1982: the most over rated vintage of the century?
By Aymeric de Clouet
It is with great excitement that we organised this exceptional tasting. 1982 is widely regarded (at least in the Anglo-Saxon world) as one of the greatest vintages ever. Thirty years is a good minimum to truly evaluate great Bordeaux, so the timing was ideal.
First, a disappointment : Ducru-Beaucaillou is rather bitter and acidic, and we move on to the next wine Léoville-Poyferré, quite good although not at the same level as the 1986 or 1990 vintage years. The worst will come now : Léoville-Las-Cases, a flat wine, flawless but with no real quality!
Now the better wines : Lynch-Bages is good, not one of its best vintages, but still decent. Duhart-Milon is very good; I have always liked this wine, especially since an incredible 1945 vintage, and it always tastes quite well in primeurs (at least much better than Carruades de Lafite, from the same producer). 1982 Duhart is well-balanced, very pleasant, both simple and marvellous, easy-drinking but in the good sense of the term.
Time for the premiers crus : Margaux goes first, simply because of its poor image in 82, suffering from the comparison with the 83, one of the best vintages ever (for Margaux). In fact, for the first time I could compare the 82 Margaux to other 82 Bordeaux, and it is really impressive. A lot of aromas, a great complexity, fantastic length on the palate, a great wine.
Latour is now entering the dance: second time I am tasting it, it is the same average quality indeed. I admit that it is a good wine, but not more. It has power, a little bit like the 75 vintage, although not at the same price, but nothing to compete with the magnificent 1970. Average.
Last but of course not least, Lafite-Rothschild : here comes the king of all 82s ! It needed a long time to open, and it was only at the end of the meal (by the second tasting round) that it expressed all of its potential. Words lack to describe the sensation. Powerful, but a controlled power, expressive, but not in excess, it is a great wine with still a great ageing potential.
Conclusion : 1982 is not a great vintage overall, it is a vintage with great successes. And disappointments too!
Expected achievements : Lafite, Poyferré, Lynch-Bages
Unexpected achievements : Margaux, Duhart
Disappointments : Latour, Las Cases, Ducru