‘82 First Growths - Air Time?

Attending a dinner party this weekend where the host is celebrating his 40th and is graciously providing all five 1982 First Growths as part of the wine lineup.

He and I spoke today and the bottles have been standing upright for the better part of a week, but we got into a mini debate on the need for decanting/air time before the dinner.

For those that have had the ‘82 FGs of late, how much air do you think they need? And also curious to hear impressions on which of the lineup is showing best right now.

I’ve had the Cheval Blanc and Latour recently. I decanted within an hour of serving. I wouldn’t give them much air time. You’ll be savoring them over several hours anyways and it is interesting to see how they develop once opened.

Hmm. Seems he’s a year early?

We have a load of 82s on tap for my wife and my 40ths next year.

‘81s aren’t great so he decided to do the ‘82 lineup instead (not complaining)

Don’t decant at all. 15 minutes air time is fine. Best 82 FG for me recently was actually Lafite, with Haut Brion close behind. 82 Mouton is a wash, so don’t expect much from it.

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I did decant because my bottles threw a lot of sediment. But I agree, little air time. But don’t tell me that about the '82 Mouton! I’ve been saving that bottle for a long time to have soon.

Decant for sediment for sure or the last 2 inches in the bottle will be quite sandy.

The day you celebrate your first birthday you have completed your first year of life and are into your second year. Your friend is into his 40th year and 82s are therefore appropriate.

+1 on the Cheval and Latour decanting reco, perhaps a bit longer IMO.

Got Durand?

Should also mention that one of the others in attendance is bringing an '82 Cheval Blanc, so while not technically one of the FGs, it will be represented and I’m quite happy about that

We will be celebrating at a restaurant that is well-versed in fancy wine dinners, so my guess is they will have it covered. Will confirm - good suggestion


Through some dumb luck I’ve had the 82 Mouton twice in the last two months. The first time the bottle was decanted and poured immediately. It was pretty closed at the start and absolutely singing after an hour. The second time it was decanted for about a hour before serving. It was not nearly as strong a bottle. But again it significantly improved after an hour in the glass.

Well, just checked Cellartracker and last 5 82 Mouton scores were all 100s, so maybe its gonna be ok?

Oops on the Cheval, duh.
Good to know it will be there, it should be.

82 Mouton, a wash? We all have our own taste. I tasted it in June and last December and I found the wine to be show-stopping ! The bottle on June was blind.

FWIW, I continually find Lafite to be the weakest and least interesting of all the 82s, though it’s a good wine. It’s less compelling than the others.

You can find multiple notes here Learn about Chateau Lafite Rothschild Pauillac, Complete Guide

David… There is no one size fits all for decanting, as it depends on the provenance for each bottle, and how well each bottle developed.

You can read recent tasting notes on all 5 First Growths on my site if you like.

Latour and Mouton are the deepest and most tannic of the 5, but decanting varies there as well as at this age, each bottle is unique.

You can either treat all the wines equally and not decant, or decant Latour and Mouton 1-2 hours at the most, after tasting to see how they are showing. Splash decanting, or 30 minutes is more than ample for the others.

That’s a very cool night of wine, enjoy. I think we will put that together next year.

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We had the dinner last night. I wasn’t in the mood to take formal notes, but here is my ranking of the five FGs + the surprise additional Cheval Blanc.

The FGs were all opened and allowed to breathe for approximately one hour (not decanted). The CB was pop n pour

  1. Margaux - good, not that exciting
  2. Lafite - huge letdown considering pedigree and price. I think it still needs another 10-15 years to really open up, and could probably go another 50+
  3. Haut Brion - I liked this better than some others in the group; likely because my palate favors leather y/cedary notes of which this had plenty
    2a) Latour - typical mature Pauillac and would be my WOTN in any other lineup.
    2b) Cheval Blanc - this wasn’t tasted alongside the other 5 (poured beforehand) but I am a sucker for right bankers, especially CB, so I had to put in on the list. Because it was PnP’d there was initial concern that the bottle (ex-Chateau) was off, but it just needed 15min to blow off the funk and engage and once it opened up, it was killer
  4. Mouton - Wowzerz. This wine was clearly the WOTN for me (I’d bet the rest of our group would agree). Perhaps there has been some bottle variation given the mixed bag of comments in this thread about it underdelivering, but we must’ve hit the jackpot with this particular bottle. I get why it’s been scored 100 and probably the best red French wine I’ve ever tasted. Spectacular

We were fortunate to drink many other phenomenal bottles last night too. No notes, but here’s the rest of the lineup:
MV Krug Rose
2010 Lafon Meursault Clos de La Barre
2017 Jadot Corton-Charlemagne
1982 Shafer cab
1967 Rinaldi Barolo (didn’t catch the full story on this bottle but supposedly a late release and it may have been the most youthful 50+ year old wine I’ve ever had. Tasted blind, you would’ve guessed 10-15 years old; so bright and full of red fruit)
2017 Next of Kyn Touriga Nacional Numero Um
1981 Quinta Do Noval Colheita porto

Thanks for the notes. Excited for my lineup next year.

I’m pretty sure there was only one person with a negative review. Everyone else was all in with similar sentiment to yours.

The '82’s? P&P and don’t even think about it.

This is a timely question.

Tonight is a lower tier wine than a first growth, we are going to open an '82 Lynch Bages and pair it with ransacking the fridge for leftovers.

It will be paired with a mild Indian style rice/potato/chicken/paneer dish we made in the manner of Veg Kolhapuri/Veg Kadhai style, only without the heat. It would rank a 1/2 - 1 hotness score. Also some saffron rice and cheeses.

Anyway, when we open mature wines, there is a certain impression you can get from a solid whiff and very small taste that will tell you whether to immediately start the party, or give it a little time. Many times, we will start right away and use a bigger stem and let gentle swirling be our aeration. We are slow drinkers, so that gives a good 2 hour evolution. If a wine seems tightly wound right off, we will decant and wait about 45 minutes before we start the party, so to speak.

All this being said, no guests, so the time we waste is only our own!

For serving guests and a more formal meal time-clock, I’d say open about 20 minutes before starting to serve and decide how vigorous a decant you want based on that first impression.