TN: 1983 Margaux and Palmer

1983 MARGAUX MINI-HORIZONTAL - Tocqueville, NYC (5/23/2013)

Just sipping on the appellation’s finest from an excellent and undervalued year.

  • 1983 Château Margaux - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Translucent ruby. Intense nose of pencil and redcurrant. Herbs come out with air. Very light for its concentration, and good acidity. Longer finish than the '83 Palmer tasted alongside, but a bit more straightforward. A lovely, classic wine, but didn’t quite offer the fireworks its pedigree would suggest. (92 pts.)
  • 1983 Château Palmer - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Much darker-profiled and slightly fuller-bodied than the '83 Margaux tasted alongside. So much cocoa on the nose complementing rich dark fruit. Suddenly becomes tremendously minty after 90 minutes of air, like Andes candies or mint chocolate chip ice cream. Tangy in the mouth. A slightly sour, clipped finish is the only blemish in an otherwise outstanding wine. (93 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Two of my favorite wines- but the 83 Margaux is always a crap shoot- out of the probably 12 times I have had it, its one good to 3 either ok or bad.

Thanks for the note


Thanks for reporting.
I’m truly envious.
I’ve had both those wines, but never together…

Alex R.

83 Marguax two weeks ago was dead on arrival

Sorry to hear your Margaux experience was less than optimal. Ive only ever had sublime examples of the 1983.

I used to love wines from Margaux and still have a soft spot for Palmer. The thread does illustrate why I don’t buy Bordeaux anymore - they require a lot of time in the bottle and are (too often) a crap shoot after a lot of time in the bottle.

I still buy Ridge Montebello, which require similar patience, but have not experienced the rate of off bottles that I have with Bords.

Ridge Montebello – a national treasure! [welldone.gif]

It was an extremely nice wine, Mike–just not what I was envisioning from 1983 Margaux. No great wines, only great bottles, yadda yadda.

I’ve had more off bottles of 83 Margaux than great bottles. Give me the 83 Palmer any day of the week over the Margaux.

I need to get in on some of this 83’ action with it being my birth year. Sounds like the Palmer might be the way to go. Maybe less of a crap shoot.

A friend gifted me an 83’ Talbot last night which was a thoughtful little bday gift. Look forward to trying that out here soon.

The last two Chateau Margaux I owned were an 82 (corked) and a couple of 83s (good but not great after about 18 years of age). I agree with Steve, I’ve had generally good luck with Palmer. Still have a couple of 00s in the cellar.

We had one recently at a blind 1983 Bordeaux retrospective. Our bottle showed well, though it was bested by the 1983 Mouton by a good margin. The first growths were served blind in one flight; we were certain that the Mouton was actually the Margaux for its elegance and the one thing we guessed that the Mouton was unlikely to be was… the Mouton. 'Gotta love blinds.

As a fun aside, Chris also served up a ringer, a 1984 Montelena, and it showed incredbily well - we were certain that it was likely one of the great wines of the [1983 Bordeaux] vintage. 'Gotta love blinds.

I have found Ch. Palmer more consistent than Ch. Margaux in '83 and in other vintages. While '83 may generally be an undervalued vintage, I don’t think that is generally true for the Margaux appellation.

Well, the point is that I was under the impression that 1983 Margaux was roughly comparable to the 1982 and 1990, but sells for half the price.

In Margaux and the Right Bank, 1983 was never undervalued. From the beginning it was considered by many to be at least as good or better than 82 in those appellations. It was also very good in Graves. It was less good the further you went up the Medoc.

I haven’t had either wine in years. The Palmer was off-the-charts good into the 90s and, frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t show that way even today.

I like both wines, although I prefer 83 Palmer over Margaux. That being said, 83 Palmer should not be tangy or sour. The bottle was probably exposed to high heat at some point. Finding correct bottles that are 30 years old is always going to be a problem. Some bottles are going to be better than others.

I bought them both on release and try to drink them together (as I have a couple of times with Jeff). Half the time I prefer Palmer, half the time Margaux. I have not experienced any disappointments; largely, I suspect, from having purchased them on release and directly from Chateau & Estate Wines.

I have had the Margaux 1983 only twice recently, so will not comment too much on that one. I have had the 1983 Palmer much more often (say 14 bottles in the past 12 months or so), and really can not recognize anything in what you describe above. Tangy in the mouth, slightly sour? Absolutely not. Minty, yes a little bit, but tremendously minty absolutely not… It is a magnificent wine and I suspect somewhere along the ride yours has been stored poorly or whatsoever.

Just one man’s subjective impression, of course, but that’s what I perceived. Lucky you to drink that much '83 Palmer!

Yes, was quite lucky in how I got them (traded two cases against some younger bordeaux which I had plenty of, but I am light on older vintages and particularly great bottles like this. Given that these were never moved since they were released and stored in a perfect cellar, it was a unique opportunity for me to get a great wine from a great vintage for Margaux and with impeccable provenance). And I think they are at their prime right now, so why should I wait?

Anyways, I hope your next bottle of 1983 Palmer is one that is singing and I am sure you will than write an entirely different note. That said, always disappointing if you have what should be a great bottle but turns out to be slightly underwhelming.