Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

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Alex A
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Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#1 Post by Alex A » November 22nd, 2018, 2:19 pm

Well, this was kind of sucky. I got 3 bottles of 1982 Mouton from HDH auction last week. Opened all 3 this morning to decant for our dinner. All three badly oxidized. Corks were spongy, very soft and completely soaked.

The wine in all 3 bottles had turned slightly brown. It smelled like really damp basement and a bit of roasted sugar aroma.

Tasting all 3 bottles confirmed it all, very flat, no life left in the juice.

Kind of bummed, was hoping to enjoy it with close friends and family. I guess the chances of this happening with older vintages are high, just hoped HDH would've vetted the seller better. Not sure how they managed to store and care for all 3 bottles so badly.

Opted to open 2003 Colgin and 2004 Harlan along with 2015 Riverain. All 3 in excellent condition, had also gotten the Colgin and Harlan from HDH couple months ago.

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Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#2 Post by c fu » November 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm

Hopefully they give credit!
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#3 Post by Neal.Mollen » November 22nd, 2018, 2:51 pm

Bummer! Glad the backups worked
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#4 Post by Ken Strauss » November 22nd, 2018, 3:00 pm

That will teach you to drink American on Thanksgiving!
Hopefully a credit is coming.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#5 Post by Victor Hong » November 22nd, 2018, 3:00 pm

The auction house may challenge the seller.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#6 Post by Alex A » November 22nd, 2018, 3:03 pm

c fu wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm
Hopefully they give credit!
Yeah, not sure what their process is. I went specifically with HDH based on their reputation. And I never had anything bad from them.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#7 Post by Alex A » November 22nd, 2018, 3:05 pm

Neal.Mollen wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 2:51 pm
Bummer! Glad the backups worked
Same here, glad too! Decanted the backups in the morning and the kitchen smells like berries, so amazing.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#8 Post by p. raghib » November 22nd, 2018, 3:05 pm

I would bet that there will be no credit coming but it is still good to let them know about the consignment.

If you think about it, very few people had active storage in the mid 80s and shipping with active cooling was still a long ways off.

Sorry to hear about your experience. Also a bit surprised you got into them so quickly, but you are obviously a very generous friend

Cheers

-paul

BTW if you ever make it to Detroit I'd be happy to open one with you
cheers'

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#9 Post by Alex A » November 22nd, 2018, 3:09 pm

Ken Strauss wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 3:00 pm
That will teach you to drink American on Thanksgiving!
Hopefully a credit is coming.
Enjoy!
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#10 Post by Alex A » November 22nd, 2018, 3:13 pm

p. raghib wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 3:05 pm
I would bet that there will be no credit coming but it is still good to let them know about the consignment.

If you think about it, very few people had active storage in the mid 80s and shipping with active cooling was still a long ways off.

Sorry to hear about your experience. Also a bit surprised you got into them so quickly, but you are obviously a very generous friend

Cheers

-paul

BTW if you ever make it to Detroit I'd be happy to open one with you
Paul, you're most likely right. Didn't think all 3 would be bad. But your theory is also not far off, but I've heard of people having some very well kept bottles. I think I'm going to try Benchmark next, at least they're close by and give you 6 month guarantee.

And thank you for the offer, hopefully I will make to Detroit one day and we can open one together.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#11 Post by Larry Link » November 22nd, 2018, 3:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your below par Moutons, that’s an expensive mishap. We had that wine a month ago in a lineup of 82s and it was really singing, right behind the 82 Latour and Petrus.

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#12 Post by Herwig Janssen » November 23rd, 2018, 2:08 am

Alex , we had a tasting of Bordeaux 1982 a couple of months ago and the Mouton was equally bad as your 3 wines . My friend who brought the wine had recently bought it at auction in Belgium . Caveat Emptor !

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#13 Post by YLee » November 23rd, 2018, 4:40 am

Sorry to hear about ur Mouton.
Similar thing happened to me so now I wont make expensive purchases for older bottles anymore.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#14 Post by Ian Dorin » November 23rd, 2018, 4:54 am

Alex A wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 3:03 pm
c fu wrote:
November 22nd, 2018, 2:32 pm
Hopefully they give credit!
Yeah, not sure what their process is. I went specifically with HDH based on their reputation. And I never had anything bad from them.
What were the condition notes? Do you have pictures of the bottles before opening?

You can usually only get a refund if the auction house somehow misrepresented the bottles (which doesn't happen often).
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#15 Post by Sebastian C. » November 23rd, 2018, 10:19 am

Herwig Janssen wrote:
November 23rd, 2018, 2:08 am
Alex , we had a tasting of Bordeaux 1982 a couple of months ago and the Mouton was equally bad as your 3 wines . My friend who brought the wine had recently bought it at auction in Belgium . Caveat Emptor !

It still amazes me how little discount buyers ask from wines bought in auction vs retail. Should be at least 30% if you have no claim for bad bottles.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#16 Post by Eric Ifune » November 23rd, 2018, 3:34 pm

Would never buy 1982 Mouton at auction. Notorious for low fills. Never heard if it was a cork, bottle, or bottling problem. Worried the consigner would only part with their worst bottles.

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#17 Post by Chuck Miller » November 23rd, 2018, 4:26 pm

Sorry you had this experience. Personally, I would have opened one, checked it, and if shot, opened the second bottle. If that was also shot the unopened bottle would have been returned to salvage something out of an otherwise awful experience. No way I’d open all three without checking.

EDIT: You may have opened them one at a time, I don’t know. But if you did, it took some brass ones to take a chance that the third one might be good. Not for me, at $1,200+ per lottery ticket.
Last edited by Chuck Miller on November 23rd, 2018, 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#18 Post by RichardFlack » November 23rd, 2018, 5:04 pm

Chuck Miller wrote:
November 23rd, 2018, 4:26 pm
Sorry you had this experience. Personally, I would have opened one, checked it, and if shot, opened the second bottle. If that was also shot the unopened bottle would have been returned to salvage something out of an otherwise awful experience. No way I’d open all three without checking.
But does door number threee conceal a goat or a car?

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#19 Post by Dale Williams » November 23rd, 2018, 7:28 pm

Painful night.
'82 Mouton when on is glorious. But also for years has been used as poster child of risks of buying on secondary market (whether auction or retail). Super-prestige wines get traded a lot, more opportunities for damage, which is why wines known to be bought on release get significant premium (see the cases of 82 Mouton from Veritas owner a few years ago),
I have pretty good luck with auction bottles, but mostly buy non-trophies, and buy when I think price gives sufficient discount
But if bottles met description, caveat emptor.
Better luck next time
PS Doesn't matter if cooked like it sounds here, and Bdx is better than say Piedmont, but I personally would not choose to open an older red with sediment a week after shipping

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#20 Post by Randy Bowman » November 23rd, 2018, 7:46 pm

We have been through a number of older CA wines we got from friends or Berserkers. Some of those very well cellared were shot. Some of those that sat upright in the kitchen next to the stove were stellar. All of our 74 Louis Martini Cabs show signs of leakage and I doubt they are drinkable. The college kids from the 2009 Oenology class got their hands on part of an old cellar purchased by a broker who was pretty sure the wines were gone, so he gave them to the class for learning purposes, (write off). The tasting was here at the shop. The majority of the wines were 1981 to 1984 Chardonnay. There was one bottle of 1982 Johannesburg Riesling and one bottle of 1979 Petite Sirah. All of the Chards were drinkable upon opening and several were excellent. The darkest Chard was one of the better ones. The Petite Sirah was the wine of the night, ($7.99 price tag on bottle). The Riesling was an excellent sweet dessert wine about the color of sherry.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#21 Post by Chuck Miller » November 23rd, 2018, 8:45 pm

Randy Bowman wrote:
November 23rd, 2018, 7:46 pm
We have been through a number of older CA wines we got from friends or Berserkers. Some of those very well cellared were shot. Some of those that sat upright in the kitchen next to the stove were stellar. All of our 74 Louis Martini Cabs show signs of leakage and I doubt they are drinkable. The college kids from the 2009 Oenology class got their hands on part of an old cellar purchased by a broker who was pretty sure the wines were gone, so he gave them to the class for learning purposes, (write off). The tasting was here at the shop. The majority of the wines were 1981 to 1984 Chardonnay. There was one bottle of 1982 Johannesburg Riesling and one bottle of 1979 Petite Sirah. All of the Chards were drinkable upon opening and several were excellent. The darkest Chard was one of the better ones. The Petite Sirah was the wine of the night, ($7.99 price tag on bottle). The Riesling was an excellent sweet dessert wine about the color of sherry.
I guess I’m missing your point, Randy.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#22 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 24th, 2018, 7:01 am

A few years ago, Mouton was celebrating its 150th birthday under Rothschild ownership and put on a huge extravaganza at the closing dinner at Vinexpo. They served 1982 from the cellars of Mouton. At one stage we had eight bottles on our table, and were fascinated by the variability of the wine that ranged from young ang powerful to very mature. I would imagine there were some bottles that were even worse and were culled before they reached the table. But as Dale said, when you get a good bottle, it is glorious.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#23 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 24th, 2018, 7:03 am

Chuck Miller wrote:
November 23rd, 2018, 4:26 pm
Sorry you had this experience. Personally, I would have opened one, checked it, and if shot, opened the second bottle. If that was also shot the unopened bottle would have been returned to salvage something out of an otherwise awful experience. No way I’d open all three without checking.

EDIT: You may have opened them one at a time, I don’t know. But if you did, it took some brass ones to take a chance that the third one might be good. Not for me, at $1,200+ per lottery ticket.

This. Also should Hart Davis want to check the bottle, they have the chance.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#24 Post by larry schaffer » November 24th, 2018, 7:17 am

I guess I'm a bit confused because based on your description of the wines, I can't tell if they were corked or cooked or both? Damp basement would lead me to believe corked but color and other descriptors would lead me to believe cooked.

In any case, it is a bummer - and it truly sucks that these situations occur. As others have said, the issues of cooked wines will probably increase in the future with wines being traded, and therefore transported, more. Provenance is king . . .

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#25 Post by Craig G » November 24th, 2018, 2:11 pm

I don’t know the history of this bottle but there was a lot of sketchy transportation back when those wines first came into the country. When I started buying wines around 1987 there were lots of bottles on the shelf that were clearly damaged. I suspect there were many more that were compromised but not in a visible way. That cleaned up a lot over the following ten years, I believe partly thanks to Robert Parker and Kermit Lynch who were both quite vocal about it.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#26 Post by Alex A » November 25th, 2018, 2:23 pm

Thanks everyone for the responses. Kind of lesson learned, I'll be more careful with older vintages and auctions. Will probably get the next '80s Mouton from Benchmark or other sellers I have a good relationship with and will take the bottle back as they have indicated.

I really wanted to try the '82 since it came highly recommended from a lot of friends and also wanted to share it with close people during Thanksgiving dinner. Oh well... better experience next time hopefully.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#27 Post by Alan Eden » November 25th, 2018, 2:57 pm

Auction wines are a lottery, the more expensive the wine it seems the higher the risk. Ive had way more bad bottles from HDH than good.i dont blame them, it just seems to be the way it is with auction wines.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#28 Post by Dale Williams » November 25th, 2018, 4:15 pm

Alan Eden wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 2:57 pm
Auction wines are a lottery, the more expensive the wine it seems the higher the risk. Ive had way more bad bottles from HDH than good.i dont blame them, it just seems to be the way it is with auction wines.
I find this an incredible post. You've had way more bad bottles than good, but you don't blame them? That's insane.
I haven't bought at HDH auction in a while- for a while I was bidding but losing, and then I think they changed re shipping to NY, and it wasn't worth finding a workaround with rarely winning. But the hundreds of bottles I bought before then were mostly good. As is the case with 80-90% of the older wines I buy at auction (probably closer to 90%)
I factor in a little risk (more with Winebid) but don't think older bottles from auction show worse than retail. If a retailer offers a guarantee (Chambers would be the gold standard, though I have not taken them up on it the few bad bottles I've had) that is worth a premium. But most retailers don't, though most would take remaining bottles back, though with older bottles I'm just usually buying singletons
But the idea that way more bottles are bad is ludicrous.
I do always factor in provenance issues into any bid.

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#29 Post by Arv R » November 25th, 2018, 5:35 pm

Some of these auction trading names now remind me of 'trading sardines'

https://www.valuewalk.com/2017/03/seth- ... -sardines/
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#30 Post by Steve Nordhoff » November 25th, 2018, 6:25 pm

Alex,

Bummer to hear on those Moutons. Hope the 15 Riverain was drinking well.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#31 Post by Alex A » November 25th, 2018, 8:16 pm

Steve Nordhoff wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 6:25 pm
Alex,

Bummer to hear on those Moutons. Hope the 15 Riverain was drinking well.
Steve, the Riverain was drinking really well! People kept asking for more, so we ended up opening 4 bottles of the Riverain, everyone loved it. I'll be picking up some more next month when I drive down to Yountville again.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#32 Post by Mark Golodetz » November 25th, 2018, 8:39 pm

Dale Williams wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 4:15 pm
Alan Eden wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 2:57 pm
Auction wines are a lottery, the more expensive the wine it seems the higher the risk. Ive had way more bad bottles from HDH than good.i dont blame them, it just seems to be the way it is with auction wines.
I find this an incredible post. You've had way more bad bottles than good, but you don't blame them? That's insane.
I haven't bought at HDH auction in a while- for a while I was bidding but losing, and then I think they changed re shipping to NY, and it wasn't worth finding a workaround with rarely winning. But the hundreds of bottles I bought before then were mostly good. As is the case with 80-90% of the older wines I buy at auction (probably closer to 90%)
I factor in a little risk (more with Winebid) but don't think older bottles from auction show worse than retail. If a retailer offers a guarantee (Chambers would be the gold standard, though I have not taken them up on it the few bad bottles I've had) that is worth a premium. But most retailers don't, though most would take remaining bottles back, though with older bottles I'm just usually buying singletons
But the idea that way more bottles are bad is ludicrous.
I do always factor in provenance issues into any bid.
Dale
I thought instead of beginning a troll thread, he decided to insert the troll half way, and I was going to ignore it. But I will add that my experiences at auction mirror yours.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#33 Post by Tom Reddick » November 25th, 2018, 9:12 pm

Alex, I am very sorry to read of your experience. As others have said, do please tell HDH about it. They need to know so they will be aware of the situation the next time that consignor attempts to sell wine. It is also important to tell them because their reaction to the situation will tell you a lot about whether you should do business with them in future. I anticipate they will be sincerely apologetic and take your comments proactively, but I have had situations like this with other auctions houses/brokers where their defensive and unpleasant reaction told me to never go back.

More generally, from my appraisal work, observations when I started buying wine in the mid 90s and visiting a lot of stores, and- unfortunately- at the tasting table, I came to realize many years ago that 1982-1990 Bordeaux is the most problematic general group of wines out there when it comes to heat damage in bottles sourced from the secondary markets.

I do not attribute it to importation practices but rather to retail storage conditions and the rather sluggish nature of the Bordeaux market at the time. You can throw off-vintages of DRC into this mix as well in some of the larger markets.

Prior to the late 1990s, cold rooms in retail stores were fairly rare. Additionally, Bordeaux- even in great vintages- did not sell out with anywhere near the speed it does today. When I started buying and drinking Bordeaux in 1995, all over Texas there were large retail stores that had stocks of top 82s and 86s on the shelf, as well as almost all of the first growths from 1988-1990. Many liquor stores had these wines too- not the full array, but usually there would be a few odd bottles of Lafite or Latour laying around. And all of it sitting at 70-75 degrees for the most part.

When I graduated and started my career at Arthur Andersen, I had occasion to travel frequently- and in the evenings I would often check out high end wine stores in cities all over the US. Same story as I had found back home- boatloads of top Bordeaux from 1982-1990 sitting on retail shelves. Now, the 1982s were not original release- at the time they were running about $250-300 a bottle for the firsts- but they had certainly been sitting around for at least a few years at retail, same as the 1988-1990 vintages.

As the wine markets took off, all of those wines disappeared into cellars. And since most of them had slowly cooked over time, sometimes sealed in OWCs for the few stores that could carry that much high dollar long term inventory, there were- and are- few outward signs that anything is wrong with the wines.

Remember too that many- perhaps most- people cannot spot heat damage as long as a wine is still drinkable. I was reminded of that very fact quite recently. Even on the wine boards there are many who cannot tell the difference. And so many of those bottles have been opened over time with the consumer assuming that is what aged Bordeaux tastes like. Sounds like yours were pretty far gone, but often heat damaged wines are quite drinkable and show secondary development- and so the problem persists at far greater levels than most realize.

There are a few hints that can help- though none is a perfect measure. For example, Mouton capsules of that era are a deep reddish-burgundy, but turn orange with excessive light exposure- even just sitting out in a room. So when buying Moutons from the mid 70s to late 80s, that is something to look for- if the capsules have gone a bit orange, I would not take a chance.

More generally, the safest way to buy these wines is in OWC, or bottles ex-OWC from a seller who bought them on futures or right at release. And expect to pay a serious premium for that- either at auction or from a broker.

Final thought- based on my general experiences as noted above, there are certain bottles which are on my highest risk list. This could vary a bit by market, but is reflective of what high end and slow-selling bottles were most commonly sitting around on shelves in the late 80s to mid 90s when Bordeaux sales moved at a snail's pace through retail stores that did not have ideal storage,

Petrus - 1978, 1983
Lafite - 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Mouton - 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Latour- 1982, 1986, 1988
DRC- 1987, 1992
La Conseillante- 1989, 1990
Haut-Brion- 1982, 1988
Lynch-Bages- 1982, 1986, 1988
Dom Perignon- 1982, 1985, 1988
Cheval Blanc- 1988, 1990
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#34 Post by Alex A » November 25th, 2018, 11:52 pm

Tom Reddick wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 9:12 pm
Alex, I am very sorry to read of your experience. As others have said, do please tell HDH about it. They need to know so they will be aware of the situation the next time that consignor attempts to sell wine. It is also important to tell them because their reaction to the situation will tell you a lot about whether you should do business with them in future. I anticipate they will be sincerely apologetic and take your comments proactively, but I have had situations like this with other auctions houses/brokers where their defensive and unpleasant reaction told me to never go back.

More generally, from my appraisal work, observations when I started buying wine in the mid 90s and visiting a lot of stores, and- unfortunately- at the tasting table, I came to realize many years ago that 1982-1990 Bordeaux is the most problematic general group of wines out there when it comes to heat damage in bottles sourced from the secondary markets.

I do not attribute it to importation practices but rather to retail storage conditions and the rather sluggish nature of the Bordeaux market at the time. You can throw off-vintages of DRC into this mix as well in some of the larger markets.

Prior to the late 1990s, cold rooms in retail stores were fairly rare. Additionally, Bordeaux- even in great vintages- did not sell out with anywhere near the speed it does today. When I started buying and drinking Bordeaux in 1995, all over Texas there were large retail stores that had stocks of top 82s and 86s on the shelf, as well as almost all of the first growths from 1988-1990. Many liquor stores had these wines too- not the full array, but usually there would be a few odd bottles of Lafite or Latour laying around. And all of it sitting at 70-75 degrees for the most part.

When I graduated and started my career at Arthur Andersen, I had occasion to travel frequently- and in the evenings I would often check out high end wine stores in cities all over the US. Same story as I had found back home- boatloads of top Bordeaux from 1982-1990 sitting on retail shelves. Now, the 1982s were not original release- at the time they were running about $250-300 a bottle for the firsts- but they had certainly been sitting around for at least a few years at retail, same as the 1988-1990 vintages.

As the wine markets took off, all of those wines disappeared into cellars. And since most of them had slowly cooked over time, sometimes sealed in OWCs for the few stores that could carry that much high dollar long term inventory, there were- and are- few outward signs that anything is wrong with the wines.

Remember too that many- perhaps most- people cannot spot heat damage as long as a wine is still drinkable. I was reminded of that very fact quite recently. Even on the wine boards there are many who cannot tell the difference. And so many of those bottles have been opened over time with the consumer assuming that is what aged Bordeaux tastes like. Sounds like yours were pretty far gone, but often heat damaged wines are quite drinkable and show secondary development- and so the problem persists at far greater levels than most realize.

There are a few hints that can help- though none is a perfect measure. For example, Mouton capsules of that era are a deep reddish-burgundy, but turn orange with excessive light exposure- even just sitting out in a room. So when buying Moutons from the mid 70s to late 80s, that is something to look for- if the capsules have gone a bit orange, I would not take a chance.

More generally, the safest way to buy these wines is in OWC, or bottles ex-OWC from a seller who bought them on futures or right at release. And expect to pay a serious premium for that- either at auction or from a broker.

Final thought- based on my general experiences as noted above, there are certain bottles which are on my highest risk list. This could vary a bit by market, but is reflective of what high end and slow-selling bottles were most commonly sitting around on shelves in the late 80s to mid 90s when Bordeaux sales moved at a snail's pace through retail stores that did not have ideal storage,

Petrus - 1978, 1983
Lafite - 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Mouton - 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Latour- 1982, 1986, 1988
DRC- 1987, 1992
La Conseillante- 1989, 1990
Haut-Brion- 1982, 1988
Lynch-Bages- 1982, 1986, 1988
Dom Perignon- 1982, 1985, 1988
Cheval Blanc- 1988, 1990
Tom,

thanks for the explanation. This is why I appreciate this forum, honestly, I should've asked the more
experienced people here before buying. Now I know what to watch out for and what retailers to stick to.
I'll be talking to HDH tomorrow and telling them about my experience. Hopefully they will pay better attention next time to the seller, wouldn't want others to have the same experience.

I still want to find a bottle of '82 in a good condition to try, hopefully I'll come across something in better condition.
Alex Attarian

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Victor Hong
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#35 Post by Victor Hong » November 26th, 2018, 5:26 am

Tom Reddick wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 9:12 pm
Alex, I am very sorry to read of your experience. As others have said, do please tell HDH about it. They need to know so they will be aware of the situation the next time that consignor attempts to sell wine. It is also important to tell them because their reaction to the situation will tell you a lot about whether you should do business with them in future. I anticipate they will be sincerely apologetic and take your comments proactively, but I have had situations like this with other auctions houses/brokers where their defensive and unpleasant reaction told me to never go back.

More generally, from my appraisal work, observations when I started buying wine in the mid 90s and visiting a lot of stores, and- unfortunately- at the tasting table, I came to realize many years ago that 1982-1990 Bordeaux is the most problematic general group of wines out there when it comes to heat damage in bottles sourced from the secondary markets.

I do not attribute it to importation practices but rather to retail storage conditions and the rather sluggish nature of the Bordeaux market at the time. You can throw off-vintages of DRC into this mix as well in some of the larger markets.

Prior to the late 1990s, cold rooms in retail stores were fairly rare. Additionally, Bordeaux- even in great vintages- did not sell out with anywhere near the speed it does today. When I started buying and drinking Bordeaux in 1995, all over Texas there were large retail stores that had stocks of top 82s and 86s on the shelf, as well as almost all of the first growths from 1988-1990. Many liquor stores had these wines too- not the full array, but usually there would be a few odd bottles of Lafite or Latour laying around. And all of it sitting at 70-75 degrees for the most part.

When I graduated and started my career at Arthur Andersen, I had occasion to travel frequently- and in the evenings I would often check out high end wine stores in cities all over the US. Same story as I had found back home- boatloads of top Bordeaux from 1982-1990 sitting on retail shelves. Now, the 1982s were not original release- at the time they were running about $250-300 a bottle for the firsts- but they had certainly been sitting around for at least a few years at retail, same as the 1988-1990 vintages.

As the wine markets took off, all of those wines disappeared into cellars. And since most of them had slowly cooked over time, sometimes sealed in OWCs for the few stores that could carry that much high dollar long term inventory, there were- and are- few outward signs that anything is wrong with the wines.

Remember too that many- perhaps most- people cannot spot heat damage as long as a wine is still drinkable. I was reminded of that very fact quite recently. Even on the wine boards there are many who cannot tell the difference. And so many of those bottles have been opened over time with the consumer assuming that is what aged Bordeaux tastes like. Sounds like yours were pretty far gone, but often heat damaged wines are quite drinkable and show secondary development- and so the problem persists at far greater levels than most realize.

There are a few hints that can help- though none is a perfect measure. For example, Mouton capsules of that era are a deep reddish-burgundy, but turn orange with excessive light exposure- even just sitting out in a room. So when buying Moutons from the mid 70s to late 80s, that is something to look for- if the capsules have gone a bit orange, I would not take a chance.

More generally, the safest way to buy these wines is in OWC, or bottles ex-OWC from a seller who bought them on futures or right at release. And expect to pay a serious premium for that- either at auction or from a broker.

Final thought- based on my general experiences as noted above, there are certain bottles which are on my highest risk list. This could vary a bit by market, but is reflective of what high end and slow-selling bottles were most commonly sitting around on shelves in the late 80s to mid 90s when Bordeaux sales moved at a snail's pace through retail stores that did not have ideal storage,

Petrus - 1978, 1983
Lafite - 1982, 1983, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Mouton - 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1990
Latour- 1982, 1986, 1988
DRC- 1987, 1992
La Conseillante- 1989, 1990
Haut-Brion- 1982, 1988
Lynch-Bages- 1982, 1986, 1988
Dom Perignon- 1982, 1985, 1988
Cheval Blanc- 1988, 1990
While refrigeration and shipping practices have improved, the turnover frequency for such bottles seems to have increased, as collectors bid for them and as owners recognize appreciation profits, over and over again. That would naturally increase the cumulative risk of damage events, across time. Mishandling a bottle just once is enough to undo all the improved protective efforts, before and after a turnover. For that reason, I have long ago stopped buying older-vintage Bordeaux, unless very occasionally for immediate drinking.

The same turnover-handling risk occurs for the older-vintage California reds which I do buy, but they are much, much cheaper, thereby mitigating the pain when a bottle is damaged. Moreover, the overseas transport of Bordeaux to the US is a handling risk which California reds simply do not face.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#36 Post by Alan Eden » November 26th, 2018, 9:18 am

Dale Williams wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 4:15 pm
Alan Eden wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 2:57 pm
Auction wines are a lottery, the more expensive the wine it seems the higher the risk. Ive had way more bad bottles from HDH than good.i dont blame them, it just seems to be the way it is with auction wines.
I find this an incredible post. You've had way more bad bottles than good, but you don't blame them? That's insane.
I haven't bought at HDH auction in a while- for a while I was bidding but losing, and then I think they changed re shipping to NY, and it wasn't worth finding a workaround with rarely winning. But the hundreds of bottles I bought before then were mostly good. As is the case with 80-90% of the older wines I buy at auction (probably closer to 90%)
I factor in a little risk (more with Winebid) but don't think older bottles from auction show worse than retail. If a retailer offers a guarantee (Chambers would be the gold standard, though I have not taken them up on it the few bad bottles I've had) that is worth a premium. But most retailers don't, though most would take remaining bottles back, though with older bottles I'm just usually buying singletons
But the idea that way more bottles are bad is ludicrous.
I do always factor in provenance issues into any bid.
I have had bad bottles from HDH, Winebid and Leland recently. You can this post a troll post if you like but it does not change my experiences with the bottles I purchased. I think a lot of people dump suspect bottles onto auctions where they dont have a comeback. If your buying cases from a collection then you will have a far greater success rate than the random bottles i purchased
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#37 Post by larry schaffer » November 26th, 2018, 9:43 am

I am still surprised no one commented on the wet basement descriptor and that no one mentioned the possibility of the wines being corked. I'd be surprised if all 3 were - but just interesting to me.

Cheers.
larry schaffer
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Victor Hong
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#38 Post by Victor Hong » December 7th, 2018, 7:11 am

Any update? Thank you.
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Markus S
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#39 Post by Markus S » December 7th, 2018, 7:23 am

That's too bad, but at least you got some pretty labels out of it! pileon
$ _ € ® e . k @

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#40 Post by Alex A » December 7th, 2018, 12:00 pm

Victor Hong wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:11 am
Any update? Thank you.
I got in touch with their VP of customer service, but after a few emails he stopped responding.

He basically said the seller is an old timer and they've known him. I asked if the seller was the original owner, but they wouldn't tell me. Also said the seller had stored it properly.

I did ask them how it would be possible to have 3 bottles in this condition from a reputable seller who stored it properly, but never heard back. Seems odd to me that all 3 were bad, not a single bottle was even good enough for cooking...

He did offer to take me out to dinner in Chicago, which is funny, as he knows I'm in California and the chances of me going to Chicago any time soon is zero.

I won't be buying from HDH anymore, will go back to Benchmark, at least I know they stand behind their sold items.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#41 Post by Alex A » December 7th, 2018, 12:04 pm

Markus S wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 7:23 am
That's too bad, but at least you got some pretty labels out of it! pileon
Seriously! [swearing.gif]
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#42 Post by Alex A » December 7th, 2018, 12:07 pm

larry schaffer wrote:
November 26th, 2018, 9:43 am
I am still surprised no one commented on the wet basement descriptor and that no one mentioned the possibility of the wines being corked. I'd be surprised if all 3 were - but just interesting to me.

Cheers.
Good question, Larry. They wouldn't tell me much about the history. According to them it was stored properly. I would hope at least one bottle would be in ok condition, but all 3 were just gone.
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#43 Post by Victor Hong » December 7th, 2018, 2:20 pm

Alex A wrote:
December 7th, 2018, 12:00 pm
I got in touch with their VP of customer service, but after a few emails he stopped responding.......
Maybe, that person was in charge of Disservice and Disregard.

I am so sorry. Perhaps, if you have saved the bottles and other evidence, your credit-card company may be able to raise a dispute.
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Dave McCloskey
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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#44 Post by Dave McCloskey » December 7th, 2018, 3:21 pm

What did you serve with those Cabs on Thanksgiving???

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Re: Thanksgiving dinner mishap - 1982 Mouton

#45 Post by R Greene » December 11th, 2018, 6:42 am

I'm sorry to hear about the 82 Moutons, and I'm equally sorry that HDH wasn't able to help. As a frequent buyer in auctions (including HDH), I understand that auction buyers purchase wines with no guarantees, but all of the auction houses clearly talk up every cellar to instill confidence in what is being sold.

With wines in auction, my recommendation is to stay away from lots that say 'multiple importers.' I see that your Mouton bottles were multiple importers. I feel that this improves (but does not guarantee) success if buying auction lots of wines with only one importer.
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