On Saturday, we celebrated my 40th with a party for a bunch of our friends. It was mostly non-wine folks, so we didn’t go too deep into the cellar. But I did take the occasion to open a selection of '83s, and they showed phenomenally and were crowd-pleasers. I’m going to have a smaller dinner sometime this year to focus more intensely on the 83s (I still have bottles of all these left). I wasn’t keeping close notes, for obvious reasons, but here are some off-the-cuff impressions:
83 Latour: Structured and proper Paulliac with dark fruits, cassis, and hints of tertiary development. A beautiful late-release bottle that still has upside. I’ll save some for my 50th. (92)
83 Pichon Lalande: In the battle of the birthyear Paulliacs, I actually preferred the PLL, which was a touch more elegant and open. Ripe dark fruits with a velvet texture. At peak but no signs of fading. (94)
83 Margaux (Magnum): This was the main event and it didn’t disappoint. Crazy fresh out of a Magnum with a fill into the neck, this shows sexy dark fruit with floral notes and an alluring inner sweetness. Really drinkable and attractive, on the precipice of true maturity. This was consumed all-too-quickly. WOTN for me, just a hair ahead of the Palmer. I have a second magnum that I’m saving for my 50th. (96)
83 Palmer: I opened a couple bottles of this. The first was absolutely singing. Very much like the Margaux–perhaps more exotic–if just a quarter click lower in the stratosphere. The second bottle I found a littler more shy and structured but still proper and delicious. Still on the upswing. (95/93)
83 Dominus: Perhaps the most surprising wine of the night due to how young it showed. Blind I might have guessed something like 2000. Still structured and fresh as a daisy. Lovely too, although predictably neither as complex nor as elegant as the Margaux or Palmer. It was similar in impression to the Latour. (93)
83 Jaboulet Cote Rotie Jumelles (Magnum): Fun wine here. This was fresh and proper with generous dark fruits, herbs, and some meatiness. Beautiful nose. Crazy bargain for what I paid for it just recently (about $160). (92)
83 Guigal Hermitage: More mature than the Jaboulet, this showed brambly fruit with intense non-fruit iron and blood. A bit funky but complex and quite enjoyable. I didn’t get as big of a taste as I would have liked. I’ve had really superb experiences with these older Guigals. (91)
83 Yquem: In a very nice spot. Not terribly sweet but shows complex apricots, citrus, and vanilla. Dense and concentrated. (93)
83 Climens: I thought this was really spectacular and, surprisingly to me, every bit the equal of the Yquem (perhaps superior). While the Yquem was bolder, the Climens was equally complex and perhaps more spherical in its balance. At peak and really lovely. (94)
83 Fonseca: Mature dark fruits with just a bit of structure remaining. Coming from an unheralded vintage, this was still quite lovely and in a nice spot on its maturity curve. (90)
For party drinkers, we opened magnums of Laherte and Delamotte and a ton of Paul Pillot Bourgogne Blanc and Pierrick Bouley Bourgogne Rouge, all of which were superb.
Overall, the wines showed beautifully, and the night as a whole was just wonderful. Picture of some of the lineup below (missing the Yquem and Dominus, as well as some other stuff opened; you can see a Lamy Caillat lurking on the left).