The best plan for drinking well on these momentous days is to cellar it yourself, but that takes planning and sometimes patience, since the great cellaring wines of the world are generally released between one and five years after the vintage, birthdate, wedding, or what have you.
Today I’m going to take a quick look at some great 25th anniversary wines to celebrate with, and I’ll revisit more recent vintages in upcoming weeks!
Photo courtesy allweddinggaz.com
Bordeaux had a banner year in 1986, producing deep, somewhat tough Cabernet-driven wines. These have aged very nicely and while they fail to wow some folks, they deliver a great aged Bordeaux experience and with proper storage, will continue to do so for another decade or two.
If you want to go all out, the first growth Lafite Rothschild is famed for its ‘86. It’ll set you back about $1600, the same as a Tandy 600 Portable Computer would have set you back in 1986 – and that bought you a computer that sported a 3.5-inch disk with 360k of memory, PLUS 32k of RAM (expandable to 224k).
Photo courtesy Lafite
Okay, so Lafite might be depressingly expensive, but there are many other great options in 1986. The Chateau Gruaud Larose is especially impressive and with a fairly impressive production, the wine is still readily available for around $200 a bottle.
While that might also be depressing, it may just keep your mind off of what you were listening to in 1986!
The top singles released in 1986 were:
1. Rock Me Amadeus by Falco
2. Papa Don't Preach by Madonna
3. The Final Countdown by Europe
4. Take My Breath Away by Berlin
5. West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys
Like Bordeaux, California had a great year in 1986 and produced wines that have mostly stood the test of time. If you’re looking for a 1986 to celebrate with this year, I would recommend sticking to the tried and true performers who made wines to age.
The 1986 Dunn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain can often be found for $150 a bottle or less and it remains a monster of a wine. Still youthful and powerful with remarkable purity, much like a young Mike Tyson who became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986. It’s a knockout!
Photo courtesy Palate Press
If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, I would check out some of the folks who were doing crazy things in California in 1986, like trying to make wine in the Santa Cruz Mountains! Producers like Ahlgren, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards and Mount Eden were quietly producing wonderful, ageworthy wines that have proven their worth after all these years, yet continue to be undervalued, so it’s not unusual to pick these up for a song, or under $75.
Small producers like these joined together to build the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA and reputation, much like the 6.5 million people who joined hands across America in 1986 to shine a light on the problems of homelessness and poverty in America.
Photo courtesy BeatCrave
For decades Australia’s flagship wine, Penfolds Grange Hermitage, stood alone as the most amazing wine of this island nation. Perhaps Grange has some competition today, but if you want to find a rich, powerful Aussie wine from 1986, you need to look no further than Grange, which will set you back about $500 a bottle.
Yes, you might have to be a movie star to fork over that kind of dough, so check yourself and see if you were in any of 1986’s top movies.
Top 5 grossing films of 1986
1 - Top Gun
2 – Crocodile Dundee
3 – Platoon
4 – The Karate Kid II
5 – Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home
Photo courtesy The Antique Wine Company
Not feeling as flush as Richard Branson, who was already known for his alpha behavior as far back as 1986 when he piloted his 72-foot powerboat, the Virgin Challenger, across the Atlantic Ocean at a record-breaking dash? Well, don’t worry, Penfolds has always been a winery with every man in mind. Its Bin 389 may not reach the heights that Grange does, but it can often be found for around $100 a bottle, making it a veritable steal.
Photo courtesy wine.com
Want to Learn More?
Interested in other celebratory wines? Check out Greg's sparkling wine round-up here.