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

Based on exactly what was in the bottle with no adjustments for technology, yields or ripeness.

Any answer other than the 5th vintage of the century in 9 years is clearly wrong :smiley:

Man, that’s a fine question. My first vintage to taste on release was 1994. So I can’t even offer a guess.

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 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.


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.

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.

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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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.

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. Marvelous tasting of Leoville las Cases last night - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

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.

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.


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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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?

Should the youngsters do that with 2016?

Not at current prices.

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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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.

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?

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,

‘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.