).

I slightly prefer 83 to the 85 for the 15 chateau or so I've tried from both vintages.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby David Cohen » Thu Oct 11, 2012 12:47 am

I am jealous of not being able to buy at auction these wines being in Canada.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Bill Spohn » Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:35 pm

1986 was a great claret vintage, perhaps the last in the old classic style that needed many years to come around. The miracle trio of 88,89 and 90 were also classically structured but without the hard (and often somewhat green) tannins that characterized the 86 (and plagued the 75s).

Because of the tannic structure, it is often misunderstood by younger drinkers used to recent vintages. There are very few wines where the tannins are truly out of balance with the fruit, as there were in the 75 vintage, and I've started looking at some of my 86s, often being very pleasantly surprised at how they have come around in the last 5 years or so. Pop a few corks and they may surprise you.

PS - the idea that a mature vintage claret should pretty much lose all the tannins is simply erroneous. I've enjoyed clarets all the way back to the 1900 decade that still had obvious and significant tannins, but were magnificent. Tannins aren't the enemy, they along with acidity are the structure of the wines and you need them, you just don't want them in such quantities that they overwhelm the fruit.
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Patrick Martin » Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:26 pm

"Tannins aren't the enemy, they along with acidity are the structure of the wines and you need them, you just don't want them in such quantities that they overwhelm the fruit."

Amen! Balance is the key, but once mature, I like some tannins to go with the fruit and acids...
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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Mark Lipton » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:12 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:
PS - the idea that a mature vintage claret should pretty much lose all the tannins is simply erroneous. I've enjoyed clarets all the way back to the 1900 decade that still had obvious and significant tannins, but were magnificent. Tannins aren't the enemy, they along with acidity are the structure of the wines and you need them, you just don't want them in such quantities that they overwhelm the fruit.


Nice post, Bill. I think one problem is that many wine drinkers who cut their teeth on "modern" wines don't realize what tannins feel like in all stages of their development. Without resolved tannins, most red wine would seem thinner and less mouth-coating. Many think that tannins are only those gritty and astringent sensations they we get from smaller tannins.

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Re: WTN: 1986 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Postby Ted Richards » Mon Oct 15, 2012 7:59 pm

David Cohen wrote:I am jealous of not being able to buy at auction these wines being in Canada.


Check out the Vintages auction this weekend (see http://www.vintages.com/events/auction_event.shtml?homepage-vc5). There are three lots containing the 1986 Ducru Beaucaillou. Be prepared for the 13% HST on top of the 17% buyers premium.

Plus, if you have a friend in certain states of the US, you can buy at a US auction and have it shipped to the friend's house. I think, but I'm not sure, that there are places in Buffalo where you can have wine shipped to, and then pick it up yourself. If you go the US route, be prepared for the horrendous markups at the border on all but the first two bottles.
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