How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

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How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#1 Post by Mark Golodetz »

Based on exactly what was in the bottle with no adjustments for technology, yields or ripeness.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#2 Post by HenryB »

Any answer other than the 5th vintage of the century in 9 years is clearly wrong :D
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#3 Post by J D o v e »

Man, that’s a fine question. My first vintage to taste on release was 1994. So I can’t even offer a guess.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#4 Post by Julian Marshall »

Happy New Year Mark! That's an excellent question. 1982 was the vintage of discovery of Bordeaux for me. It was readily available in shops in France and not expensive, although I was not to realise just how cheap it was until much later. I'm sure that you, like me, can still remember what the wines tasted like - something I have never, ever encountered since: they were ripe, but not too ripe, never too powerful, and all (I think) were accessible from very early on. Some were better than others, but as a first experience of Bordeaux it was mind-blowing. I can still remember the taste profile as if it was yesterday. I wouldn't say that the Left Bank was better than the Right, of which I still have fond memories of the type of wine I so miss today.

I knew zilch about technology, yields or ripeness, but I did know that I liked what I tasted.

I did a lot of backfilling as my cellar grew, which allowed me to understand better just how good they were.

I have enjoyed countless vintages since, but none have thrilled me like that one did. I suspect the problem is that winemakers have always wanted to recreate it.

I am quite certain that if it was released today, I would feel the same way.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#5 Post by Howard Cooper »

I think that 1982 has been a fabulous vintage. It would be seen as much more inconsistent than any vintage today because there were so many underperforming properties at the time, but from good estates the wines were fabulous and this can be from classified wines or lower level wines, which have provided wonderful drinking for what now would be considered jug wine pricing. So many wonderful cheap wines like Meyney, Chasse Spleen, Gloria and, of course la Lagune (one of the greatest $7 wines of all time).

For me, a lot of the wines are now getting older. They are still excellent to drink but there is a certain sameness to a lot of the wines that was not there 10 years ago. Certainly, some wines are still really good and a few (like LLC) are just getting mature, but an awful lot are slowly on a downslope. There are excellent 1982s (Lynch Bages, for example) that IMHO are not as fresh as their 1970 counterparts.

As a vintage, 1982s are really well balanced, unlike a lot of 2009s and 2010s, so I would clearly place 1982 above those vintages. I think 1982 is clearly a superior vintage to 1985, 1986 and 1990. Not as sure about 1989 and 2005. My guess is that the 2005s will last longer. Too young, IMHO to tell about 2015 and 2016.

If I had to rank, on vintage potential, the best three vintages of the "post 1961 era", where I have actually drunk wine, I would say that for properties making good wine at the time, 1982 would be one of the top three vintages along with 1970 and 2005. Obviously, because of the times (technology, money, etc) there are more good 2005s than 1982s and more good 1982s than 1970s.

Despite the fact that I later disagreed with a lot of what Robert Parker wrote, I will always have a lot of warmth for him for encouraging ("forcing") me to buy 1982 Bordeauxs. They are among the greatest wine buys in my life. Bought them in my 20s for a song when I was just married (vintage 1982) and still a government lawyer and drinking them over a good deal of my life. In terms of impact on my Bordeaux drinking life, nothing comes close to 1982.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#6 Post by Jeff Leve »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 8:06 am Based on exactly what was in the bottle with no adjustments for technology, yields or ripeness.
Today, if no adjustments were made, 1982 would be good, but not great.

High yields, lack of selection, lack of dependency on second wines, many vineyards not in the great shape they are today, petit chateau were not producing wines at the level they are today, and while you had great success with the best vineyards, the general lack of consistency would have 1982 considered as good, but not great.

Now, if you had today's knowledge of viticultural practices, selection, second wines, it might be seen as one of the greatest vintages of all time, depending on who is tasting the wines.
Last edited by Jeff Leve on January 4th, 2021, 10:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#7 Post by Marcus Goodfellow »

Julian Marshall wrote: January 4th, 2021, 9:14 am Happy New Year Mark! That's an excellent question. 1982 was the vintage of discovery of Bordeaux for me. It was readily available in shops in France and not expensive, although I was not to realise just how cheap it was until much later. I'm sure that you, like me, can still remember what the wines tasted like - something I have never, ever encountered since: they were ripe, but not too ripe, never too powerful, and all (I think) were accessible from very early on. Some were better than others, but as a first experience of Bordeaux it was mind-blowing. I can still remember the taste profile as if it was yesterday. I wouldn't say that the Left Bank was better than the Right, of which I still have fond memories of the type of wine I so miss today.

I knew zilch about technology, yields or ripeness, but I did know that I liked what I tasted.

I did a lot of backfilling as my cellar grew, which allowed me to understand better just how good they were.

I have enjoyed countless vintages since, but none have thrilled me like that one did. I suspect the problem is that winemakers have always wanted to recreate it.

I am quite certain that if it was released today, I would feel the same way.
I completely agree with this.

I don’t know if the vintage would be as iconic or even as heralded as it is, but anyone that likes Bordeaux would still be a huge fan(IMO). The wines were delicious.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#8 Post by Thomas Keim »

I sold 1982 Bordeaux futures. Tasted the bulk of them upon release. At the time, they were the most perfect red wines I had ever tasted. What was so amazing about the vintage was the "little" wines of the vintage. I remember a hoard of 1982 Medoc, Cotes de Bourg, and Right Bank Satellites that were just mind boggling in their youth. What surprises me is how so many of the wines have held up. I would have guessed that they wouldn't age like later vintages that seemed to show more tannins to go along with the modern fruit structures.

And the prices? Yikes. We started selling the First Growths at $400 a case - Pichon Lalande was $99 a case on First Tranche.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#9 Post by Jon H »

Howard Cooper wrote: January 4th, 2021, 10:22 am I think that 1982 has been a fabulous vintage. It would be seen as much more inconsistent than any vintage today because there were so many underperforming properties at the time, but from good estates the wines were fabulous and this can be from classified wines or lower level wines, which have provided wonderful drinking for what now would be considered jug wine pricing. So many wonderful cheap wines like Meyney, Chasse Spleen, Gloria and, of course la Lagune (one of the greatest $7 wines of all time).

For me, a lot of the wines are now getting older. They are still excellent to drink but there is a certain sameness to a lot of the wines that was not there 10 years ago. Certainly, some wines are still really good and a few (like LLC) are just getting mature, but an awful lot are slowly on a downslope. There are excellent 1982s (Lynch Bages, for example) that IMHO are not as fresh as their 1970 counterparts.

As a vintage, 1982s are really well balanced, unlike a lot of 2009s and 2010s, so I would clearly place 1982 above those vintages. I think 1982 is clearly a superior vintage to 1985, 1986 and 1990. Not as sure about 1989 and 2005. My guess is that the 2005s will last longer. Too young, IMHO to tell about 2015 and 2016.

If I had to rank, on vintage potential, the best three vintages of the "post 1961 era", where I have actually drunk wine, I would say that for properties making good wine at the time, 1982 would be one of the top three vintages along with 1970 and 2005. Obviously, because of the times (technology, money, etc) there are more good 2005s than 1982s and more good 1982s than 1970s.

Despite the fact that I later disagreed with a lot of what Robert Parker wrote, I will always have a lot of warmth for him for encouraging ("forcing") me to buy 1982 Bordeauxs. They are among the greatest wine buys in my life. Bought them in my 20s for a song when I was just married (vintage 1982) and still a government lawyer and drinking them over a good deal of my life. In terms of impact on my Bordeaux drinking life, nothing comes close to 1982.
Other than LLC, are there specific producers from the 1982 vintage worth seeking out for continued cellaring?

I recently bought a 1982 Beychevelle and a 1982 Chevalier. CT reviews indicate the Beychevelle is in a great spot and it doesn't seem to be declining (yet). Also according to CT, I should drink the Chevalier sooner rather than later.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#10 Post by Howard Cooper »

Jon H wrote: January 4th, 2021, 1:37 pm ]

Other than LLC, are there specific producers from the 1982 vintage worth seeking out for continued cellaring?

It has been a while since I tasted the Mouton, but likely Mouton. And, the last two times I had the LLC (both in 2017), it was awfully good. viewtopic.php?f=1&t=140197&p=2261358&hi ... e#p2261358
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#11 Post by Mark Golodetz »

Jon H wrote: January 4th, 2021, 1:37 pm
Howard Cooper wrote: January 4th, 2021, 10:22 am I think that 1982 has been a fabulous vintage. It would be seen as much more inconsistent than any vintage today because there were so many underperforming properties at the time, but from good estates the wines were fabulous and this can be from classified wines or lower level wines, which have provided wonderful drinking for what now would be considered jug wine pricing. So many wonderful cheap wines like Meyney, Chasse Spleen, Gloria and, of course la Lagune (one of the greatest $7 wines of all time).

For me, a lot of the wines are now getting older. They are still excellent to drink but there is a certain sameness to a lot of the wines that was not there 10 years ago. Certainly, some wines are still really good and a few (like LLC) are just getting mature, but an awful lot are slowly on a downslope. There are excellent 1982s (Lynch Bages, for example) that IMHO are not as fresh as their 1970 counterparts.

As a vintage, 1982s are really well balanced, unlike a lot of 2009s and 2010s, so I would clearly place 1982 above those vintages. I think 1982 is clearly a superior vintage to 1985, 1986 and 1990. Not as sure about 1989 and 2005. My guess is that the 2005s will last longer. Too young, IMHO to tell about 2015 and 2016.

If I had to rank, on vintage potential, the best three vintages of the "post 1961 era", where I have actually drunk wine, I would say that for properties making good wine at the time, 1982 would be one of the top three vintages along with 1970 and 2005. Obviously, because of the times (technology, money, etc) there are more good 2005s than 1982s and more good 1982s than 1970s.

Despite the fact that I later disagreed with a lot of what Robert Parker wrote, I will always have a lot of warmth for him for encouraging ("forcing") me to buy 1982 Bordeauxs. They are among the greatest wine buys in my life. Bought them in my 20s for a song when I was just married (vintage 1982) and still a government lawyer and drinking them over a good deal of my life. In terms of impact on my Bordeaux drinking life, nothing comes close to 1982.
Other than LLC, are there specific producers from the 1982 vintage worth seeking out for continued cellaring?

I recently bought a 1982 Beychevelle and a 1982 Chevalier. CT reviews indicate the Beychevelle is in a great spot and it doesn't seem to be declining (yet). Also according to CT, I should drink the Chevalier sooner rather than later.
The DDC suffered hail damage in 1982, and every bottle I have tried was undrinkable. Pity, this was normally a great era for them.

I have over the years had so many great wines from the vintage. The First Growths are superb, and LMHB is of the same quality. In principle, it is hard to go wrong in terms of winemaking, but we are talking about forty year old wines, so some of the bottles may be problematic.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#12 Post by Mark Golodetz »

As the OP, I did not want to say much until a few people had weighed in.

It is interesting that Parker got all the credit for “discovering” 1982 Bordeaux. He certainly took credit for it, and it kick started his brand. But that was not the case. The Brits certainly knew about,the Bordelais were really excited by it, as were merchants in the US. The only exceptions were Robert Finnigan and a slightly less warm response from Terry Robards, who said the vintage was indeed superb, but felt the premium for the wines was too high when you could still buy 1981 for so much less.

As for the wines, I think they differ from the modern vintages in two major respects, alcohol and acidity. Alcohol was by comparison low, most wines hovering around the 13 degrees though a little bit higher on the Right Bank. Second the wines were balanced, the acidity clear if a little lower than usual, and the wines were fresh from the get go.

It was certainly a ripe vintage, and this is where the conflation seems to have occurred. Particularly as Parker kept using the example of the 1947 Cheval, which has always been the poster child for those who like warm wines.

I have had this five times. The first one doesn’t count, a Van der Muelen bottling that smelled and tasted of skunk. The other four along with other Parker greatest wines of the last century, Latour a Pomerol 1961, Lafleur 1975 and 1979 were not to my taste. Soft, pruney and relatively simple.

The 1982 wines have aged beautifully, and I get none of that pruniness from any of the wines. As it was my first vintage I bought in any depth (the same can be said for a few of us) I have three bottles left from my original purchase. We were lucky, and I also thank Parker, who got it totally right, and whose enthusiasm made me buy.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#13 Post by Eric Ifune »

The Mouton probably won't get better but will hold for awhile yet. La Mission Haut Brion is still unready for my tastes. Had both about 6 months ago.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#14 Post by M.Kaplan »

I took a second mortgage on my home to buy ‘82 Bordeaux and bought almost 100 cases. They have provided me with 40 years of drinking pleasure, with more to go. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#15 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

M.Kaplan wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:18 pm I took a second mortgage on my home to buy ‘82 Bordeaux and bought almost 100 cases. They have provided me with 40 years of drinking pleasure, with more to go. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
That’s extraordinary. Wow. Kudos to you.

Should the youngsters do that with 2016?
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#16 Post by Eric Ifune »

Should the youngsters do that with 2016?
Not at current prices.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#17 Post by maureen nelson »

Eric Ifune wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:17 pm The Mouton probably won't get better but will hold for awhile yet. La Mission Haut Brion is still unready for my tastes. Had both about 6 months ago.
Good to know re LMHB as i am still waiting to drink my bottles (pre-arrival from Macarthurs.

For the person asking what to backfill - Gruaud Larose. So delicious young and still delicious (although I slightly preferred the ‘86 when I opened both for a friend’s bday - I was in minority on that although I was the only burg geek at the table).

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#18 Post by David Glasser »

The top 30-40 wines would be considered real winners - plenty of ripe fruit, great balancing acid and tannin, not too alcoholic, should drink young better than many vintages and age beautifully for decades.

But it would lose a few points for lack of consistency, as there were fewer properties, particularly among the lesser and non-classified growths, that had the means to be as selective in the vineyard or apply some of the modern techniques (talking cleanliness, not spoof) that are more widespread today.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#19 Post by P L owet »

With respect to OP, I don't have much experience with '82s, but I imagine the big difference in reception today would be less skepticism that wines that taste good (and ripe) at release can also be age-worthy. For illustration, while I know there are some who don't rate 2009 vintage highly, but does anyone claim they're too ripe to age?
maureen nelson wrote: January 4th, 2021, 3:21 pm Good to know re LMHB as i am still waiting to drink my bottles (pre-arrival from Macarthurs.
And I'm still waiting for an invitation to help you out. [cheers.gif]
For the person asking what to backfill - Gruaud Larose. So delicious young and still delicious (although I slightly preferred the ‘86 ...).
Both are so crazy good. But if backfilling, no reason to wait.

Happy new year,
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#20 Post by Brian Pinci »

‘82 Bordeaux was the first vintage I bought heavily. Many were memorable (LLC, Latour, Cheval Blanc), and some were complete duds (Pichon Baron). I have a few left and suspect they all are drinking now if not a bit past prime. But Ive enjoyed ‘89 just as much. I do see more consistency nowadays and a lot more to choose from.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#21 Post by Jeff Leve »

Eric Ifune wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:34 pm
Should the youngsters do that with 2016?
Not at current prices.
I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

IMO, with the exception of the First Growths and a handful of the top Right Bank wines, The best current Bordeaux remains priced competitively priced when compared to the top wines from any wine region.

Frankly, it’s cheap when compared to California and Burgundy.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#22 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:26 pm
Eric Ifune wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:34 pm
Should the youngsters do that with 2016?
Not at current prices.
I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

IMO, with the exception of the First Growths and a handful of the top Right Bank wines, The best current Bordeaux remains priced competitively priced when compared to the top wines from any wine region.

Frankly, it’s cheap when compared to California and Burgundy.

It’s a mixed bag, some 2016s are pretty expensive, but many are still quite attractive. I promised myself not to buy any and still fell prey. And remain more tempted. I like this vintage very much.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#23 Post by J D o v e »

M.Kaplan wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:18 pm I took a second mortgage on my home to buy ‘82 Bordeaux and bought almost 100 cases. They have provided me with 40 years of drinking pleasure, with more to go. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
While I’ve never done that, there’s merit in placing really big bets when you know a vintage is special.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#24 Post by Howard Cooper »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:12 pm As the OP, I did not want to say much until a few people had weighed in.

It is interesting that Parker got all the credit for “discovering” 1982 Bordeaux. He certainly took credit for it, and it kick started his brand. But that was not the case. The Brits certainly knew about,the Bordelais were really excited by it, as were merchants in the US. The only exceptions were Robert Finnigan and a slightly less warm response from Terry Robards, who said the vintage was indeed superb, but felt the premium for the wines was too high when you could still buy 1981 for so much less.

As for the wines, I think they differ from the modern vintages in two major respects, alcohol and acidity. Alcohol was by comparison low, most wines hovering around the 13 degrees though a little bit higher on the Right Bank. Second the wines were balanced, the acidity clear if a little lower than usual, and the wines were fresh from the get go.

It was certainly a ripe vintage, and this is where the conflation seems to have occurred. Particularly as Parker kept using the example of the 1947 Cheval, which has always been the poster child for those who like warm wines.

I have had this five times. The first one doesn’t count, a Van der Muelen bottling that smelled and tasted of skunk. The other four along with other Parker greatest wines of the last century, Latour a Pomerol 1961, Lafleur 1975 and 1979 were not to my taste. Soft, pruney and relatively simple.

The 1982 wines have aged beautifully, and I get none of that pruniness from any of the wines. As it was my first vintage I bought in any depth (the same can be said for a few of us) I have three bottles left from my original purchase. We were lucky, and I also thank Parker, who got it totally right, and whose enthusiasm made me buy.
I remember after reading Parker about 1982s, I found an issue of Decanter at a magazine store that reviewed the 1982s. Cannot remember who wrote the article but was one of the big English guys at the time. They were very high on the vintage and liked pretty much the same wines as Parker. Gave me a lot of confidence to buy.

And the vintage I sometimes find pruny is 2009, not 1982.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#25 Post by Jim F »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:12 pm As the OP, I did not want to say much until a few people had weighed in.

It is interesting that Parker got all the credit for “discovering” 1982 Bordeaux. He certainly took credit for it, and it kick started his brand. But that was not the case. The Brits certainly knew about,the Bordelais were really excited by it, as were merchants in the US. The only exceptions were Robert Finnigan and a slightly less warm response from Terry Robards, who said the vintage was indeed superb, but felt the premium for the wines was too high when you could still buy 1981 for so much less.

As for the wines, I think they differ from the modern vintages in two major respects, alcohol and acidity. Alcohol was by comparison low, most wines hovering around the 13 degrees though a little bit higher on the Right Bank. Second the wines were balanced, the acidity clear if a little lower than usual, and the wines were fresh from the get go.

It was certainly a ripe vintage, and this is where the conflation seems to have occurred. Particularly as Parker kept using the example of the 1947 Cheval, which has always been the poster child for those who like warm wines.

I have had this five times. The first one doesn’t count, a Van der Muelen bottling that smelled and tasted of skunk. The other four along with other Parker greatest wines of the last century, Latour a Pomerol 1961, Lafleur 1975 and 1979 were not to my taste. Soft, pruney and relatively simple.

The 1982 wines have aged beautifully, and I get none of that pruniness from any of the wines. As it was my first vintage I bought in any depth (the same can be said for a few of us) I have three bottles left from my original purchase. We were lucky, and I also thank Parker, who got it totally right, and whose enthusiasm made me buy.
I was later into the game, having discovered bdx with the ‘85 vintage. But from what I have tasted and drank, the highs were pretty damned high....some mind-boggling-so. So I would rate the vintage high.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#26 Post by Mark Golodetz »

Robert.A.Jr. wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:35 pm
Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:26 pm
Eric Ifune wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:34 pm

Not at current prices.
I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

IMO, with the exception of the First Growths and a handful of the top Right Bank wines, The best current Bordeaux remains priced competitively priced when compared to the top wines from any wine region.

Frankly, it’s cheap when compared to California and Burgundy.

It’s a mixed bag, some 2016s are pretty expensive, but many are still quite attractive. I promised myself not to buy any and still fell prey. And remain more tempted. I like this vintage very much.
As an investment, probably not. You are never going to see the same returns as you did with the 1982s. You may see some gain, but I doubt whether you will get more than putting money into stocks.

I will write about futures, as 2016s have entered the secondary market. But some of it is relevant.


There are a few good reasons to buy futures.
1. You know that the wines have never been mistreated.
2. You can choose formats. I like both half bottles and magnums, which cost about the same as a future, but have a significant premium in the secondary market.
3. You can usually find limited production wines more easily.

Downside
Cost: opportunity cost plus the hard costs of storage insurance etc.
Your vendor may go out of business, in which case you have no comeback.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#27 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Mark, I’m just talking about wine to drink. I have never bought wine as an investment, and hope to drink all that I have. Viewed in that light, 2016 seems like a major buy vintage.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#28 Post by Jon H »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:02 pm
Jon H wrote: January 4th, 2021, 1:37 pm I recently bought a 1982 Beychevelle and a 1982 Chevalier. CT reviews indicate the Beychevelle is in a great spot and it doesn't seem to be declining (yet). Also according to CT, I should drink the Chevalier sooner rather than later.
The DDC suffered hail damage in 1982, and every bottle I have tried was undrinkable. Pity, this was normally a great era for them.

I have over the years had so many great wines from the vintage. The First Growths are superb, and LMHB is of the same quality. In principle, it is hard to go wrong in terms of winemaking, but we are talking about forty year old wines, so some of the bottles may be problematic.
Interesting... that’s not consistent with recent CT reviews (I don’t mean to imply you are wrong). I wonder if maybe the wine has aged to a point where tertiary notes improved the wine (??). I suppose I will find out soon enough. Thanks for the feedback though, I will keep in mind when I drink it.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#29 Post by M.Kaplan »

J D o v e wrote: January 4th, 2021, 6:03 pm
M.Kaplan wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:18 pm I took a second mortgage on my home to buy ‘82 Bordeaux and bought almost 100 cases. They have provided me with 40 years of drinking pleasure, with more to go. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
While I’ve never done that, there’s merit in placing really big bets when you know a vintage is special.
I don’t recommend taking on long term debt to buy perishables, but it worked out. $20-25K bought a ton of the very best ‘82s at true futures pricing at a time when the franc was historically weak vs the dollar. In retrospect, I was lucky rather than good.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#30 Post by D. HEIN »

Mark,

Very interesting perspective! Only time will tell, but, this broad base is probably unmatched.

My 1982 favorites, with some not mature yet:

Bon Pasteur
Calon Segur
Cos d'Estournel
Ducru Beaucaillou
Grand Puy Lacoste
Gruaud Larose
Haut Brion
La Tour Haut-Brion
Lafite Rothschild
Lafleur
L'Arrosee
Latour
Le Gay
Le Pin
Leoville Las Cases
Leoville Poyferre
L'Evangile
Margaux
Mission Haut Brion
Mouton Rothschild
Pichon Lalande
Talbot

Based on knowledge, viticulture, wine making, equipment and technology, then and now........NONE!
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#31 Post by Jeremy C »

Robert.A.Jr. wrote: January 4th, 2021, 6:54 pm Mark, I’m just talking about wine to drink. I have never bought wine as an investment, and hope to drink all that I have. Viewed in that light, 2016 seems like a major buy vintage.
For sure. But, to be honest, there are times when I go to pull a bottle and realize that it’s “worth” quite a bit more than I had thought, as a result of appreciation. I really dislike that as I would prefer to simply grab what I want for the given time. There have been times when I have sold wines, but only because I no longer appreciated their taste and not to capitalize on appreciation of value.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#32 Post by Mark Golodetz »

Robert.A.Jr. wrote: January 4th, 2021, 6:54 pm Mark, I’m just talking about wine to drink. I have never bought wine as an investment, and hope to drink all that I have. Viewed in that light, 2016 seems like a major buy vintage.
Could be. The question then is will you be able to find wines with good provenance for less money than your outgoings would be if you bought now. I am pretty sure you can buy cheaper in the future.

That being said, I suspect that for many here, being sure of the condition and buying the formats you want outweigh the monetary advantage of saving a few dollars in the secondary market.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#33 Post by R. Frankel »

Fascinating thread, thank you all for your perspectives. I got in the Bordeaux game decades (3 to be exact!) after 1982 and so haven’t had many. The few I’ve had have been lovely (LLC was amazing) but prices now are prohibitive, especially relative to, say, 1985, 1989, 1996. I’m happy to hear the comparisons to 2005 - I’ve back-filled a lot of that vintage. I’ve avoided ‘16 though. I’m a bit too old for it.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#34 Post by Br1an Th0rne »

A great topic! I’m a bit too young to have tasted the 82’s in their youth, as the 95’s were the first wines I bought upon release. Honestly, I’ve never met a young red Bordeaux (less than 5 years old) that I’ve enjoyed, so I would have been at the mercy of the critic reviews! I like to think that I would have purchased cases of GPL, as I’ve done with just about every excellent vintage since the ‘95!

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#35 Post by Otto Forsberg »

How about the vintage itself then? Now you're all talking about the wineries. How was the vintage itself compared to the ones we have now? If the 2021 growing season would be identical to 1982, how would that compare? Do you think we'd have another legendary vintage?
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#36 Post by Julian Marshall »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:12 pm As for the wines, I think they differ from the modern vintages in two major respects, alcohol and acidity. Alcohol was by comparison low, most wines hovering around the 13 degrees though a little bit higher on the Right Bank. Second the wines were balanced, the acidity clear if a little lower than usual, and the wines were fresh from the get go.
Absolutely - this is the whole point. It was the combination of ripeness, balance and freshness that made them so special.

I didn't know of Parker at the time, only discovering his book a few years later, but I do remember that the few British critics I had access to were not over-confident about the ageing potential. In their defence, I think the vintage was at the time so atypical that the usual criteria could not be applied, so they were slightly wrongfooted.

It's true that lots of today's top producers were not performing at their best then - but as Thomas pointed out, that wasn't really the point if you were a young whippersnapper like me - I was drinking the cheaper stuff from the Médoc and St.Emilion, which was just sensational. Another huge difference was the lack of consultants - yes, some producers blew it, but the wines were still enjoyable - and original.

If the same vintage came along today, I would think that some would do better than they did in 1982 but that many would simply wreck it by trying too hard. In fact I suspect that the same vintage has come along, more than once, but with different results.

I'm sorry, that sounds very fogeyish - there are obviously wines produced today that do manage to capture the same tastes as the 1982s - try some Clos du Jaugueyron, for example, or countless wines from the Loire.

As for 1982s to buy today, the only wine I know of which I can recommend without hesitation would be, as Maureen said, Gruaud Larose. I finished the last one last year and it was almost as good as the first. IMO Gruaud has never come close to repeating that level of quality since and in 1982, it comfortably beat all other St.Juliens except perhaps LLC.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#37 Post by Howard Cooper »

Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 9:23 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote: January 4th, 2021, 6:54 pm Mark, I’m just talking about wine to drink. I have never bought wine as an investment, and hope to drink all that I have. Viewed in that light, 2016 seems like a major buy vintage.
Could be. The question then is will you be able to find wines with good provenance for less money than your outgoings would be if you bought now. I am pretty sure you can buy cheaper in the future.

That being said, I suspect that for many here, being sure of the condition and buying the formats you want outweigh the monetary advantage of saving a few dollars in the secondary market.
I think condition is an important point. The condition of wine I have tasted that has been bought on the secondary market has been distinctly mixed. Some of it has been quite good, but other bottles have been tired or shot when more properly stored bottles of the same wine have been really good. There really is no substitution for controlling the condition of the bottles of wine, even though doing so requires a great deal of patience.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#38 Post by Robert Sand »

Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 10:31 am
High yields, lack of selection, lack of dependency on second wines, many vineyards not in the great shape they are today, petit chateau were not producing wines at the level they are today, and while you had great success with the best vineyards, the general lack of consistency would have 1982 considered as good, but not great.
... so a typical off-vintage ... [whistle.gif]

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#39 Post by Howard Cooper »

Julian Marshall wrote: January 5th, 2021, 12:45 am

As for 1982s to buy today, the only wine I know of which I can recommend without hesitation would be, as Maureen said, Gruaud Larose. I finished the last one last year and it was almost as good as the first. IMO Gruaud has never come close to repeating that level of quality since and in 1982, it comfortably beat all other St.Juliens except perhaps LLC.
Fortunately, I bought some 1982 Gruaud Larose on futures (I think I paid $126 a case) and have one bottle left.

I would put it about even with the 1982 Ducru and behind the LLC but ahead of the Leoville Barton.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#40 Post by Julian Marshall »

Howard Cooper wrote: January 5th, 2021, 5:26 am
Julian Marshall wrote: January 5th, 2021, 12:45 am

As for 1982s to buy today, the only wine I know of which I can recommend without hesitation would be, as Maureen said, Gruaud Larose. I finished the last one last year and it was almost as good as the first. IMO Gruaud has never come close to repeating that level of quality since and in 1982, it comfortably beat all other St.Juliens except perhaps LLC.
Fortunately, I bought some 1982 Gruaud Larose on futures (I think I paid $126 a case) and have one bottle left.

I would put it about even with the 1982 Ducru and behind the LLC but ahead of the Leoville Barton.
$126? Ouch. I only had two Ducrus, which somehow never really took off, but no doubt there were better bottles.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#41 Post by Howard Cooper »

One thing I always found interesting. For the first 20-25 years, Cos D'Estournal was always a (the?) crowd favorite at any 1982 Bordeaux tasting I attended. Then, over times others surpassed it. Still, glad I had some ($130 a case on futures) but glad I drank them already. Only now have a handful of bottles of 1982s left. I think I have more Canon ($114 a case on futures) left than anything else.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#42 Post by Howard Cooper »

Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:26 pm

I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

Jeff, one thing you have to understand is the importance of price to the fondness so many people of my generation have for 1982 Bordeauxs. 1982 classified wines were not just available to wealthier people or to people in their 40s and 50s who had made it. They were widely available to an entire generation of wine lovers many of whom were in their 20s and 30s and just getting really started on wines. The wines were so good (many, many even at a very young age) that we all cut our teeth on these wines. For the first 10 years or so, we were all drinking wines that we paid $5-7 a bottle for like Gloria, Chasse Spleen, Meyney, la Lagune, etc., and waiting for the really expensive classified growths that we paid $8-13 a bottle for ($35-40 for those who really splurged on First Growths - unfortunately I did not) to mature. They came out right as the US economy was recovering from a decade long horrible recession (for example, I think the Dow was at about 1000 in 1969 and in the 600s in 1982) and were really a sign of a brighter future.

I doubt there ever has been or ever will be another vintage with the impact of the 1982 and price had a big part of it for those who bought on futures. You cannot evaluate 1982 Bordeaux without taking price into account. Having bought 1982 futures has been almost like having gone to Woodstock (I was too young for that).
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#43 Post by Julian Marshall »

I couldn't agree more, Howard, and you didn't even need to buy them EP (although it was a good idea to have done so). I remember strolling into my local supermarket in early 1985 and buying things like L-Barton, Pichon Baron and Montrose for 100 francs a bottle, so around 15€ in today's money. Crazy. As for the cheap stuff, it was 5 to 10 francs a bottle...

But to stop sounding like the old fart that I am, there are lots of things today which are a lot better.

I was buying practically blind, using Decanter and la Revue des Vins de France, neither of which covered wines in anything like the same depth and detail as today, along with a couple of really crappy French guides which no longer exist. I knew nobody interested in wine at the time and I was living in a small French market town in the middle of nowhere.

The overall quality of the vintage was such that I didn't buy any duds, but today, we have a plethoric source of information and guidance, not least good old WB! Of course there is nothing like tasting the wines yourself, but at least today we can form quite reliable opinions before shelling out - and that does save money.

All of us (I imagine) have easy access to wines. At the time, once the wines were sold in my local shops, they were gone for good. Auctions, where I was, were few and far between.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#44 Post by Jeff Leve »

Howard Cooper wrote: January 5th, 2021, 8:56 am
Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:26 pm

I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

Jeff, one thing you have to understand is the importance of price to the fondness so many people of my generation have for 1982 Bordeauxs
Memories are great. But so what? The same point can be made by oldsters who purchased cases of 1961 First Growth for about $120 per case. Homebuyers that bought houses for 10% of what they cost today, Bitcoin at .8, etc. It is not a relevant statistic, except as a memory.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#45 Post by Jeff Leve »

Julian Marshall wrote: January 5th, 2021, 12:45 am
Mark Golodetz wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:12 pm As for the wines, I think they differ from the modern vintages in two major respects, alcohol and acidity. Alcohol was by comparison low, most wines hovering around the 13 degrees though a little bit higher on the Right Bank. Second the wines were balanced, the acidity clear if a little lower than usual, and the wines were fresh from the get go.
Absolutely - this is the whole point. It was the combination of ripeness, balance and freshness that made them so special.

I didn't know of Parker at the time, only discovering his book a few years later, but I do remember that the few British critics I had access to were not over-confident about the ageing potential. In their defence, I think the vintage was at the time so atypical that the usual criteria could not be applied, so they were slightly wrongfooted.
Isn't that the job of a god critic/taster to see through that?

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#46 Post by Jeff Leve »

Robert Sand wrote: January 5th, 2021, 5:22 am
Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 10:31 am
High yields, lack of selection, lack of dependency on second wines, many vineyards not in the great shape they are today, petit chateau were not producing wines at the level they are today, and while you had great success with the best vineyards, the general lack of consistency would have 1982 considered as good, but not great.
... so a typical off-vintage ... [whistle.gif]
Not at all. But the truth is, there has been a lot of progress made over the past 39 years. Today, there are hundreds of strong wines produced in the top vintages. I would guess between 60-100 really great wines were made in 82.

The reality is that when you consider that almost no new oak was used in the aging process, there was very little wine not included in the Grand Vin, second wines were not in vogue yet, yields were enormous and almost no selection was taking place as the Grand Vins were all producing twice as much wine as they release today, the best wines are incredible. That means that if weather conditions like 1982 were to take place today, it would probably be the greatest vintage of all time.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#47 Post by Tomás Costa »

Howard Cooper wrote: January 5th, 2021, 8:56 am
Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 5:26 pm

I don’t agree. We each have our price point. So if you think a wine is too much money, I get that.

What wines sold for almost 40 years ago has zero relevance.

Jeff, one thing you have to understand is the importance of price to the fondness so many people of my generation have for 1982 Bordeauxs. 1982 classified wines were not just available to wealthier people or to people in their 40s and 50s who had made it. They were widely available to an entire generation of wine lovers many of whom were in their 20s and 30s and just getting really started on wines. The wines were so good (many, many even at a very young age) that we all cut our teeth on these wines. For the first 10 years or so, we were all drinking wines that we paid $5-7 a bottle for like Gloria, Chasse Spleen, Meyney, la Lagune, etc., and waiting for the really expensive classified growths that we paid $8-13 a bottle for ($35-40 for those who really splurged on First Growths - unfortunately I did not) to mature. They came out right as the US economy was recovering from a decade long horrible recession (for example, I think the Dow was at about 1000 in 1969 and in the 600s in 1982) and were really a sign of a brighter future.

I doubt there ever has been or ever will be another vintage with the impact of the 1982 and price had a big part of it for those who bought on futures. You cannot evaluate 1982 Bordeaux without taking price into account. Having bought 1982 futures has been almost like having gone to Woodstock (I was too young for that).
Great post. I'd already gotten the impression that the price increase of wine from the 'classic regions' had been dramatic in the past few decades, but these numbers really put things into perspective - very sobering.

There is an element of frustration in knowing that one evaded certain perks by circumstance of one's birth date, but it's no use dwelling on that. I prefer to think that there are a lot of stunning values today which might suffer from the price gauging of tomorrow, and I too might one day look back fondly at some of my current purchases.
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#48 Post by Tomás Costa »

Jeff Leve wrote: January 5th, 2021, 9:33 am
Robert Sand wrote: January 5th, 2021, 5:22 am
Jeff Leve wrote: January 4th, 2021, 10:31 am
High yields, lack of selection, lack of dependency on second wines, many vineyards not in the great shape they are today, petit chateau were not producing wines at the level they are today, and while you had great success with the best vineyards, the general lack of consistency would have 1982 considered as good, but not great.
... so a typical off-vintage ... [whistle.gif]
Not at all. But the truth is, there has been a lot of progress made over the past 39 years. Today, there are hundreds of strong wines produced in the top vintages. I would guess between 60-100 really great wines were made in 82.

The reality is that when you consider that almost no new oak was used in the aging process, there was very little wine not included in the Grand Vin, second wines were not in vogue yet, yields were enormous and almost no selection was taking place as the Grand Vins were all producing twice as much wine as they release today, the best wines are incredible. That means that if weather conditions like 1982 were to take place today, it would probably be the greatest vintage of all time.
I am under the vague impression that a long, long time ago - in the 19th century - Bordeaux first growths had very long oak elevage, as in many years. When did this change? And what kind of oak was this?
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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#49 Post by Jeff Leve »

Tomás Costa wrote: January 5th, 2021, 9:44 am
Jeff Leve wrote: January 5th, 2021, 9:33 am
Robert Sand wrote: January 5th, 2021, 5:22 am ... so a typical off-vintage ... [whistle.gif]
Not at all. But the truth is, there has been a lot of progress made over the past 39 years. Today, there are hundreds of strong wines produced in the top vintages. I would guess between 60-100 really great wines were made in 82.

The reality is that when you consider that almost no new oak was used in the aging process, there was very little wine not included in the Grand Vin, second wines were not in vogue yet, yields were enormous and almost no selection was taking place as the Grand Vins were all producing twice as much wine as they release today, the best wines are incredible. That means that if weather conditions like 1982 were to take place today, it would probably be the greatest vintage of all time.
I am under the vague impression that a long, long time ago - in the 19th century - Bordeaux first growths had very long oak elevage, as in many years. When did this change? And what kind of oak was this?
I believe they have always used French oak. There would be two big differences in 19th century barrel aging and bottling. At that point in time, almost every wine was bottled by negociants. They would pick up the wine in their own barrels from the chateau and either sell and deliver in barrels, or bottle the wines as needed directly from the barrel. It would not be known how long any particular bottle remained in the barrel in those days.

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Re: How would we rate 1982 Bordeaux if they were released today?

#50 Post by J.Vizuete »

J D o v e wrote: January 4th, 2021, 6:03 pm
M.Kaplan wrote: January 4th, 2021, 2:18 pm I took a second mortgage on my home to buy ‘82 Bordeaux and bought almost 100 cases. They have provided me with 40 years of drinking pleasure, with more to go. Couldn’t ask for anything more.
While I’ve never done that, there’s merit in placing really big bets when you know a vintage is special.
Astounding stuff there! While it probably won't convince my wife to go all in on the 2016s, I have a mentor in wine who likes to tell the story of when he and another intern (they were in medicine residency at the time) drove from Texas to Florida one weekend to pick up a literal truck load of 82 futures from a retailer he knew. They filled the back of a van up with cases upon cases, and made it back in time for rounds on Monday AM. All his friends and colleagues thought he was crazy, but those bottles since rested in a pristinely kept cellar since the time, and offered a ton of pleasure along the way.

At his generosity, I've been able to taste 82 Pichon Baron, Gruaud Larose (82 >> 86 IMO), Haut Brion, La Tour HB, La Mission, Canon, and Leoville Barton. When I ask what the wines tasted like on release (thanks Julian and Howard for your input here), he always struggles to describe the unique combination of fruit weight without extraction, balanced acidity, and ideal tannic structure. I'm still waiting to try LLC, PLL, and Mouton in particular, but wanted to point out that most of the wines from that cellar (Pichon Baron and Leoville Barton excluded) still taste VERY youthful. It has formed my belief in the importance of storage conditions, and well kept 82s (I'm thinking about La Mission specifically) have years if not decades before they peak.
John
CT: jviz

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