Anything good from '81?

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joeduncan
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Anything good from '81?

#1 Post by joeduncan » February 24th, 2020, 9:54 am

Looking for some birth year wines. Unfortunately '81 seems to be a broadly bad year across most regions. Any suggestions?

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#2 Post by Mark Y » February 24th, 2020, 9:57 am

81 Rioja gran reserva I’ve heard is good (have one but haven’t tried).

81 bdx, especially first growth have been solid (but probably not worth the cost).

Looking for info too. Wife’s BY
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#3 Post by amjohnstone » February 24th, 2020, 9:57 am

Krug. But it's really difficult to find.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#4 Post by Mark E. » February 24th, 2020, 9:57 am

'81 Rioja is great.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#5 Post by R@y.Tupp@+sch » February 24th, 2020, 10:01 am

I haven't had it in a few years, but '81 Vega Sicilia has been very good. And as others have mentioned a number of Rioja's.

Best Champagnes are Krug Collection, especially from magnum, Cristal and Taittinger CdC.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#6 Post by Jayson Cohen » February 24th, 2020, 10:04 am

It’s a great Rioja vintage in red and white.

And there are many good red Bordeaux for relatively reasonable prices still in comparison to other vintages. I particularly like ‘81 Graves.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#7 Post by Matt Latuchie » February 24th, 2020, 10:06 am

It's my birth year, too. Some highlights (these aren't listed in any particular order):

1. Beaucastel
2. Unico
3. Krug
4. Gruaud Larose
5. La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
6. Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Rouge
7. Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve
8. Château Palmer
9. Château La Mission Haut-Brion
10. Chateau Musar
11. Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
12. JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
13. Château Montrose
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#8 Post by Charlie Carnes » February 24th, 2020, 10:47 am

From memory: Clos du Papes, Beaucastel, La Mouline, La Tache, La Mission
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#9 Post by Craig G » February 24th, 2020, 10:52 am

La Conseillante, Gruaud Larose, Haut Bailly, both Pichons. I’ve enjoyed all of these in the past two years.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#10 Post by MBerto » February 24th, 2020, 10:54 am

When I turned 30, the 81 Dunn Howell Mountain was starting to open up. A couple years ago an 81 Jordan was pretty much gone. Currently sitting on an 81 Clos du Val Cab and Montrose.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#11 Post by Mike Cohen » February 24th, 2020, 10:57 am

81 Beaucastel if it's still around. It was spectacular. Haven't had it in ten years or so.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#12 Post by Claus Jeppesen » February 24th, 2020, 11:00 am

Matt Latuchie wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 10:06 am
It's my birth year, too. Some highlights (these aren't listed in any particular order):

1. Beaucastel
2. Unico
3. Krug
4. Gruaud Larose
5. La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
6. Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Rouge
7. Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve
8. Château Palmer
9. Château La Mission Haut-Brion
10. Chateau Musar
11. Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
12. JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
13. Château Montrose
We had the 1981 Montrose recently and it was very good
Not as good as 1979 Figeac though
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#13 Post by Billy Norris » February 24th, 2020, 11:49 am

Esoteric and difficult to find, but recently had an '81 Mayacamas Pinot at Bern's that was absolutely mind-boggling. Worth snatching up if you find it.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#14 Post by Ramon C » February 24th, 2020, 11:57 am

Rioja already mentioned multiple times. I’ll still chime in with LdH GRs, both Bosconia and Tondonia. I’ve had a few times and drinking very well.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#15 Post by roybehr » February 24th, 2020, 12:00 pm

I had a really good 81 Dom Ruinart a couple of years ago. It had aged beautifully.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#16 Post by joeduncan » February 24th, 2020, 12:06 pm

Thanks all for the quick and thorough advice!

Rioja sounds like a great idea, so I'll definitely search for those. Beaucastel and some of the Bordeauxs sound like good ideas too. I'll start searching.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#17 Post by George Chadwick » February 24th, 2020, 12:40 pm

Ramon C wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 11:57 am
Rioja already mentioned multiple times. I’ll still chime in with LdH GRs, both Bosconia and Tondonia. I’ve had a few times and drinking very well.
Just had the Bosconia. Took two hours to show its complexity then wow.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#18 Post by William Kelley » February 24th, 2020, 12:56 pm

In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, I'd argue that 1981 is the best vintage of the decade, along with 1989. Beaucastel is brilliant, but so are many other wines, and properly conserved bottles are still very much in their prime.

The 1981 Krug is probably the wine-of-the-vintage in Champagne.

Burgundy is quite tricky, honestly.

But Bordeaux is underrated - what was shaping up to be a very nice vintage, diluted a little by rain just before harvest. I love La Conseillante and La Mission especially, but there are plenty of very nice wines that have aged with grace.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#19 Post by Mark Thompson » February 24th, 2020, 4:23 pm

Another vote for La Conseillante. I’ve been on a bit of an ‘81 Bordeaux kick lately and that has probably been my favorite thus far. Ducru also pretty solid, as are the Cordier wines. Branaire Ducru started out ok (88?) but actually put on a bit of weight with air. The Mouton can be really good as well, but less of an outperformer given reputation and price.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#20 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 24th, 2020, 4:26 pm

Montrose and Ducru Beaucaillou have been delicious recently
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#21 Post by M Mager » February 24th, 2020, 4:56 pm

George Chadwick wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 12:40 pm
Ramon C wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 11:57 am
Rioja already mentioned multiple times. I’ll still chime in with LdH GRs, both Bosconia and Tondonia. I’ve had a few times and drinking very well.
Just had the Bosconia. Took two hours to show its complexity then wow.
+1. To-date, the '81 is my all-time favorite vintage of Bosconia. Stunning wine - and, as you noted, still needs time to show it's best stuff. This wine will easily outlive me.

For Tondonia red, have to go with the '64, and for white the '70.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#22 Post by Joel Deutsch » February 24th, 2020, 5:29 pm

Ridge Montebello, La Conseillante, and Beaucastel are all really good.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#23 Post by maureen nelson » February 24th, 2020, 5:37 pm

Penfold Grange (then called Grange Hermitage) is quite good in 1981.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#24 Post by Mel Knox » February 24th, 2020, 5:39 pm

In 1981 I was visiting Domaine de la Pousse d Or maybe mid September...Things were looking good and then it started to rain. Gerard Potel said it was nothing to worry about but it was. Somehow Bordeaux, Beaujolais and the Rhone escaped the rain. Las Cases is very good. At the time 82 overshadowed the 81s.

The California Cabernet idea is a good one, but who has stock??
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#25 Post by Ian S » February 24th, 2020, 5:48 pm

'81 wasn't as memorable as the run the Loire had from '85 to '90, but still a better than average year for Chenin Blanc. Best part is you can find bottles of Moulin Touchais or other producers relatively easily and they'll be utterly drinkable.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#26 Post by Hal Blumberg » February 24th, 2020, 6:03 pm

1981 was a truly special vintage on Rioja. As mentioned above, Lopez de Heredia Tosconia and Bosconia are terrific. I'd also include the Prado Enea.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#27 Post by Jeremy Holmes » February 24th, 2020, 6:14 pm

Krug collection from Magnum is superb. 1981 Château Coutet Cuvée Madame is really good. Comte de Vogue Musigny is also excellent.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#28 Post by Jayson Cohen » February 24th, 2020, 6:56 pm

Hal Blumberg wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 6:03 pm
1981 was a truly special vintage on Rioja. As mentioned above, Lopez de Heredia Tosconia and Bosconia are terrific. I'd also include the Prado Enea.

Cheers,

Hal
Also maybe the last great Viña Real Gran Reserva. (We’ll see.)

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#29 Post by joeduncan » February 24th, 2020, 7:11 pm

On the LDH front, do only the Gran Reservas last this long? Or are all excellent?

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#30 Post by François Audouze » February 24th, 2020, 7:21 pm

Krug is fantastic.
One wine which has not been mentioned is Haut-Brion 1981 which is very great.
And if you can think of it, Romanée Conti 1981 is a magnificent wine that I drank two times (the other 1981 DRC drunk 9 times were great too).

To be sure, go to Vega Sicilia Unico, and Châteauneuf du Pape.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#31 Post by Jayson Cohen » February 24th, 2020, 7:27 pm

François Audouze wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:21 pm
Krug is fantastic.
One wine which has not been mentioned is Haut-Brion 1981 which is very great.
And if you can think of it, Romanée Conti 1981 is a magnificent wine that I drank two times (the other 1981 DRC drunk 9 times were great too).

To be sure, go to Vega Sicilia Unico, and Châteauneuf du Pape.
I mentioned Graves. :) Haut Brion was the best wine at a 1981 Bordeaux dinner a few years ago.

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#32 Post by Brian Tuite » February 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm

Nah, worst vintage of the century. ;-)
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#33 Post by John Morris » February 24th, 2020, 7:41 pm

I was served an 81 CUNE Vina Real *crianza* last week. It was one of the greatest Riojas I’ve ever had. Evidently they sometimes put crianza labels on even gran reservas in those days if they couldn’t move the top wines. I suspect that was the story here, as the wine had great depth and was utterly fresh.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#34 Post by joeduncan » February 24th, 2020, 8:40 pm

Brian Tuite wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm
Nah, worst vintage of the century. ;-)
Clearly I've been (very happily) schooled! Good news :)

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#35 Post by J.Vizuete » February 24th, 2020, 9:01 pm

Claus Jeppesen wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 11:00 am
Matt Latuchie wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 10:06 am
It's my birth year, too. Some highlights (these aren't listed in any particular order):

1. Beaucastel
2. Unico
3. Krug
4. Gruaud Larose
5. La Rioja Alta Rioja Gran Reserva 904
6. Jean Bourdy Côtes du Jura Rouge
7. Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve
8. Château Palmer
9. Château La Mission Haut-Brion
10. Chateau Musar
11. Louis Roederer Champagne Cristal Brut
12. JJ Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
13. Château Montrose
We had the 1981 Montrose recently and it was very good
Not as good as 1979 Figeac though
I’ve also had an 81 Montrose in the last year and thought it had held up impressively well given the vintage. Not a life changing wine, but quite classic, very good for the price and relative to expectations.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#36 Post by Rainer Guntermann » February 25th, 2020, 4:05 am

A bottle of Leoville Las Cases last Saturday was very, very good. Solid mature Bordeaux, not the epitome of elegance but a very good food wine. Needed even some time in the glass to open up.
Vega Sicilia Unico is splendid, Chateau Margaux from well stored bottles is beautiful.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#37 Post by Gerhard P. » February 25th, 2020, 5:09 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm
Nah, worst vintage of the century. ;-)
A reply that only proofs the lacking knowledge of the writer ... (despite the joke ...)

HERE:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=162309&p=2774602&hi ... 1#p2774602
was another thread on 1981

I did write:
>Chateauneuf-du-Pape ... no doubt. Definitely the most successful region, almost no bad wines made in 1981 - and should also be not too expensive, except the stars like Rayas, Pegau(better than...), Beaucastel, Bonneau...
Yesterday I had an outstanding Fortia, btw...<

Also Rioja and Champagne are fine ... and for Bordeaux several good suggestions are mentioned above, like Pichon Lalande, Lafite, Margaux (not Mouton!, Latour is good, not great), Haut-Brion and LMHB, Las Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Montrose, Gruaud-Larose, Palmer, on the lower level Poujeaux was very good ... and some excellent Sauternes ...

In Burgundy it´s difficult ... I´ve had a few excellent bottles, but it will be very hard to find exactly these specific ones ...
d´Angerville Champans, Maison Leroy Pommard 1er Cru, Charmes-Chambertin (negociant, name forgotten), a very good Hospice de Beaune Les Didiers (bottler forgotten), Richebourg Jean Gros (but that was 20 years ago) ...

If I would like to find a good bottle of 1981 I would stick first to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, then to one of the Bordeaux mentioned above and/or Rioja (incl. Vega Sicilia) ... 1981 was also not bad in German and Austrian sweet Riesling ...
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#38 Post by Kirk.Grant » February 25th, 2020, 5:14 am

I would strongly encourage you to pick up a 1981 Musar (so long as Broadbent imported it) but there are other great wines to be had out there. I stumbled onto this wine that a friend was given from the cellar from someone in the family and was really wowed by it late last year.
  • 1981 LaCour Pavillon - France, Bordeaux (11/10/2019)
    This is F-ing ridiculous!! A deep golden yellow in the Zalto Universal. This leads with butterscotch, chamomile tea, and honey comb on the nose. Open close to 90 minutes now and this just keeps getting better. There is no perceptible acidity, but it is just plain lovely. The Semillon seams to be screaming out. There’s a lemony richness in the mid palate that just explodes and unloads enough tropical fruits to justify a fruit salad. Outstanding!!!!
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#39 Post by Brian Tuite » February 25th, 2020, 5:18 am

Gerhard P. wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 5:09 am
Brian Tuite wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm
Nah, worst vintage of the century. ;-)
A reply that only proofs the lacking knowledge of the writer ... (despite the joke ...)

HERE:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=162309&p=2774602&hi ... 1#p2774602
was another thread on 1981

I did write:
>Chateauneuf-du-Pape ... no doubt. Definitely the most successful region, almost no bad wines made in 1981 - and should also be not too expensive, except the stars like Rayas, Pegau(better than...), Beaucastel, Bonneau...
Yesterday I had an outstanding Fortia, btw...<

Also Rioja and Champagne are fine ... and for Bordeaux several good suggestions are mentioned above, like Pichon Lalande, Lafite, Margaux (not Mouton!, Latour is good, not great), Haut-Brion and LMHB, Las Cases, Ducru-Beaucaillou, Montrose, Gruaud-Larose, Palmer, on the lower level Poujeaux was very good ... and some excellent Sauternes ...

In Burgundy it´s difficult ... I´ve had a few excellent bottles, but it will be very hard to find exactly these specific ones ...
d´Angerville Champans, Maison Leroy Pommard 1er Cru, Charmes-Chambertin (negociant, name forgotten), a very good Hospice de Beaune Les Didiers (bottler forgotten), Richebourg Jean Gros (but that was 20 years ago) ...

If I would like to find a good bottle of 1981 I would stick first to Chateauneuf-du-Pape, then to one of the Bordeaux mentioned above and/or Rioja (incl. Vega Sicilia) ... 1981 was also not bad in German and Austrian sweet Riesling ...
You know what, you’re correct. ‘61 was way worse. [stirthepothal.gif]
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#40 Post by Neal.Mollen » February 25th, 2020, 6:33 am

Brian Tuite wrote:
February 24th, 2020, 7:35 pm
Nah, worst vintage of the century. ;-)
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#41 Post by John Morris » February 25th, 2020, 6:36 am

Has anyone had the Gruaud Larose in recent years? That was a stand-out in the vintage, but I haven't had one in 15+ years.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#42 Post by Tom Mann » February 25th, 2020, 6:43 am

Another vote for Krug in 81
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#43 Post by Doug Schulman » February 25th, 2020, 10:00 am

Kirk.Grant wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 5:14 am
I would strongly encourage you to pick up a 1981 Musar (so long as Broadbent imported it)
And I strongly agree. [cheers.gif]

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#44 Post by Tim Heaton » February 25th, 2020, 10:14 am

not sure if it has been said yet, but can be a good year for dry/riserva Marsala
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#45 Post by Laurent Gibet » February 25th, 2020, 10:25 am

Madeira Barbeito Verdelho Frasqueira 1981 … a great fortified wine …

Top of the top :
Clos Ste-Hune 1981
Krug Collection magnum 1981
(drunk at Veyrat's)
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#46 Post by Gerhard P. » February 25th, 2020, 12:45 pm

John Morris wrote:
February 25th, 2020, 6:36 am
Has anyone had the Gruaud Larose in recent years? That was a stand-out in the vintage, but I haven't had one in 15+ years.
Six years ago, still excellent, but the fill was outstanding - into neck.

Btw - Musar 81 is really very good, although it wasn' t a memorable bottle ... at least for me.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#47 Post by joeduncan » February 25th, 2020, 1:46 pm

Thanks all for the excellent responses so far, I'm continuing to follow them and take notes!

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Re: Anything good from '81?

#48 Post by Peter Foster » February 25th, 2020, 7:08 pm

One of the most memorable wines that I ever tasted ............................... 1981 Torres Black Label (now called Mas la Plana). 100% cabernet since the 1978 vintage
I worked my way through a case.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#49 Post by Craig G » March 25th, 2020, 7:34 pm

I just bought a couple more bottles of Gruaud Larose in a K&L auction, about $80 each including premium. I like the 1979 a bit more but the 81 is a really good wine.
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Re: Anything good from '81?

#50 Post by jordan jacobs » March 25th, 2020, 8:01 pm

In terms of Bordeaux, I had a 1981 Haut Brion that was absolutely spectacular. Given it was 15 years ago and I paid $90 for it. I am a hard no at today’s prices. But anything of quality from Graves, is probably drinking nicely.

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