TN: 1982 Bordeaux 40th Anniversary Retrospective


Our tasting group gathered at The Fig Tree Restaurant in Charlotte to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of one of the greatest vintage in Bordeaux history. The lineup of eight wines were selected by each participant and ordered by myself. Wine of the Night was Margaux followed by a virtual tie between Leoville Barton and Cos d’Estournel. An important take away on the evening is that provenance is everything at this age for wine. Our decant/aerate times were based on the best guesses from the most recent 5 - 10 CellarTracker notes on the wines. Each of our wines improved as the night went on (and no, that was not the wine influence) with some wines dramatically improving. All-in-all it was a fantastic showing for this incredible vintage which according to our tasting has many more years of life still in (well provenanced) bottles.

Libournais, Pomerol

  • 1982 Château Le Bon Pasteur - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Slo-ox 1 hour; Pleasant bouquet of violets and cherries; light body with earthy red fruits (cherries and raspberries); notes of earl grey tea and a hint of tomato leaf. An feminine Pomerol that shut down for a time about 2 hours after opening but then returned to excellent form about an hour later. A delightful, elegant and easy drinking Right Bank Bordeaux. Excellent start to the evening
  • 1982 Château Certan de May - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol
    Slo-ox 15 min. Nose evolved rapidly (changed every 5 min) – rustic, dried red cherries earthy with hints of dark fruits later. Delicious balance and soft mouthfeel. Medium weight with slight thinning on the edges. Gentle, elegant, and lengthy finish. A masculine Pomerol to bookend the Le Bon Pasteur. Went from a fine wine during the first pour before evolving into a stellar wine (garnering multiple Top 3 votes for WOTN) after a couple more hours of air.

Médoc, St. Estèphe

  • 1982 Château Calon-Ségur - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Slo-ox 2 hours. Fulsome bouquet, rustic red notes and hints of spice. Medium-body, elegant red fruits – rustic red raspberries. Quite enjoyable medium-length finish. A well-crafted wine drinking wonderfully. A perfect progression from the Pomerols.
  • 1982 Château Cos d’Estournel - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Slo-ox 45 min. Dark garnet color giving the appearance of a far younger wine with heft. Classic Bordeaux bouquet: cigar box, rustic raspberries, graphite and cedar. Full-bodied. On the palate ripe blackberry, bramble, and gentle tobacco. Resolved tannins gave this a luscious mouthfeel. This was a big wine full-of-life and drinking marvelously. Drank like a 1996 Cos right in its drinking window. Felt like it could go for hours which was a contrast to some of the prior CT notes but this wine was singing early, middle, and late into the evening. Bravo!

Médoc, Margaux and St. Julien

  • 1982 Château Margaux - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Double decant 2:20 hours. Had the color of a 2018 Class-Growth Bordeaux release. Rich, intense nose of dark red fruits and light caramel. Fulsome on mouthfeel with a richness of a brilliant wine just entering its drinking window – rustic raspberries, cedar, and light soil.
    This was purchased on futures nearly 40 years ago and stored professionally since … and everything about it lived up to the reputation and reputed provenance. A powerful wine with a wall of flavor that can last decades longer. To the professionals who scored this 100 pts, I get it.
  • 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Double decant 2:25 hours. Color of a 2016 Class-Growth Bordeaux release. Lighter on the nose and palate vs Margaux (Would have been better ordered prior to the Margaux). Nose of light cigar box, barnyard, and cassis. Delicious and full-body. Great complexity dancing between red fruits, blackberry and cedar. Delightfully long finish. A truly great wine. Would have tied for 3rd in my WOTN voting but ties are not allowed.

Médoc, St. Julien

  • 1982 Château Léoville Barton - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Opened 2.5 hours in advance; recorked immediately. Popped at restaurant 2 hours before serving. Fulsome nose: cigar box, earthy red cherries, purple violets, and reddish-timber. Full-bodied wine with incredible life. Resolved tannins let this wine sing with intense red fruits and gentle tobacco while also displaying finesse to reveal darker blackberry and bramble notes. Excellent length on the finish made this a joy of a wine so late in the evening.
  • 1982 Château Beychevelle - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Opened 2.5 hours in advance; recorked immediately. Popped at restaurant 2 hours before serving. The only potentially “off-bottle” or was it? Without a doubt the most confused bottle of the night. Awful nose of gentle, unpleasant manure. A disjointed wine whose parts were all there but not clicking properly and singing off-key. Many people tried various techniques to aerate the wine for 30+ more minutes (vigorous swirling, pouring in-and-out of glasses multiple times) and you know what, it pretty-much worked. The awfulness blew off the nose to a restrained but more pedestrian nose of earthy red fruits. The wine settled into a pleasant drinker – medium-body, soft leather, raspberries and cassis. At this point the only problems for the wine were the “tyranny of the first performance” and juxtaposition with a phenomenal night of wines. When reviewing the wide disparity of experiences with this wine on cellartracker my amateur explanation is possibly bottle variation?

We voted two different times for Top 3 wines: after the first pass of 2-3 ounce pours and then upon revisiting the remaining wines after more hours had passed during the dinner. The first voting was mostly a jockeying between three wines: Margaux, Cos d’Estournel, and Leoville Barton. Everyone had the Margaux in their top 3 (with four 1st place votes). 7 of the 8 participants had the Cos d’Estournel in their top 3 (with one 1st place vote). And 6 of the 8 participants had the Leoville Barton in their top 3 (with 3 1st place votes). Others garnering votes were the Ducru Beaucaillou (one 2nd place vote) and the Certan de May (two 3rd place votes). Upon voting again approximately 90 minutes later the Ducru Beaucaillou was by far the most noteworthy mover now garnering votes from five participants for top 3 including one 1st place vote. One person (a Level 2 WSET designate) put the Beychevelle in his top 3. Many commented also on how much the Certan de May continued to improve from its already lofty beginning. No wines “fell off” over the four hours.
Posted from CellarTracker


Great notes. We hope to do a 1982 retrospective in my wine tasting group this summer. Three couples in our group (including my wife and I) were married in 1982 (I think mostly in the spring or summer - we were married on May 31) so we are thinking this will be a wonderful tasting. Your notes have me real excited about doing this.

I still have six ‘82s left from when I purchased them. Opened two last year, one flawed la lagune and one just OK Branaire. Saving the Mouton for last! Nice theme and tasting notes.

Wow, amazing night! And fantastic notes.

We did an 82 retrospective in 2012 with a lot of the same wines and the Chateau Margaux ran away with it as well.


Beautifully designed tasting! Was the initial pour 2 OZ, and the second, 1 OZ?

What was the approximate decant time for each wine?

What was the menu?

Another vote for the greatest vintage of the 20th Century!

Hope to do a 1982 tasting with various selections this summer in Colorado!!!


Many 1982s are still so in their wonderful zone. I’ve had a nice representative sampling of them over the last 18 months, most are just flat out gorgeous. The only dud, and likely more about the bottle, was Meyney. Haut Brion and Magdelaine are in that 98-100 point zone. Was at a dinner with a few friends in October with LLC, Mouton and La Miss, and my taste buds were totally off, was a major bummer!

I just got a bottle of 1982 Ch. Talbot to drink sometime this year.

Sounds like an amazing tasting, thanks for the detailed notes!

One thing that’s interesting about your descriptions – you use the word fulsome in three different notes… It’s a word that I rarely heard used in the past, but I’ve had multiple colleagues start using it to mean “complete” or “thorough” in the past year or so.

The word traditionally has a negative connotation - has the top 3 definitions being negative:

  1. offensive to good taste, especially as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor.
  2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods.
  3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration.
  4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America.
  5. abundant or copious.

Is this a word that you recently started using this way, or did you pick it up from hearing other people use it? I’m genuinely curious. Cheers!

I really enjoyed reading all this :slight_smile:. Thank you so much for sharing.

As an '82 Vintage, myself, and trying desperately to keep my fruit profile, shall we say, lively and fresh (while maintaining some minimal aroma of sophistication)… These wonderful evenings help add perspective!

Great notes! I’m looking forward to doing one this year. Did it at 20 years and 30 years and they were great dinners.

This used to be a pet peeve of mine, but since most instances of “fulsome” I run across these days are intended to be synonyms for “full” or “very full”, I’ve given up fulminating fulsomely.

1 Like

Shame about the Meyney. It was really good 10-15 years ago.

will definitely be doing one of these this year. Did one just over 10 years ago too.

Not my personal notes but from someone else in attendance. Margaux was also WOTN.

I’m going to be doing one this year in TWA! Really looking forward to it.


I’m going to be doing a few this year myself for birthdays! You want to swing by? [dance-clap.gif]

I’m an ‘80, but I’ve co-opted ‘82 as my birth year wines due to COVID interrupting my ability to have proper celebrations for the last two years.

1 Like

Looking forward to the invite!

1 Like

Thanks to everyone for the kind feedback. It was a special night where the exquisiteness of the wines were only surpassed by the generosity of the attendees.

2oz pours for the first round and then each individual could return to whichever bottle they liked or wanted to check back in with afterwards. We simply ask people to be mindful of leaving wine for the other members. 1oz pours are encouraged.

The decant times are mentioned at the beginning of each note.

The Menu was chosen by each person as they like based on the offerings at The Fig Tree (a restaurant I highly endorse in Charlotte): Elk Chop, Filet Mignon, or Striped Bass in a risotto sauce with a lump of crab meat on top were the entrees chosen. Some people ordered Pâté with foie gras as an appetizer.

I would have to look at old tasting notes but I am pretty confident I have used that word descriptively for 15 - 20 years. I will post a screen grab of what I see as the definitions: “of large size or abundance; generous or abundant”…“a fulsome harvest”

My use of fulsome is meant to convey the wine enveloping my mouth with its flavors. Alone that word use by me is typically meant in a positive manner but not necessarily in and of itself. A fulsome and pleasing wine is obviously preferable to a fulsome and unpleasant wine – the second descriptor modifying where a “fulsome” wine is taking me on a given night.

This past Tuesday the fulsomeness of the wines was a very welcome and fortuitous development.


1 Like

40th Anniversary…

Double decant 2:20 hours…

Double decant 2:25 hours…

Opened 2.5 hours in advance; recorked immediately. Popped at restaurant 2 hours before serving…

Opened 2.5 hours in advance; recorked immediately. Popped at restaurant 2 hours before serving…

Each of our wines improved as the night went on (and no, that was not the wine influence) with some wines dramatically improving…

No wines “fell off” over the four hours.

Two thoughts spring to mind.

  1. The wines sound like they were built to last 75 to 125 years or more.

  2. Maybe Robert Parker actually knew what he was doing.