1982 Château Lafite Rothschild Pauillac Wine Tasting Note

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1982 Château Lafite Rothschild  (Pauillac) 97

Elegant, refined, medium-bodied, soft, fresh and aromatic, this is probably at, or close to full maturity. The red fruits display a beautiful, earthy, cedar, tobacco, herbal, leafy, spicy profile. Texturally, this is a wine of finesse and silky, with length and depth of flavor. Decanted about 1 hour, this was a great bottle of the 82, which can often vary in quality.

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The fruit is quite pretty. There is an elegance and purity to the red berries that shows, but the wine is also light for the vintage. Refined, elegant, silky and pure, with cherry, cedar and tobacco notes that carry through, this is drinking where it needs to be. I just wish it showed more depth and intensity, especially considering the vintage, and how well the other First Growths did in this vintage.

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Graphite, cigar box, tobacco, spice, cherry pipe tobacco, forest leaf and herbs spring from the glass, even with no decanting. The wine is quite fresh, silky, medium/full bodied and graceful, exchanging finesse for power. The wine should continue improving for another 2 decades without trouble.

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The best bottle of this stunning wine I recall ever tasting. Purity and elegance, refinement and character sum this up quite well. There is a beautiful purity of fruit, ripeness in the tannins and a long, fresh, silky, fruit filled finish that lets you know you’re tasting something truly majestic.

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More interesting on the nose than the palate, with its complex array of cedar, tobacco, cassis, smoke, thyme and cigar wrapper scents. On the palate, the earthy, cherry and cassis sensation were marred by some dryness and slightly, rustic tannins. There are vintages when I love Lafite and covet the wine. Those are the years to buy. But there are other vintages that should be sold. 1982 is a year to sell. Its a good wine, but it does not even begin to deliver the level of quality to justify the selling price.

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This is a wine I seldom see anymore, due to the high prices. So it was a treat when I saw the bottle being popped. The nose, with its complex array of scents featuring flowers, cassis, cedar chest, cherry blossom, earth and tobacco was a treat. Elegant and classy in style, the wine is light on its feet, fresh and lively, ending with silky layers of ripe, dark red berries. Still young, I imagine this will only get better in time.

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1982 Lafite Rothschild 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 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.

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Perfume of cedar, lead pencil, cassis and possibly floral notes made for a haunting perfume. On the palate, this very deeply colored, dense, concentrated wine is packed with layers of ripe black and red fruits. I’m shocked at how young this wine showed.

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Chateau Lafite Rothschild Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

When to Drink Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is not a wine to drink on the young side. The wine is usually far too tannic, and reserved in its youth. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 3-6 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume.

Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is usually better with at least 15 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Lafite Rothschild offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 15 and 60 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Lafite Rothschild with Wine and Food Pairings

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Lafite Rothschild is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms and pasta.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild is the most elegantly styled of the three First Growths from Pauillac. But do not confuse the term elegant with light. Chateau Lafite is perhaps the most aromatic of the First Growths as well, with a perfume that fills the air with cedar, cassis, spice, tobacco, truffle, lead pencil, dark, red berries and earthy notes.

In the best vintages, the wine requires decades to develop to its full potential. Trust me on this, it is worth the wait!

Lafite Rothschild is also involved in several diverse wine investments in countries outside of France. Vina Los Vascos in Chile, was their first venture outside of Bordeaux, where they make several red and white wines primarily from Coloagua Chile.

In 1999, they joint ventured with the Catena family in Mendoza, Argentina to produce Bodegas Caro.

Continuing to expand, in 1999, they purchased Domaine d’Aussieres in the Languedoc-Roussillon appellation, located just below the Southern Rhone Valley. Their first move in Asia came in 2011 when they planted vines in the Penglai Peninsula in the Shandong Province in China. The vineyards were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Since 1995, the DBR group has also produced "The Collection," which is a serious of generic, low priced wines from various Bordeaux appellations sold under the name of Legende.

www.lafite.com