1982 Pauillac Bordeaux Wine Tasted, Rated, Contemplated


1982 Pauillac, to quote Humphrey Bogart in “The Maltese Falcon”, “The stuff dreams are made of.”

It’s good to have goals.  Of course, some goals are more ambitious than others. Goals can range from making the world a better place, personal improvement, or something fun, like tasting all the top 1982 Pauillac wines. 1982 Bordeaux is one of the legendary Bordeaux vintages of all time.  In part, that status comes from the fact that the 1982 Bordeaux vintage was the springboard for the career of Robert Parker. The wine and more importantly, the style of wine gave 1982 Bordeaux its lofty reputation.

1982 Bordeaux ushered in the modern Bordeaux era.  The search for ripeness, selection, softer tannins and perforce silkier textures is evident in the wine. Sadly, it also gave birth to the modern age of futures, worldwide demand and the rapid escalation of high prices. To understand the vintage and obtain a view on what took place during the growing season and harvest: 1982 Bordeaux Wine

What about the wines? At their best, 1982 Bordeaux combines sensuous, elegant tannins, richness, concentration and opulent, sensuous and occasional decadent textures with the ability to age and evolve into something special.  Clearly 1982 Bordeaux deserves its fame. However, when compared to Bordeaux wine today, 1982 Bordeaux falls short in one department, consistency. Some producers made other worldly, 1982 Bordeaux wine that must be experienced by Bordeaux wine lovers. The biggest gain for Bordeaux wine lovers since 1982 Bordeaux was born, is the remarkable level of consistency in Bordeaux today.  While there could be 25 stunning wines from 1982 that were produced, vintages like 2009 and 2010 gave birth to 100 or more cellar worthy wines!

I’ve read numerous comments from tasters that 1982 Bordeaux was in its death throes, the wines lost their vibrancy, freshness and fruit, they needed to drunk up now, before they pass on to senility. Don’t believe that nonsense!  The best well stored examples of 1982 Bordeaux have just entered their peak drinking window. These wines are in no danger of falling apart. Again, this is not for every 1982 Bordeaux wine. But many of these sumptuous wines are tasting better than ever!

To discover which 1982 Bordeaux wines were at their best, I set out to taste the  wines. Over the past several months, I’ve managed to taste most of the top 1982 Bordeaux wines from Pomerol and St. Julien. To read about  1982 St. Julien: 1982 St. Julien Bordeaux Wine a Look Back After 30 Years

Margaux, St. Estephe, Graves/Pessac Leognan and St. Emilion were tasted as well, but those appellations were not nearly as successful as the aforementioned communes, so I did not write up full reports. Where’s 1982 Pauillac?

1982 Pauillac, due to its level of quality, consistency and high price was saved for last. With 3 First Growths, 2 Second Growths, 1 Fourth Growth and a whopping 12 Fifth Growths, there was a lot of wine to taste. That’s where goals come in.  With that admirable, albeit hedonistic plan to taste 1982 Pauillac set in place, over a few dinners with friends, I managed to obtain a good look at some of the best wines of an era. I know, tasting 1982 Pauillac is a tough job, but someone has to do it and I was ready for the task at hand.

1982 Latour – If a wine deserved more than 100 Pts, this bottle was a contender for that honor. One of the clear indicators for a sublime wine is, it starts off great and continues improving and keeps on getting better than you could have imagined. This bottle of 1982 Latour was all that and more! Tobacco, earth, truffle, wet gravel, cassis, blackberry, cedar and spice box was elevated to new level. The intense, perfectly balanced, potent, mouth filling waves of fresh, ripe, pure flavors expanded on your palate for over 60 seconds! Silk and power, with everything in perfect balance and harmony. The wine continued to improve in the glass for hours. This is what great Bordeaux is all about! This was one of those bottles that you remember forever. This could have been the best red wine I tasted all year!  If aliens came to Earth seeking a bottle of wine to understand what all the fuss was about, this is the bottle to send into space! 100 Pts

1982 Mouton Rothschild – I’ve been fortunate to have tasted this a few times a year for the past decade. While some bottles show better than others, all the well-stored bottles share a common trait. At 30 years of age, the wine is still amazingly young! 1982 Mouton Rothschild continues to evolve at a glacial pace. I’m not sure this has budged over the past several years. With an hour or two of air and some coaxing, this massive, full bodied, powerful, concentrated, deep wine give up smoke, truffle, Asian spice, cassis, earth, tobacco, blackberry, coffee and gravel in the perfume. There is not a single hard edge to be found in this stunning Pauillac. If you have patience, another 5-10 years in the cellar should add a lot to this 100 year wine. 99 Pts

1982 Lafite Rothschild – The wine showed better than expected, considering that this wine has never lived up to its potential, based on the early raves from critics. Still not fully mature, the cassis, cedar wood, cigar box, earth and gravel scents were right where they should be, but fireworks never exploded. Should rockets have gone off? For this much money, that is the least that should take place. Instead, you enjoy a high quality, slowly maturing Pauillac, with an understated character. There is no hurry to drink the wine as there is ample structure and ripe tannins to allow for decades more of evolution. 96 Pts

1982 Pichon Lalande – Smoke, tobacco, cigar box, cassis, wet earth, truffle, spice and forest floor pop from the glass the moment the wine is poured. The real fireworks start with the luxurious, glycerin filled, sensuous, silk and velvet textures. Layers of opulent, polished perfectly ripe dark berries remain on your palate for close to 60 seconds. If you want to know why people spend big money on Bordeaux, this is the wine to experience. I tasted this wine a few times over the past several months and each time, the wine showed a remarkable level of consistency scoring between 98 and 100 Pts.  This bottle, tasted with my dad, Don Leve for fathers day, hit all the right notes and the triple digit mark! 100 Pts

1982 Grand Puy Lacoste –  I challenge you to find a better wine for the money from the legendary 1982 vintage than Grand Puy Lacoste. This beauty pops with explosive notes of cigar ash, tobacco, smoke, gravel, cassis, blackberry and wet forest floor scents. Rich, full bodied, deep and concentrated, the wine combines power with a regal palate feel, ending in a long, sweet, fresh, blackberry, earth and sweet cherry finish. This was one of the first bottles of wine I purchased when I started collecting. Seeing the then expensive, original $40 price tag put a smile on my face. Those were the days. 96 Pts

1982 Lynch Bages  –  With a textbook Pauillac nose packed with cedar chest, tobacco, earth, truffle, cassis, cigar box, spice and charcoal, you know you’re in for a treat. Rich, deep concentrated, this full bodied, potent, classic vintage of Lynch Bages is firing on all cylinders today.  If you have a bottle that’s resting in your cellar, you can wait, it will probably improve. But if you own a few bottles, you should pull a cork.  95 Pts

1982 Pichon Baron  – This is one of those wines that is all about the bottle. This bottle was better than most with its tobacco, cedar wood, lead pencil and cassis notes that screamed Pauillac. It was not refined, and there was a touch of austerity in its character, but it offered a lot of charm. Fully mature, further time in the cellar is just pushing your luck. 91 Pts


    • Hi Rebecca… I’m happy to know, I can be a positive role model on the way to hedonism and debauchery. Always happy to help if you ever have any questions. Thanks for all the tweets too!

    • 30 years from now, 2009 and 2010 will be held in higher regard than 1982, due to the number of chateaux that produced great wine. In 1982, many of today’s greatest wineries were not producing exciting wine. That is not the case any longer.

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