1982 Bordeaux with Leve at Spago

Los Angeles, CA
Tasted Sunday, February 18, 2007 by Eric with 772 views

Introduction

When it comes down to it, Bordeaux is definitely my favorite wine region, and I love ripe-vintage wines like 1990 and 1982. So it was with great excitement that we lined up for a memorable evening at Spago to celebrate the 25th anniversary of 1982 Bordeaux, a vintage that hits incredible heights. Coming off some of the best food of my life when we dined at Providence an evening earlier, I knew that Spago was an unfair comparison. Still, as with other visits, they easily bust out of the cliché and do a great job of food and wine. The courses were a cavalcade of meats that paired easily with the wines. And Kevin the somm did a fantastic job as always. As far as the wine goes, well I was a pig in shit. I just LOVE this vintage. Maybe my scores are a bit compressed, but wine after wine just dazzled me tonight.

Generally speaking, we had some pristine bottles, and apart from a few corked wines things showed incredibly. We again tasted the wines single blind apart from the white starter. I actually got on a pretty nice roll and had 10 of the last 15 correct, seeming to get more dialed in as the night went along.

Flight 1 (1 Note)

Flight 2 (3 Notes)

We started with a troika of St. Emilion wines.

Flight 3 (2 Notes)

Next we moved to Pomerol. The Certan de May was a no-show due to some confusion about where the dinner was hosted. Oh well, we had to make do with a lovely pair of Pomerol.

  • 1982 Château L'Evangile 96 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Perhaps the most exotic nose of the night. Kinky nose with Asian 5-spice, charcoal, soy and a whiff of barnyard. The palate is dead sexy, lots of fireworks and minerals dance in your mouth. Quite a powerful wine, stunning, long, drinking very young with a note of tannin at the end of the finish.

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  • 1982 Château Trotanoy 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, Pomerol

    Interesting nose with some seaweed, pepper and spice. Sheesh, this is a big, brawny wine for a Pomerol. Mmm, savory, mineral, I love the flavor profile here. The wine was easy to pick out as it reminded me a great deal of the similarly muscular 1970 Trotanoy.

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Flight 4 (3 Notes)

Next we moved to Graves.

  • 1982 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Flawed

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    Slightly corky? Yep. Crap! Despite that I hazarded a small taste. A nice bit of perfume claws past the TCA. The palate is powerful, tannic, great weight but definitely a bit muted and stripped. Too bad.

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  • 1982 Château La Tour Haut-Brion 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    I have never had a wine from this producer before. This was a nice showing. A ripe, minty nose that hinted at blood. The palate is ripe with confected raspberry notes. Rather tight actually, pure and primary.

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  • 1982 Château Haut-Brion 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan

    This lacks the weight of the other first growths and other great vintages of Haut Brion, but it easily makes up for it with textbook Graves personality. I love the nose on this one with that Chicory coffee and roasted earth. The palate is fantastic, loaded with cherries, earth, roasted, almost Burgundian in texture, a supple, precise wine.

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Flight 5 (3 Notes)

OK, now we moved to Pauillac to play with the big boys. At the start of the night Eric Cotsen had people try and predict their favorite wine and the favorite of the group, and everyone's guesses centered on this flight. I figured that the Latour would be the group favorite, but I had little doubt that the Pichon Lalande would be the wine to make me swoon. Pretty much right on both counts.

  • 1982 Château Mouton Rothschild 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    A huge, concentrated, reticent beast of a wine that barely hints at readiness even with 6 hours of decanting. Tobacco, mineral, this is so very tight and hard to get right now. The sheer weight and precision of the wine is thrilling, but let it keep sleeping…

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  • 1982 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 100 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Bow down at the altar of wine!!!!! One taste and I was in heaven. OMFG, what a great, great, young bottle of 82 Pich! Soy, mint and even a hint of bacon on the nose. This is such an exotic wine with an incredibly sweet core of fruit, mindblowing wine, sweet and sour, stunning, dancing, vibrant, exotic. About as good an example as I have tasted in a dozen tries.

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  • 1982 Château Latour Grand Vin 99 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    What else could this be but Latour. A massive wine that was loaded with graphite and black fruit. Incredibly direct and focused right now, this is a stunningly pure wine. Nothing exotic here. Just some of the purest Cabernet ever created in the world. Still, after the Pichon Lalande, it was clear which I preferred…

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Flight 6 (3 Notes)

This flight mixed up 3 communes, and following the Pauillac's one would have thought it would be overwhelmed. The wines showed beautifully though.

  • 1982 Château Margaux 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Mint, edgy, mineral nose. The palate is tangy, almost powdery with graphite, quite tannic. Incredible structure, quite powerful. It didn’t quite live up to my expectations.

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  • 1982 Château Léoville Las Cases 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    This is a controversial wine that often shows tight and unrewarding, but not for me tonight. It was indeed tight but so pure. I love Las Cases and this 1982. Soy, graphite, crackling minerality on the firm palate. This is a very pure, tight and structure wine that just slaps you around. Definitely a Baby Latour but so reminiscent of that wine.

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  • 1982 Château Cos d'Estournel 98 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    I've never had this wine and have had very little Cos. It ended up as one of my favorites of the evening. An exotic wine with charcoal briquette on the nose. This has a sweet core of gorgeous fruit wrapped up in minerals. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. In this flight it really stood out. My score is likely a bit generous, but that's what was in my book.

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Flight 7 (3 Notes)

OK, home stretch. Most people had given up on their notes at this point, but I actually got a bit of a second wind. Maybe it was the rain dripping down my back for much of the evening?

  • 1982 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Tobacco, gunpowder, a sweet core with notions of powdered sugar is followed by some hints of bell pepper and then a gorgeous note of green peppercorn.

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  • 1982 Château Léoville Poyferré 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    This was the most linear, syrupy wine of the night for me. I often love this wine, but I found this example almost cloyingly primary with a faint note of uric acid. It did blow off the nastiness and improve a bit with a nice chewy, mushroomy edge.

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  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages 95 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Sweet, soy, with that unmistakable black, Pauillac personality. Loaded with tobacco. This is revved up and amazingly good, a terrific year for Lynch Bages.

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Flight 8 (1 Note)

We finished up with one last drop, the 1990 d'Yquem served from a pair of 375ml bottles.

  • 1990 Château d'Yquem 97 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes

    Lots of exotic notes, maple syrup, intense botrytis. I was hitting my limit, but this was pretty stunning and plenty inspired for me.

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Closing

That rocked!!!!

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