Chateau Palmer   Palmer

1986 Palmer

By Chateau Palmer

1986 Palmer from Chateau Palmer, Margaux, Bordeaux

The 1986 vintage heralds from an era that witnessed a venerable array of Bordeaux masterpieces. Among these revered bastions of viticulture, the 1986 Palmer from Chateau Palmer stands as a testament to the exquisite conditions bestowed upon Margaux in that year. As a seasoned observer of this eminent estate, I have followed its evolution with the utmost scrutiny and anticipation.


Investing in Liquid History: The 1986 Palmer

An investment in the 1986 Palmer from Chateau Palmer not only signifies an allegiance to finely crafted Bordeaux but also encapsulates a piece of vinous history. This paragon of Margaux elegance emerged triumphant from a vintage often overshadowed by its immediate predecessor. However, for those with an astute understanding of Bordeaux’s arcana, the '86 warrants just attention.


Climatic Serendipity: A Year of Balance

The climatic conditions of 1986 contributed to the creation of a compelling narrative within each bottle. A remarkable summer extended well into September, preserving acidity and allowing phenolic ripeness to progress unhurriedly; an orchestration that delivered both stature and longevity. It laid the groundwork for a Palmer with undeniable structure and complexity.

The savoury bouquet entices, revealing layers of blackcurrant, truffle and an enigmatic hint of violets – quintessential of its terroir – unfurling with every sip. The palate is treated to a wine that weaves power with grace – a result of stately tannins and refined fruit integrity, which ensure that three decades on, this vintage continues to invite contemplation and admiration amongst wine collectors.

For serious investors keen on acquiring assets with remarkable pedigree and potential for continued maturation, the 1986 vintage from Chateau Palmer embodies such characteristics. As I mull over my recent taste encounter with this exceptional wine, its harmony and elegance resonate profoundly; it is unquestionably an addition that would crown any discerning wine portfolio.

In summing up the qualities of this laudable vintage, it is not merely the exceptional balance or aromatic complexity that captivates; it is also its steadfast journey through time which has cemented the 1986 Palmer as one of the most intriguing investment options from this historic château.

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Scores and tasting notes


Tasted at an off-line dinner in Singapore. This is one of the great Palmers of the 1980s, though it is several years since I last encountered it. Here, there is one word that springs to mind-class. Wonderful definition, a little reserved at first, but wonderfully defined with cedar, sandalwood and cigar box. The palate has firm tannins as you would expect from an -86, but it is married with Margaux femininity, leading to a lovely, supple finish with graphite and blackberry lingering on the back palate. Superb. Drink now-2018. Tasted November 2009.

Neal Martin - Wine Journal Jul 2010


Tasted at the Château Palmer vertical in London, the 1986 Château Palmer might not embrace you like the 1985, and yet it remains a Margaux with pedigree. It offers blackcurrant pastilles, raspberry and cedar on the nose, violets unfurling with time in the glass, guiding the drinker to its appellation of origin. The palate is medium-bodied and well balanced, as expected, more austere and reserved than the 1985, but with fine backbone and an attractive masculine, tobacco-infused finish that is precise and long. It is not in the same class as the 1989, but it has clearly reached its drinking plateau and should continue there for at least another decade. Tasted May 2015.

Neal Martin - The Wine Advocate, 29 May 2016


The great 1986 Medocs have turned the corner and, while they are still young wines, they are approaching their adolescence. This wine still has a dense ruby/purple color with a bit of lightening at the edge. The nose offers up hints of minerals, sweet black cherry and black currant fruit, medium to full body, moderately high tannin, and outstanding purity in a very stern yet impressively concentrated style. The wine still tastes young, but it is budging from its very closed, dormant period, where it had rested for nearly 15 years. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2022. Last tasted, 5/02.

Robert Parker Jr - Bordeaux Book, 4th Edition Jan 2003

Vintage performance