1982 Bordeaux at 30 years courtesy of Mark Taylor

Atlanta, GA
Tasted Sunday, March 4, 2012 by Eric with 1,402 views

Introduction

Thanks to the outrageous generosity of Mark Taylor, I had the incredible honor of attending a 30 year retrospective of 18 different 1982 Bordeaux. It was a simply glorious tasting with most wines purchased on released and stored for decades by Mr. Taylor. Also in attendance was the flamboyant Yves Durand who led the tasting in a gloriously thick French accent, my dear friend Roy Hersh from For the Love of Port, Don Cornutt who I have been looking forward to meeting for years, the oh so dashing Todd French who runs the world dominating WineBerserkers bulletin board, the very eloquent Eric Asimov (read his writeup here) and 9 other wonderful lovers of wine.

All of the wines were served single blind, so inevitably that leads to a bit of guessing. In the past I would often find that the blind games might take away from the pleasure of the wines, but over time I have found it to be a very useful exercise to keep one very focused on the details that differentiated the 18 different elixirs we had the pleasure of enjoying.

Flight 1 (6 Notes)

I always find the first flight of reds to be a bit challenging, but these were pretty easy to get excited about quickly. I have had all of these except the Figeac at least once and in some cases (Pichon Lalande) perhaps a dozen times, so it was pretty easy to pick 4 of 6, just swapping the Beychevelle and Lynch Bages.

  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Ripe with a bit of heat, newsprint, and tobacco. A bright cherry palate with a touch of cedar. My 5th favorite of 6. I guessed Beychevelle, but in fact this was Lynch Bages instead.

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  • 1982 Château Beychevelle

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Mint, tobacco leaf, a sort of balsamic/syrup note that was pleasing, spicecake. Quite stern at first, but it opened up gorgeously. My 2nd favorite of the flight. I guessed it as the Lynch Bages when in fact it was a stellar Beychevelle.

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  • 1982 Château Figeac

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Mmm, graphite with a sexy, stalky thing going on, a really soaring nose that is quite different from everything else in the flight. Very vibrant acidity. At first I thought this screamed of Pauillac with the copious green notes, and my initial guess was Lynch-Bages or Figeac. However by the time we had to commit this was a very easy pick as the Figeac. My 3rd favorite.

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  • 1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    One sniff and I wrote "sultry - PL" in my notes. This is my desert island wine, and it almost never disappoints. Maybe a touch of seawater on the nose but then such depth on the silky, luscious and full palate. An easy pick and my favorite of the flight.

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  • 1982 Château Gruaud Larose

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Our first glass was corked, so a backup was quickly brought in. It took a few minutes to open up from cellar temperature, and then it started to strut that roasted, black, brooding delicious thing that Gruaud so often does. Leathery, black and brooding, an easy pick. My fourth favorite of the flight, and the longer it sat in the glass the better it got.

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  • 1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    A touch of mint moves into that chicory, loamy, earthy personality that makes me think of Graves. There was a touch of hot breeze through a dry pine forest. To me the wine showed ample structure still and a very roasted personality. An easy pick as La Mission. Sadly I think the bottle was a touch heat affected. (I had purchased it from Acker back in 2005, whereas nearly every other bottle in the tasting came from Mark Taylor's cold cellar and was bought on release.) My least favorite of the 6 which was pretty much unanimous across all the tasters.

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Flight 2 (6 Notes)

Wow, wow, wow, this was a flight of a lifetime. In hindsight I think the Latour was clearly a tiny bit off, but all of the wines were majestic. My rankings in this flight have much more to do with my own flavor preferences (I nearly always find Haut Brion and Margaux to be my favorite first growths). It was again pretty easy to pick 4 of 6, just swapping the Latour and Mouton.

  • 1982 Château Latour Grand Vin

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    There was some debate as to whether this was corked. I never got the TCA, but there was clearly something a little dirty going on. Graphite on the nose with some smouldering depth. This is a baby that is just far from ready. I guessed this as the Mouton given the lack of readiness. My 5th favorite in the flight.

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  • 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    A little shy at first but then a knockout nose with lots of mint leaf. Such a sweet core, powerful, with a salty mineral finish. I guessed this as the Latour, when in fact it was the most enjoyable (of three) 1982 Moutons that I have ever tasted. My third favorite.

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  • 1982 Château Lafite Rothschild

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Tobacco. Firm. Aloof. Cedar and cherry with lots of mineral on the dry palate. This was an obvious pick as the Lafite. My least favorite of the flight (which is usually the case for me with Lafite).

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  • 1982 Château Haut-Brion

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Root beer, chicory, wowza, great Graves nose! Roasted deliciousness on the palate. I know the 1982 is not a truly great Haut Brion, but I have loved it every time I have tasted it. My 2nd favorite of the flight and an easy pick.

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  • 1982 Château Margaux

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    This is a little shy at first and then just explodes with a soaring, floral nose and a strong dose of brett. That screams Margaux to me. Wow what a GREAT palate, silky, lush, cedary, just utterly majestic and pleasurable at once. Easily my favorite of the flight (and for the group) and an easy pick as the Margaux.

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  • 1982 Château Cheval Blanc

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    From the color alone this is a different beast, more advanced with a strong touch of brown at the watery rim. It explodes from the glass with a plummy, kinky nose that is completely different from the other five wines, no question. Plums move to a figgy/pruney thing but not in a bad sense, just showing lots of ripe dried fruit. So plush, sexy and pliant, syrupy, lush, still plenty fresh. I know lots of people say this is on the downswing, but wow it's a lovely wine. My fourth favorite and an easy pick as the Cheval Blanc.

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Flight 3 (6 Notes)

Another amazing flight although obviously a small let-down from the prior flight. My blind picks were way off with only 1 out of 6 (and finished the night at 9 out of 18), but I was at least 100% on picking right and left bank wines. Great showings from the L'Evangile and Cos d'Estournel.

  • 1982 Château Léoville Las Cases

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Corked and swapped for a new bottle. It's too bad, as of all the wines in the tasting this might be the one that needs the most air to strut. Vitamin pill nose. Nice, classic, reticent. Mineral. It never really opened up which is a shame. I guessed it as the Ducru, my 5th favorite, but in fact it was just a deeply reticent Las Cases.

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  • 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    A faint green edge on the nose moves to a clean but not entirely generous mineral palate. I liked it enough to rank it as my 3rd favorite and from the green assumed with was the Cos when in fact it was the Ducru.

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  • 1982 Château Cos d'Estournel

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Caramel and graphite. Great minerality. Very expansive with rather massive structure. I assumed the Las Cases based on the sheer size of the beast, my second favorite, but alas it was the Cos. Nice showing!

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  • 1982 Château Lafleur

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Clearly Merlot. A pretty nose. Dynamic palate, spicecake, sweet core. I liked it but it seemed a bit soft and based on that assumed it to be the L'Evangile. My fourth favorite. I was surprised when it was revealed as Lafleur, as I would have expected a lot more structure.

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  • 1982 Château Le Gay

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Sur maturite. Wow, very energetic, sweet cherry, nicely structured finish. It was a lovely wine even though I picked it as my least favorite in the flight but did properly guess it as Le Gay.

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  • 1982 Château L'Evangile

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Explosive nose with a breath of the sea, something that in the past I have noted with Lafleur. There is also a ripeness on the nose that makes it clear we are on the right bank. Wow, this is an incredibly structured wine, and based on that I guessed it as the Lafleur when in fact it was a brawny and delicious L'Evangile. My favorite of the third flight.

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Closing

Thanks so much to Mark Taylor for a truly memorable tasting!

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