I have been buried in assignments for both Wine Spectator and Cigar Aficionado. But I managed to have a couple of dinners when I was lucky enough to drink all of the first-growths from 1982, as well as Cheval-Blanc. Actually, I drank the Cheval and most of the first-growths except Haut-Brion at a dinner with a friend in Tuscany, while the Haut-Brion I had in Hong Kong at a pre-auction dinner last night for Acker Merrall & Condit.
Everyone knows that 1982 is a legend for Bordeaux. It was the vintage of my generation that will be etched in our hearts until the very end. It was an American vintage in so many ways. Not only were the wines ripe and wonderful from the beginning, but we Americans bought the lion's share of the stuff, particularly first-growths.
I have heard people say that many of the 1982s are now falling a part, but I have found the complete opposite. I think they are holding together wonderfully. I think that many bottles—trophies in particular—have not been stored properly. So, no, they have not held together well. But the wines have always had the richness and structure to last for decades. And they are beautiful to drink now, even lesser growths.
In the auction and collecting world, people seem to continue to gravitate toward 1982. It was 1961 before. But that has become too rare and too expensive. So 1982 is the new 1961 for many, especially new collectors like those in Hong Kong and the rest of the Far East.
Here are my tasting notes:
1982 Latour: How can this be better? Mind-blowing aromas of currant, mineral, herb, coffee bean and hints of mint. It's full-bodied, with velvety tannins and loads of fresh mint and other herbs with raspberry and blueberry as well. Then it turns to milk chocolate. Long and beautiful. Still so fresh and powerful. 100 points, non-blind.
1982 Cheval-Blanc: Some say that the '82 Cheval is not what it used to be, but I disagree. It's so sweet, with an almost stewed fruit character on the nose. Lots of plum tart and rhubarb aromas. It's full-bodied and silky, with gorgeous fruit and so long. Seductive and exciting. Changes all the time in the glass. Subtle and pretty. 98 points, non-blind.
1982 Haut-Brion: I love the wonderful aromas of violets and sandalwood with berry and currant. It's full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a tar, berry and chocolate aftertaste. This is long, rich, soft and fabulous. This is the best deal in first growth 1982. It can be half the price of Lafite. 97 points, non-blind.
1982 Mouton-Rothschild: This is a seductive red with complex and wonderful aromas of cedar, sandalwood and sweet tobacco. It's full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a beautiful palate. Such beauty and refinement. At its peak now. 96 points, non-blind.
1982 Lafite: It's very Lafite, with currant, cedar, sweet tobacco and cigar box on the nose. Full-bodied, with fruity yet subtle flavors of fruit, mostly currants that turn to mineral and cedar. Refined and beautiful like Lafite is. No reason to wait, but will improve. 95 points, non-blind.
1982 Margaux: This shows lovely black currant and blueberry with some herbs on the nose. It's full-bodied, with velvety and refined tannins. It turns a little dry on the finish, with a little air. Just right for the moment. Fabulous wine but not genius. 95 points, non-blind.
As you can see, the Latour is a perfect wine, and the best of the first-growths in 1982. I have found this for a long time now. It is just a baby still and needs decanting about three to four hours before serving. The others can be decanted an hour or two before. Although it came in third place, the Haut-Brion 1982 is a personal favorite. It is well-priced compared to the other firsts and Cheval, and it is a beautiful glass to drink.
Matt Scott — Honolulu HI — September 18, 2009 12:45pm ET
Jordan Horoschak — Houston, TX — September 18, 2009 12:58pm ET
David Porter — Baltimore, MD — September 18, 2009 3:02pm ET
Johnny Espinoza Esquivel — Wine World — September 18, 2009 3:06pm ET
Jayh Henchen — Rochester, NY — September 18, 2009 3:57pm ET
Robert W Carteaux — Fort Wayne, IN USA — September 18, 2009 11:31pm ET
Garet Tanaka — Maui, Hawaii — September 19, 2009 2:54pm ET
Pat Heffernan — Fort Lauderdale, FL — September 20, 2009 7:46am ET
Tyler Binney — Georgia — November 10, 2009 10:11pm ET
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions