1986 Napa Valley - The Wine Independent

1986 Napa Valley

1986 Vintage Ratings:


Red wine vintage rating: 90

1986 Top Three Napa Valley Wines Today:


Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon

Château Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon Estate


Apart from a very wet winter marked by widespread flooding, the 1986 growing season in Napa Valley was relatively uneventful. It was a third very good vintage in a row for Napa, yet the wines were pretty unremarkable. Why? Throughout the mid-1980s, many vineyards around the valley had been recently planted using the doomed AXR1 rootstock recommended by UC Davis and were succumbing to phylloxera. The problem was painfully obvious by now—Napa Valley vineyards during this period weren’t at their fittest and struggled to fully ripen crops even in great vintages. Replanting in the late 1980s and early 1990s would eventually rectify this problem.