'82 Cali Cabs vs. Bordeaux blindtasted

Tom's House, Palo Alto, CA
Tasted Thursday, December 6, 2007 by Richard Jennings with 324 views

Introduction

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Introductory comments by tasting organizer Ross Bott:
The 1982 vintage was a study in contrasts in France and California. The vintage was almost perfection in France, beginning with an early flowering, and warm, dry June extending into the rest of summer, and a very large, excellent crop primed for harvest in early September. Then the weather took a sudden right turn, with three weeks of intense heat and rain-free days. This took the harvest from excellent to superb -- to quote Robert Parker "Nineteen eighty-two is one of the greatest vintages of this century".

In California, after a wet winter and a mild summer, the rains came in late September. While not nearly as disastrous as 1989, the best Cabernet Sauvignons were again produced by winemakers who kept yields low. This said, of the 1982's we've tried over the years, most have shown very well, both in terms of structure and concentration. The style of the fruit was less the sunny California ripeness and more the Bordeaux "grip".

A note about our last 1982 Bordeaux vs California Cabernet Sauvignon tasting back in 2001 -- not only did the California Cabernets finish 1-3-5, but most found the wines virtually impossible to distinguish in character from the Bordeaux!

Tonight, in the 25th anniversary year for the 1982 vintage, we will try four Bordeaux from different appellations, headed by Lynch Bages and Haut Marbuzet, against California Cabernets made by a renowned winemaker: Warren Winariski, Jerry Luper, and Al Brounstein.

Flight 1 - pre-tasting Bordeaux (1 Note)

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  • 1989 Château Malescot St. Exupéry 92 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux

    Fragrant herbal, mushroom, dried mushroom and rainwater nose, that opens after 15 minutes or so to a plum and raspberry nose; tasty, tangy, plush, red fruit, plum and black cherry palate with sweet tannins; medium-plus finish

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Flight 2 - My TNs and group scoring (7 Notes)

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  • 1982 Château Sociando-Mallet 91 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc

    Group's #1 (my #1) – 28 pts; 2 firsts, 5 seconds, 2 thirds, 0 last places – dark red violet color; solid earthy beef nose with some camphor and VA; higher pitched, focused, mature, tart red fruit and ripe black cherry palate; tangy medium finish

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  • 1982 Château Moulin de la Rose 88 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien

    Group's #2 (my #4) – 29 pts.; 3, 2, 3, 0 – dark red violet color; tangy, floral, berry and framboise nose; leather, shitake mushroom, black fruit palate with a little cassis showing mid-palate; medium finish

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  • 1982 Diamond Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Red Rock Terrace 89 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Diamond Mountain

    Group's #3 (my #2) – 38 pts.; 3, 1, 2, 1 – dark brick red violet color; high VA, tangy raspberry vinegar and dried cherry nose; mature but ripe cassis, plum, sage and oregano palate, with fine grained tannins; medium finish (still going strong after 2 hours in the glass)

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  • 1982 Château Haut-Marbuzet 77 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe

    Group's #4 (my #6) – 40 pts.; 2, 0, 2, 0 – medium brick red color with clear meniscus; funky, possibly faulty, raspberry vinegar, earth and tobacco nose; over the hill raspberry and cassis palate; short finish

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  • 1982 Château Corbin St. Émilion Grand Cru 87 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru

    Group's #5 (my #5) – 48 pts.; 1, 0, 1, 0 – medium red violet color with clear meniscus; leather, tobacco, earthy mature nose; tasty, mature, ripe black fruit, tangy toward medium finish 87+ pts.

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  • 1982 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Flawed

    USA, California, Napa Valley, Stags Leap District

    Group's #6 (my #7) – 59 pts.; 0, 2, 0, 3 – medium red violet color with pale meniscus; earthy, berry, vegetal and bark nose, that soon changes to bandaid; faulty or gone, red wine vinegar; very short finish

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  • 1982 Bouchaine Cabernet Sauvignon J.E. Luper 88 Points

    USA, California, Napa Valley

    Group's #7 (my #3) – 65 pts.; 0, 1, 1, 7 – mbricking dark cherry red color; lovely camphor, mint and redolent berry nose; tangy, tart red fruit with Italian character, a hint of pepperoni and white pepper; medium finish 88+ pts.

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Flight 3 - Oops, we left out the best one flight (1 Note)

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  • 1982 Château Lynch-Bages 94 Points

    France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac

    Garnet red color; beef jus, lamb jus and mushroom nose; tasty, plum, ripe fruit, beef and lamb jus and sage palate; medium-plus finish

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