Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

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Howard Cooper
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Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#1 Post by Howard Cooper » May 12th, 2019, 6:13 am

I know there are exceptions = Mouton, other first growths, LLC, etc. But, my sense is that the wines, while still excellent, had more energy and excitement 5-10 years ago.

Last night, some friends and I tasted six 1982 Bordeaux - Ducru Beaucaillou, Cos D'Estournal, Vieux Chateau Certan and the three Leovilles. The wines were excellent, maybe even better, but of the four that I had drunk before (Ducru, Cos, LLC and Leoville Barton) it was only the LLC that was at (or a bit before) its peak. I very much enjoyed the six wines, but I think the Ducru, Cos and LB were better a few years ago.

We also had some excellent starters and finishers. We started with a beautiful Bernard Moreau CM Morgeots 2012. I love Moreau and this is a very nice wine, but it is not as good a wine as the 2014 of the same wine. We then moved to a wonderful Domaine Leflaive PM Clavoillon 2015. Unfortunately, I am scared to age this wine the way I would have in days gone by. But, fortunately, it tastes really delicious right now. This and the Chateau d'Yquem were my favorite wines last night.

For sweet wines at the end, we had a 2012 JJ Prum Graacher Himmelreich GCA. This wine has a lot to it, but unfortunately last night amounted to baby killing. Very shut in. I will not be drinking my other bottles of this for a while. Then, we had a 2011 Chateau d'Yquem. I tasted the 2011 at the winery in 2014, loved it then, loved it last night. This wine has the richness of a Sauternes and the acidity of Climens. Rich, complex and clean. Wonderful wine.
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D@vid R0sewater
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#2 Post by D@vid R0sewater » May 12th, 2019, 7:15 am

Recent bottles of ‘82 Calon Segur (in mag) and Lynch Bages were stellar - if they are past peak, hard to imagine how good they must have been before. However, unless you are a necrophiliac, I’d say better to drink now than wait too long. Hard to imagine either of these at least getting any better than they are now.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#3 Post by Jürgen Steinke » May 12th, 2019, 7:29 am

I think we cannot discuss this without the question of storing and bottle variation. When perfectly stored and the bottle is sound all the very good 1982 Bordeaux are not in decline IMO. I even had a 1982 Meyney recently which was very good and fully alive.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#4 Post by Mark Thompson » May 12th, 2019, 9:03 am

The vast majority of bottles I’ve had over the last couple years have been beautiful. Were they better a few years ago? I’m probably not in as good a position as others to comment as I haven’t really followed any long enough to have a longitudinal context from which to draw. I suspect the answer would be highly subjective depending on ones personal preferences around the tradeoffs of primary fruit and more secondary and tertiary elements. I certainly haven’t found a vintage I would rather drink now, though I suppose this doesn’t mean they weren’t better a few years ago. I’ve continued to stock up on the vintage as I’m interested to see where they go over the next 10-20 years, even if some might view that period as one of gradual decline. What I will say is the following:

1) The HDH tasting of roughly 25-30 examples in late 2017 showed pretty consistently strong results. Most of these were First and Second Growth (and modern day equivalents like Lynch Bages and Palmer, as well as some of the better Right Bank wines). The biggest surprise for me was the consistently of the vintage 35 years on.

2) In terms of experience with my own bottles, most of which were acquired at auction over the last couple of years, the following were generally all excellent (no particular order):

Haut Brion, Trotanoy, Canon, La Dominique, Meyney, Branaire Ducru, Ducru, Calon Segur, Certan de May, Talbot, Gruaud Larose, Lynch Bages, Beychevelle, Lanessan, Figeac, Leoville Poyferre, Pichon Baron, and Pichon Lalande (maybe my favorite).

Weaker examples have included Haut Batailley, Gloria, and Potensac. In fairness these were all single bottles and could have related at least in part to storage.

At some point I want stage a horizontal tasting - and I’m not sure I have the self discipline to wait until they turn 40.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#5 Post by Mich@el Ch@ng » May 12th, 2019, 9:21 am

If we think that the wines won’t get better, would it make sense to store them at very cold temperature (~40 or so) to keep them at peak as long as possible?

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#6 Post by Mark Thompson » May 12th, 2019, 9:33 am

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:21 am
If we think that the wines won’t get better, would it make sense to store them at very cold temperature (~40 or so) to keep them at peak as long as possible?
Funny you say that. I’ve thought about that with regard to some of my wines that most likely need to be consumed soon. I saw an interview with Louis Kapcsandy where he mentioned keeping a separate cellar at 45 for this very purpose. I haven’t done it yet, but I could probably repurpose a Sub-Zero unit in my kitchen for bottles where both the value and fragility warrant it.

I’m guessing this has been discussed in past threads - I may take a look. It would be interesting to hear from anyone who has tried this, particularly if they did it over a long period of time with control bottles from the same case stored at 55.

As it relates to most of my ‘82’s - I’m not losing sleep. I’m betting on graceful aging in most cases for at least the next several years. Also, the fact that I have a difficult time keeping my hands off of these bottles makes it less of a problem.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#7 Post by Dale Williams » May 12th, 2019, 10:02 am

I recently thought '82 Cos was showing a bit tired, but assumed just that bottle. Ducru, Poyferre, L'Evangile, VCC, and several others have all showed well with no sign of fading. I've thought Sociando, Branaire-Ducru, Meyney all better a decade ago. As mentioned though obviously storage history plays a part.
I generally like to watch evolution so never thought of trying very cold to arrest development, would rather just drink up if something was showing age, but guess if I had something in case quantity that might be a consideration.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#8 Post by Ian A » May 12th, 2019, 12:42 pm

I agree 100% with Jürgen for wines of this age, 37 years old and counting, it is mainly about provenance. Well stored bottles of Lafite, LLC, Latour and Mouton may still have more to give in my experience. Howard Ripley supplied a d-mag of Cheval Blanc 1982 for his 80th in London on Tuesday among other treasures in d-mag, and it was seamless perfection.

We are doing an informal 1982 tasting in London next month, which will include Meyney and Pichon Lalande among others. I am prepared to concede that the PLL may be past it’s very best but I would bet that perfectly stored bottles are still in the sweet spot. Ducru 1982 has been the bane of my life. So many flawed or corked bottles, but when it is on it, it is fabulous and has a long glorious future.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#9 Post by Pat Martin » May 12th, 2019, 1:51 pm

I still love where the 82s are. Past peak? Maybe ever so slightly for some, but still killer.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#10 Post by C Chen » May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm

Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#11 Post by John Morris » May 12th, 2019, 2:46 pm

Mark Thompson wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:03 am
2) In terms of experience with my own bottles, most of which were acquired at auction over the last couple of years, the following were generally all excellent (no particular order):

Haut Brion, Trotanoy, Canon, La Dominique, Meyney, Branaire Ducru, Ducru, Calon Segur, Certan de May, Talbot, Gruaud Larose, Lynch Bages, Beychevelle, Lanessan, Figeac, Leoville Poyferre, Pichon Baron, and Pichon Lalande (maybe my favorite).

Weaker examples have included Haut Batailley, Gloria, and Potensac. In fairness these were all single bottles and could have related at least in part to storage.
That's not so surprising for those three.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#12 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » May 12th, 2019, 3:04 pm

C Chen wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
I’m sure there is some of that, and some really do prefer very mature wines. I tend to like them in the zone, but do prefer them on the back-slide more than the young side. Some recent, very pretty wines in that category are 1982 Gloria, Lanessan, Meyney and Cantemerle. I also recently had some very lovely 1978 and 1983 Cantemerle.

The 1986 Meyney is perhaps my favorite QPR of all time, but IMHO, it is past-peak but still delivering nice pleasure.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#13 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » May 12th, 2019, 3:16 pm

Mich@el Ch@ng wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 9:21 am
If we think that the wines won’t get better, would it make sense to store them at very cold temperature (~40 or so) to keep them at peak as long as possible?
I wouldn't go below 45 degrees, as I'd be scared about tartaric acid precipitating out of solution if exposed to too-cold temperatures for too long. But, if you change your 40 to 45, then I'd buy into that.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#14 Post by C Chen » May 12th, 2019, 3:19 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 3:04 pm
C Chen wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
I’m sure there is some of that, and some really do prefer very mature wines. I tend to like them in the zone, but do prefer them on the back-slide more than the young side. Some recent, very pretty wines in that category are 1982 Gloria, Lanessan, Meyney and Cantemerle. I also recently had some very lovely 1978 and 1983 Cantemerle.

The 1986 Meyney is perhaps my favorite QPR of all time, but IMHO, it is past-peak but still delivering nice pleasure.
Fair and balanced assessment. Also, for the bold section, same here!
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#15 Post by C Chen » May 12th, 2019, 3:19 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 3:04 pm
C Chen wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
I’m sure there is some of that, and some really do prefer very mature wines. I tend to like them in the zone, but do prefer them on the back-slide more than the young side. Some recent, very pretty wines in that category are 1982 Gloria, Lanessan, Meyney and Cantemerle. I also recently had some very lovely 1978 and 1983 Cantemerle.

The 1986 Meyney is perhaps my favorite QPR of all time, but IMHO, it is past-peak but still delivering nice pleasure.
Fair and balanced assessment. Also, for the bold section, same here!
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#16 Post by Jayson Cohen » May 12th, 2019, 3:59 pm

C Chen wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
What immediately came to mind:

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#17 Post by J.Durham » May 12th, 2019, 4:03 pm

I have VCC and Canon set for my 40th later this year. I certainly hope that aren’t (much) past peak!
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#18 Post by Mark Thompson » May 12th, 2019, 4:13 pm

J.Durham wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 4:03 pm
I have VCC and Canon set for my 40th later this year. I certainly hope that aren’t (much) past peak!
The Canon’s are awesome. Haven’t had the VCC.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#19 Post by Mark Thompson » May 12th, 2019, 4:17 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 3:04 pm
C Chen wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 2:06 pm
Makes you wonder about wines that are far, far older and people almost unanimously praise them. Glorified age play?
I’m sure there is some of that, and some really do prefer very mature wines. I tend to like them in the zone, but do prefer them on the back-slide more than the young side. Some recent, very pretty wines in that category are 1982 Gloria, Lanessan, Meyney and Cantemerle. I also recently had some very lovely 1978 and 1983 Cantemerle.

The 1986 Meyney is perhaps my favorite QPR of all time, but IMHO, it is past-peak but still delivering nice pleasure.
Of the three I mentioned earlier as not very good, the Gloria seemed most likely to have been storage issue; the Haut Batailley and Potensac were just faded a fair amount. Also Giscours (I left out)out of 375 was decent but not great. The format might have been part of the issue.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#20 Post by Rory K. » May 12th, 2019, 5:05 pm

A single data point as I don't play in this sandbox often, but the 82 Ch. Margaux I opened 2 years ago was mostly gone, a whiff of magical something for a few seconds then fell apart (it was bought on release and stored in one place)
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#21 Post by J.Vizuete » May 12th, 2019, 9:17 pm

Mark Thompson wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 4:13 pm
J.Durham wrote:
May 12th, 2019, 4:03 pm
I have VCC and Canon set for my 40th later this year. I certainly hope that aren’t (much) past peak!
The Canon’s are awesome. Haven’t had the VCC.
I also had an 82 Canon recently which was singing. You’re in for a treat!
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#22 Post by LarryA » May 12th, 2019, 9:40 pm

A recent L'Evangile and La Dominque were both excellent. Not a huge experience with '82s, but what I've had has been excellent. Occasionally a bottle that might have been drunk sooner.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#23 Post by Eric Egan » May 13th, 2019, 10:32 am

Excellent question. I do wonder if not many of them have been on their way down for a while now, though it's a slow decline so wouldn't feel any stress to drink them immediately. In comparison, I think there are a lot of '85s, 86s, and 88s that are still on their way up. In 20 or 30 years' time, we may have more luck with the latter vintages. Not that the '82s will be completely gone by then but I do suspect that they (with some exceptions of course) have a different type of maturation curve, meaning they may be less suited for the very-long haul.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#24 Post by Howard Cooper » May 13th, 2019, 11:06 am

Eric Egan wrote:
May 13th, 2019, 10:32 am
Excellent question. I do wonder if not many of them have been on their way down for a while now, though it's a slow decline so wouldn't feel any stress to drink them immediately. In comparison, I think there are a lot of '85s, 86s, and 88s that are still on their way up. In 20 or 30 years' time, we may not have more luck with the latter vintages. Not that the '82s will be completely gone by then but I do suspect that they (with some exceptions of course) have a different type of maturation curve, meaning they may be less suited for the very-long haul.
This is my thinking as well. If you drink a 1982 right now and have not had it before, you will love it and think it is excellent. But, with some, and not all, of the wines, if you had it 5 years ago you might remember as I do that the wine was more vibrant then.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#25 Post by Karl K » May 13th, 2019, 6:51 pm

What Eric and Howard say is more or less my take on a recent 82 La Dominique.
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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#26 Post by David Glasser » May 13th, 2019, 9:47 pm

I’ve dunk my 1982s and only come across them occasionally.I would agree that they’re less vibrant than 5 years ago, but not tired or less complex. I’ve wondered if this is a storage effect as recent bottles were purchased on the secondary market. Though at 37 it makes sense that they may have started down the gradual slope of the far side of the hill.

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Re: Are 1982 Bordeaux past peak?

#27 Post by Gerhard P. » May 14th, 2019, 1:24 am

IMHO most 1982 Bx are on their plateau of maturity - and it´s a very broad plateau, usually no hurry for the next years.
A few one can even still improve for another 2-5 years ... although the bottle of LLas Cases I had 2 weeks ago was the closest to full maturity I ever had ... and it came from my very cool cellar.

Of course it depends on ones idea of perfect maturity but a few wines might have been better a few years ago - and I agree that Cos d´E is among them ... last time I had it it was leaner than a few years ago, acidity more prominent, fruit slightly less sweet ... also Haut-Batailley ... Branaire-Ducru and Gloria ...
and the AOC Margaux is not the best in 1982 (1983 is usually better), so no surprise that Brane-Cantenac recently was not really singing ... Lascombes was never a really great effort ...

Some of the less famous wines are slightly over apogee - that doesn´t mean they are not giving still a lot of pleasure, but they were better a few years ago - Potensac for instance, Lanessan, Phelan-Segur ... also L´Enclos, La Gaffeliere, La Louviere, Lagrange/Pom ...
and Malartic-Lagraviere was definitely going downhill ...

Of course it very much depends also on storage over the last 35 years ... I´m writing here of fine storage, not shipping/storing issues ...
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