Geoff Kelly Wine Reviews
Independent reviews of some local and imported wines available in New Zealand, including earlier vintages.


Geoff Kelly,  MSc Hons

James Laube,  Wine Spectator, 2012:  No single vintage did more to change the world of wine than 1982.  … Most of us can point to an instant that changed our wine lives.  … For me, the vintage that changed everything was 1982. … It's hard to credit one person for Bordeaux's phenomenal turnaround in 1982. But most agree that Emile Peynaud, the famed enologist, inspired the changes that led to a new style of Bordeaux. He preached letting the grapes ripen more fully …

Jancis Robinson,  2010:  Cos d'Estournel 1982, on the other hand, was possibly the single most delightful wine to drink now of all the jewels to which we were treated.  [ including first growths ].

The Wines Tasted:

1982  Ch la Conseillante,  Pomerol (highly-rated)
1982  Ch Cos d’Estournel,  Saint-Estephe Second Growth
1982  Ch Grandis,  Haut Medoc Cru Bourgeois
1982  Ch Gruaud-Larose,  Saint-Julien Second Growth
1982  Ch La Lagune,  Margaux Third Growth
1983  Ch Margaux,  Margaux First Growth
1982  Ch Montrose,  Saint-Estephe Second Growth      
1982  Ch Pavie,  Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
1982  Ch Talbot,  Saint-Julien Fourth Growth
1982  Ch Trotanoy,  Pomerol (highly-rated)
1982  Iron Horse Cabernet Sauvignon,  Alexander Valley
1982  Te Mata Coleraine,  Havelock North Hills

Conclusions from the Tasting:
This Library Tasting evoked much interest from keen Wellington wine-tasters,  and some based in Hawkes Bay and Auckland,  to the extent it sold out in under four hours.  And,  delight of delights,  there were no cancellations subsequently.

At the tasting proper,  tasters were startled by the perceived freshness of the wines,  and the lovely bouquets.  Yes the wines were mature … but in general perfectly mature … not at all as old as people were expecting.  The top wine of the tasting,  1982 Ch Cos d’Estournel,  was pretty well all you could ask for in mature claret:  a gently fragrant and complex bouquet and even better flavour,  a soft silken texture,  and the promise of being magic with food.  Whereas from the delight expressed,  clearly many participants thought we would be making excuses for these wines,  at the 41 years (from vintage) point.  

To enlarge on this aspect,  cellaring is everything.  These days with wine auctions all the rage,  auctioneers emphasise that this bottle or that has been kept in a temperature and humidity-controlled cellar.  But the plain fact is,  very few wine-lovers had air-conditioned cellars last century.  Auctioneers never mention that.  Thus the early conditions of storage are critical,  and in New Zealand,  particularly for any bottles domiciled north of middle North Island.

The best clue to actual storage conditions is ullage.  Wellington has an appalling climate in terms of lifestyle ... excessively temperate and excessively damp … but that is ideal for wine.  The accompanying photo shows the variation in ullage within the nine 1982 Bordeaux,  from best to worst,  for bottles from Wellington kept in a near-ideal but never temperature-controlled cellar.  

Ullage on the nine 1982 bordeaux varied from 8mm for the Ch Cos d'Estournel on the left,  to 18mm for the Ch Trotanoy.  Further discussion in text.

The 8 mm ullage on the Cos is extraordinary at the 39-year point,  and not even a 54 mm cork,  as if it had been in temperature and humidity-controlled storage since bottling.  The wines graded through to the Trotanoy at 18 mm ullage on the right,  the nine 1982 bordeaux averaging 16.3 mm at the 39-year point from bottling.  Storage conditions are much improved for both temperature and humidity if the wines are kept in closed cartons or boxes,  preferably 12s.  Mass equals inertia,  which has a wonderfully stabilising and conserving effect for both temperature and humidity.  Unfortunately the ‘swank factor’ sabotages many people's cellaring efforts:  they like to have the bottles on display,  so they can be shown off.  All these bottles are still (just) in the neck.  Perusal of any wine auction catalogue (with competent photographs) will show that is rare,  around the 40-year point.

Incidentally,  40 years is about the maximum interval for which a reasonably good-quality cork can be guaranteed.  It is also about the point at which the cork still retains sufficient structural integrity for it to be reasonably easily withdrawn by a well-designed cork-screw with a good helix.  Many corks-screws fail on the latter detail.  Strangely,  length of cork is not as good a guarantee of good sealing as one would expect.  In this set,  half the bottles had c.54mm corks,  yet the best seal and performance,  as in the photo,  was for the 50mm cork in the Cos d"Estournel.  The magnum for the Californian wine had only a 42mm cork,  yet the wine did not show any fatigue.  Cork quality and elasticity at the outset is the key.  So while the odd bottle will be lost through cork failure (usually shrinkage) after the 40-year point,  even so,  with luck,  a cork may still seal the wine for much longer.  Red wines are more cork-friendly than white,  in this respect.  The oldest bottle I have opened,  1916 Ch Mouton (now Ch Mouton Rothschild) opened in 2016,  was perfectly sealed by a 48mm cork.  And to have the original wine,  untampered with and not topped up with younger wine,  is surely much better than a re-corked bottle.  Re-corking has become something of a social fad,  promoted by firms notorious for using poor-quality corks in the first place.

The other factor that critically affects how the wine presents in a formal tasting is the decanting procedure.  Many people ‘destroy’ … or at least substantially degrade … their precious old bottles at this stage.  I have even seen people use funnels.  Beyond belief.  Unless the wine is known to be reductive,  aeration must be avoided.  Having retrieved the wines from the cellar,  and then holding the bottle at about 45° carefully shaken the wine against the cork a couple of times to dislodge neck sediment,  the bottles should then be stood up for at least a couple of weeks.  Presenting the wine in perfect clear condition is imperative ... yet so often not achieved.  Once the cork is out,  and the neck cleaned,  the key thing is to slide the wine as gently as possible from its original bottle to the serving bottle,  in one continuous and uninterrupted pour,  neck to neck ... and then leave the wine to stand and develop,  while it breathes a little.  The decanting dregs having been put to one side to settle in a glass,  one for each wine,  assessing that sample will determine the rare occasions (now) where a wine needs a greater surface-to-air ratio to enhance breathing ... or even swirling ... as in a decanter.

The top six wines in this 1982 Bordeaux and friends Library Tasting ranged from 18 to 19.5 points.  From the left,  the Californian Iron Horse Vineyards contender lost out a little because of the one-dimensional nature in a 100% cabernet sauvignon wine,  but by the same token,  had that virtue for learning purposes in comparing with the high-merlot East Bank wines.  And it had the delight of no New World elevated alcohol or oak,  with attractive fruit ripeness,  thus fitting in well with the Bordeaux and New Zealand contenders, 18.  The Ch Margaux (though the 1983 vintage) should have been the top wine,  the Chateau itself commenting that time and again,  they cannot decide which is the better vintage.  1982 was relatively lesser in the Margaux district,  whereas the district was favoured in 1983.  But this bottle was slightly scalped by threshold TCA,  not noticed by many tasters.  It showed fabulous fruit and beautiful oak … but was not singing.  Marking has to be arbitrary, 18 +.  Next in my ranking was Ch Trotanoy,  showing its high merlot cepage very clearly,  but thus also not seeming quite so interesting alongside the more aromatic West Bank wines.  Even so,  it was considered a beautiful example of Ch Trotanoy, 18.5.  Next,  tasters were agreed that this 1982 Ch La Lagune was simply one of the best bottles of this chateau many had ever tasted, 18.5+.  Second-ranked for many people was the sizeable Ch Gruaud-Larose,  the biggest wine on the table,  but perhaps the oaking a bit boisterous.  Even so,  for sheer impressiveness, 19.  And then finally on the right,  the most beautiful wine in the tasting by quite a margin,  so subtle and silky,  Ch Cos d’Estournel,  19.5.  For this vintage,  it quite eclipsed the Ch Montrose,  also in the tasting.  These top six wines were memorable.

Background:  The 1982 Vintage in Bordeaux:
While 1982 marked the emergence of a remarkable new wine-writer in America by name of Robert Parker,  who almost alone (at the time) unequivocally declared this unusual vintage to be an absolute world-beater which consumers should invest in in quantity,  at that time and until the turn of the century,  the doyen of English wine-writing was Michael Broadbent,  MW.  In 1966 he established the wine auction department at Christie's,  London,  where he became world-famous.  We should therefore give first word on the 1982 vintage to Broadbent,  quoting from his 2003 magnum opus Michael Broadbent’s Vintage Wine.

Broadbent,  2002:  1982  ★★★★★ 
A milestone.  A sign of the complete recovery of the market; more, that the combination of richness and perceived quality matched the economic climate. It was the first really important, and well-timed, vin de garde since 1970, and perhaps the first universally touted ripe-for-investment vintage of the post-war period. But how have they turned out, and what is their future?

First though, the climatic conditions preceding the birth of this vintage. Ideal growing conditions. Flowering early and evenly. Hot and dry summer, harvest from 14 September in great heat, the early-ripening Merlot with very high must weight. There was then a change, two days of heavy rain. I was there and thought it presaged another ‘64. The sun and fresh breezes enable the Cabernets to ripen more normally. Rich tannic wines resulted. The big guns still have fire power and length of trajectory.

Robert Parker:  As also noted below,  1982 is the vintage that ‘made’ Robert Parker a household name … at least for wine-loving households.  Parker was enraptured with the wines from the start … so much so that detractors murmured that that was only because they were big and ripe and (some thought) somewhat Californian in style.  So we will take both Parker’s first assessment of the wines from barrel,  and at first in bottle,  as summed up in the 1991 Edition of his excellent book Bordeaux,  and then further study his thoughtful re-evaluation of the vintage at nearly 20 years of age in June 2000.  At this point he could more objectively assess both the wines,  and the not-always-kind things that other commentators had said about his ranking of the vintage.  It is worth noting in parentheses,  that the basic reason that Parker provoked detractors was,  he was frank,  and he appeared to be on the side of the consumer.  Up till that time,  wine reviewing had generally been a rather ‘gentlemanly’ affair,  more on the side of the producer or merchant,  scarce on facts,  and with the outcome all-too-often influenced by the case of wine that ‘astonished’ wine-writers so often found in the boot of their car … on return home.  Parker dumb-founded the wine-reviewing establishment,  by simply stating which wines were poor,  and often why.  The previous ‘everything is lovely’ approach was paralysingly dominant in New Zealand wine-writing too ... in that era … and sadly … is still much too frequent.

At the time of preparing this introduction,  the June 2000 article was not available on the recently-revamped Parker website ... though the reviews are.  And in a move which can only be condemned as myopic and shallow,  the new proprietors appear to have removed all the early reference material totally from the website.  But presumably Parker's magnificent 2003 revision of his book Bordeaux sums up his 2000 findings,  so the report below is summarised from that,  page 72 on.  

The 1982 vintage:  The most concentrated and potentially complex and profound wines produced between 1961 and 1990 were produced in virtually every appellation. … For the bigger-styled Pomerols, St.-Emilions and northern Medocs – St.-Julien, Pauillac, and St.-Estephe – the wines are evolving at a glacial space. They have lost much of their baby fat and have gone into a much more tightly knit, massive yet structured tannic state. As of 2003, the Medoc first growths will benefit from another 5–10 years cellaring. Most of the other classified growths have entered their plateau of maturity. In short, the top two dozen or so wines will earn “immortal” status.   …    

When I issued my report on the 1982 vintage in the April 1983 Wine Advocate, I remember feeling that I had never tasted richer, more concentrated, more promising wines than the 1982s. Twenty-one years later, despite some wonderfully successful years such as 2000, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1990, 1989, 1986 and 1985, the 1982 remains the modern-day reference for many of the greatest wines in Bordeaux, yet not every property was committed to producing top-quality wine. Because of that, 2000 and 1990 are much more consistent vintages, with higher numbers of wines meriting outstanding scores.

The finest wines of the vintage have emerged from the northern Medoc appellations of St-Julien, Pauillac and St.-Estephe, as well as Pomerol and St.-Emilion. They have aged much more slowly (where well cellared) than I initially predicted.    …    Today [ 2003 ], no one could intelligently deny the greatness of the 1982 vintage.   …   When analyzed, the 1982s are the most concentrated, high-extract wines since 1961, with acid levels that while low, are no lower than in years of exceptional ripeness such as 1961, 1959, 1953, 1949, and 1947.   …

If the 1982 vintage remains sensational for the majority of St.-Emilions, Pomerols, St.-Juliens, Pauillacs and St.-Estephes, the weakness of the vintage becomes increasingly more apparent with the Margaux and Graves wines. Only Chateau Margaux seems to have survived the problems of overproduction …

To round out this back-grounder to our 1982 Library Tasting,  we turn to one of the emerging modern writers,  William Kelley now at The Wine Advocate,  who like us,  felt that the 40-year point in the evolution of the 1982 Bordeaux wines should be noted.  He published a compelling summary of the vintage in late December 2022:

This year, Bordeaux’s 1982 vintage turned 40. 1982 was a year of seminal importance for the region, marking the beginning of a period of new prosperity and concomitant investment, and precipitating a pursuit of greater physiological maturity that bore fruit over the following two decades. It was also a decisive year for this publication [ The Wine Advocate ], with Robert Parker’s early praise for the 1982s in barrel, flying in the face of many established voices at the time, unleashing extraordinary demand for the vintage; demand that only grew once consumers began to taste the wines for themselves. Given on the one hand the vintage’s abundance, and on the other the competitive exchange rate, it’s clear that the 1982 vintage also represented the vinous opportunity of a lifetime for a whole generation of consumers in the United States and elsewhere.   ….

To revisit the 1982s at age 40 in these pages, therefore, seemed like a pleasurable obligation, and I began the project in January, making a concerted effort to taste as many wines as possible, as many times as possible; raiding my own cellar and the cellars of friends, as well as tasting some of the wines at the chateaux in Bordeaux. The result is an extensive look at how the vintage is showing today, when the wines have been stored in optimal conditions.   …

In the case of most of the wines reviewed here, the 1982 vintage’s stylistic signatures remain very much intact: broad, fleshy and enveloping, with comparatively below-average acidity and sweet tannins. This is a generous, somewhat flamboyant vintage, but that generosity doesn’t come at the expense of classical balance, nor does it efface the distinctive identities of the different estates.

Despite the plethoric yields that defined the year in Bordeaux, as in other French wine regions, remarkably few 1982 Bordeaux exhibit any signs of dilution (something that cannot be said of the 1982 red Burgundies, for example). Bordeaux was suffering in this period, yet despite what were by today’s standards underfinanced, rustic winemaking facilities and vineyard management often oriented toward maximizing yields, the number of great wines produced is striking. 1982, what’s more, was a success at every level of Bordeaux’s traditional hierarchy, and several unclassified estates turned in notably strong performances that are in some cases still going strong. All things considered, therefore, it is hard to disagree with Robert Parker’s contention that 1982 was the greatest vintage of the decade—and indeed the finest since 1961.   ...

In their diaries at the time, Tastet & Lawton noted sunburnt fruit for the first time since 1947, and amazing quality, recording the highest potential alcohols for decades: 12.5% to 13% for Merlot and 12% to 12.5% for Cabernet Sauvignon. …  These numbers, elevated for the time, seem modest today; and that, combined with the fact that so much has changed in Bordeaux’s climate, the vineyards and the wineries in the interim, make many modern-day comparisons with 1982 seem rather fanciful. Indeed, if in so many respects 1982 marked the beginning of a new era for Bordeaux and its wines, the wines themselves belong to an older era that the vintage itself did much to bring to an end.

Emerging Wine-writers and the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux:
It seems no exaggeration to say that everybody who writes about wine (in the English-speaking world) aspires to attend 1982 bordeaux retrospective tastings,  and write about them.  Except Allen Meadows.  As noted,  Michael Broadbent was the first on the scene,  and his early judgements were awaited eagerly.  But then Robert Parker very much made the 1982 bordeaux reds his calling card … and his attention to them subsequently has been both magnificent,  and enviable.  His grasp of the vintage is now unmatched … absolutely magisterial.  

But latterly three relatively new wine-writers have come up over the horizon.  Their writing combines the detailed descriptive analysis of Parker (which I enjoy so much),  with a modern  sensibility.  Curiously all are British.  Jane Anson now lives in Bordeaux,  and has become well-known for adding some backbone to the generally indulgent / lack-lustre Decanter approach to wine review.  She is the author of the current ‘authoritative’ book on Bordeaux  Inside Bordeaux (publisher Berry Bros & Rudd,  2020,  670 pages:  best source in NZ,  Maison Vauron,  $NZ145).  Then there is Neal Martin,  identified by Robert Parker as a worthy writer for the The Wine Advocate,  but who has since moved on to Vinous.  The third and most recent is the scholarly William Kelley,  who has succeeded Martin as the bordeaux and burgundy (and champagne) reviewer at The Wine Advocate.  His approach gains substance (and experience) with every passing day. 

In this introduction to our wines,  however,  in the notes for each chateau below,  we will give pride of place to Robert Parker … and where possible his year 2000 retrospective review.  With the death of Michael Broadbent,  no living wine-writer has tasted so many Bordeaux wines,  extending over such a timespan.  And his re-tasting of many wines of the one vintage all at the same time (or nearly),  gives his 2000 review a particular value.  For some wines it is worth noting that Parker mentions (in 2000) he has tasted some of the wines a dozen or 15 times over the years … unparalleled experience. 

Some 1982 Bordeaux reviewed at release in New Zealand,   in National Business Review,  1985:
Before turning to the detailed introduction to our wines,  it is worth bringing this older material into the electronic age.  From 1984 to 1989,  I had the privilege of creating and writing a wine column in National Business Review,  then the leading business paper in New Zealand,  under the Editorship of Colin James.  This was an exciting era,  when the New Zealand wine industry was completing the nervous transition from first fortified wines and then hybrid plonk to ‘proper’ Vitis-vinifera-based table wines.  At the same time,  the influx of Roseworthy-trained winemakers (such as John Hancock at Delegat's and Peter Cowley at Te Mata) to New Zealand really started (though there had been odd ones before,  for example Alex Corban at the family winery in Henderson,  and then Bob Knappstein at McWilliams in Hawkes Bay).  

Colin was happy that I should publish four separate articles on the arrival of the 1982 Bordeaux in our merchant trade,  ranking some 66 wines.  I don't think there has ever been such coverage of a newly-landed Bordeaux vintage in a New Zealand newspaper,  either before or since.  Right from the outset,  these 1982s seemed exceptionally relevant to what we should be doing with red wines in New Zealand.  With very few exceptions (1965 McWilliams Cabernet Sauvignon being by far the most important) New Zealand red wines to that date had been thin and acid … and lacking the flavours of true grape ripeness / physiological maturity. 

The following notes are verbatim as published,  apart from correcting the odd typo,  and running together the original tiny paragraphs (reflecting the multi-column format of the paper at that time).

Friday May 20, 1985:  1982 Bordeaux 1:
   When it comes to cabernet sauvignon, Bordeaux will be our mentor for some time. Nowhere else on earth does the claret style achieve such flavour and elegance, such power without weight.
   There is already a lot of good bordeaux on our shelves, including some 1979s at historical prices which are starting to look attractive. Two very good vintages are 1979 and 1981, but the glamour now centres on 1982, which has been receiving ecstatic reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.
   The 1982s are being compared with 1961, 1953, 1947, 1945, and 1929. Many say they are clearly better than any post-war vintage. They differ from 1961 and 1945 in at least one important fact – 1982 is a big vintage.
   Quality appears to be good at all levels. In 1982 many insignificant and minor chateaux have made ripe rich wines with plenty of body. They are not as complex as the famous names, one principal reason being the little chateaux do not buy new oak. Our merchants have imported some of these little fellows, as well as some classed growths, and have priced them fairly. We can therefore get a good taste of the vintage at surprisingly reasonable cost.  As always, however,  they are not all good. First tastings in the bedrock price range, centred on $12, suggest that the best is no more expensive than the worst. 
   The character of the vintage can be summed up as ripe, with good bouquet, heaps of fruit and body and plenty of soft tannin. They are relatively forward and acid may be a bit soft in some for long keeping. Few wines were picked under 24 deg Brix, and many were around 25 deg. They show a degree of fruit ripeness rarely seen from Bordeaux, worthy of study by all New Zealand cabernet makers and drinkers.
Under $20:
   To be buying rather nice chateau-bottled claret for less than several of our New Zealand cabernets is a pleasant experience. One or two of the shippers’ blends are not to be sneezed at either.
   Can these cheap wines really be any good? Similar petits chateaux from the sterner 1966 vintage were under $2 in the late 1960s. To answer the question, I have just opened one, to check my belief that carefully selected “unknown”clarets can be great value. The wine is excellent, finally mature. To be buying similar quality in 1985 for $10 to $14 is realistic value. The better of them show all the velvety quality of a good bordeaux blend compared with the pure but narrow cabernet.
   The ratings below refer strictly to value, as applied to petits chateaux.
1982 Ch La Reille², Medoc ($12). Classed growth quality, forward. The 1981 is slighter but elegant.
1982 Ch Corbin², Montagne-St-Emilion ($11.50). Soft, plenty of fruit, charming.
1982 Ch Vieux Bomale³, Bordeaux Superieur ($12). Big, chunky, honest wine.
1982 Ch Hauts-Conseillants³, Lalande de Pomerol ($19). Rich, ripe soft merlot. 
1982 Cordier Claret, Bordeaux ($12). Stylish.
1982 Mouton Cadet², Bordeaux $12.50. The best Cadet I’ve seen.
1982 Ch de Juge, Bordeaux ($13). Curranty.
1982 Ch Tanesse, Premieres Cotes de Bordeaux ($11.50). Enough fruit to cover slight volatility.
1982 Drapier Margaux², Margaux ($18.50). 
1982 Ch Plagnac, Medoc ($14.50).
1982 Ch le Gardera, Bordeaux Supérieur ($11).
1982 Ch Moncets, Lalande de Pomerol ($12.50).
1982 Ch St Pierre, Lussac-St Emilion ($10).
1982 Ch St Andre Corbin, St Georges-St Emilion ($11.50).
1982 Ch Regent, St Emilion ($12).
1982 Drapier St Emilion², ($12).
1982 Drapier Medoc², ($11.50).
1982 Ch Rigal, Bordeaux, ($10).
1982 Ch Haut-Maurac², Medoc ($12).
1982 Ch Mondesir-Gazin², Premier Cotes de Blaye ($12). 
   Some more expensive clarets will be reviewed next month.

2)  Liquorland.
3)  Eurowine, 5 Middlesex Place, Wellington.
4)  Wilson Neill.
5)  Tasman.

Friday June 17, 1985:  1982 Bordeaux 2:
   Last month I characterised the 1982 clarets as ripe and rich, though forward where acid is low.  They are very different in style from the wines we in New Zealand have come to regard as classic claret – for example the 1966 and 1970 vintages.
   Overall,  New Zealand is tending to make cabernets of equivalent fruit ripeness to the lean years in Bordeaux, such as 1972, 1974 and 1977. These reds tend to lack any international appeal.
   It is therefore worthwhile to taste these 1982s for they represent the other end of the Bordeaux spectrum. We do not necessarily need to match them: the classic style of the above two years – or for that matter 1978, 1979 or 1981 – will do very nicely. We do, however, need to understand the continuity of cabernet sauvignon smells and flavours along the ripening sequence, from green and mean to brown and round.
   These very ripe 1982 clarets needless to say appeal enormously to the trendsetting Californian market. Hence United States dollar buying power has made them very expensive. They have doubled in price in the 12 months since release. Price variation from merchant to merchant in New Zealand may therefore reflect time of purchase.
   The list below is a primer. I understand further selections are coming, though no great range.
   Last month I ranked some cheaper 1982 bordeaux for value. This month the basis of evaluation changes to absolute wine quality, as I see it. All wines were assessed double-blind.                
1982 Ch Bonalgue², Pomerol ($23). Soft rich varietal merlot.
1982 Ch Branaire-Ducru², St Julien, ($31). Forward.
1982 Ch Chasse Spleen², Moulis ($25). Massive fruit, new oak, solid. 1981 similar, lighter.
1982 Ch Meyney³, St Estephe ($27) The 1982 powerful, tannic, some volatility. 1981 more elegant, next bracket up.
1982 Ch Siran², Margaux ($22).
Very Good:
1982 Ch de Fieuzal², Graves ($27). Reserved high-cabernet.
1982 Ch Soutard², St Emilion ($27) Soft, aromatic and stylish.
1982 Ch Cantemerle³, Macau ($40). More elegant than most, beautiful copybook claret.
1982 Ch Gruaud-Larose³, St Julien ($66) Both the 1982 and the 1981 are big 20-year classic clarets.
1982 Ch Haut-Marbuzet², St Estephe ($24). Enormous fruit, oaky soft and forward.
1982 Ch La Conseillante², Pomerol ($52). Fragrant complex elegant merlot, almost sweet.
1982 Ch Palmer³, Margaux ($68). Lighter than most, yet great complexity.
1982 Ch Talbot³, St Julien ($51). Obvious cabernet, big tannin nearly as rich as the Gruaud.
   Any of the last bracket will provide much pleasure. The biggest will last till next century. Some of the prices are high, but the merchants know they’ve got treasure. Remember how much we regretted not buying the 1961s?

2)  Eurowine, 5 Middlesex Place, Wellington.
3)  Wilson Neill.
Prices are wholesale. Add 15% retail.

Friday September 9, 1985:  1982 Bordeaux 3:
   Without doubt the most exciting event in the discriminating wine field at the moment, is the continuing arrival of the 1982 clarets.  More than 50 chateaux big and small have now landed in Wellington alone.  Auckland has more. To any New Zealander under 40 to 45, and brought up on our reds,  these 1982s are little short of a revelation, indeed a revolution, in our perception of what truly ripe cabernet sauvignon winestyles should be.
   Not since 1961 and 1959 have there been bordeaux so ripe, though there are individual chateau exceptions along the way in 1975, 1970 and particularly 1964 and 1962. So the message has to be, buy as many of the 1982s as you can afford. Caveat emptor however. There is nothing like a ripe year and a hot vintage, to produce sulphur problems in red wines. A number of the 1982s show the flattening of bouquet, and drab flavours, which result. Individual perception of this character varies enormously: tasting is the only answer.
   The following 20 wines again provide some pleasant surprises in the price versus quality stakes. The most expensive was indeed the best, but as one of the eight first-growths in Bordeaux’s thousands of chateaux, that is hardly surprising. The listing is by quality, as I see it. Value for money must be inferred. 
   We have not had so many Pomerols and other high-merlot wines in New Zealand before, and the soft plummy, pipe tobacco quality of the grape when ripe, may seem strange to those more familiar with the aromatic curranty cabernet. As before, those chateaux using new oak confer an added dimension of complexity and zing on their wines.
1982 Ch Cheval Blanc³, St Emilion ($193). Unbelievable concentration, elegant, soft, yet will keep many years.
1982 Ch Pavie³, St Emilion ($58). Powerful, tannic, a marvellous St Emilion for the turn of the century.
1982 Ch Montrose³, St Estephe ($51). Classic cabernet claret, austere yet rich – 20 years.
1982 Ch Trotanoy³, Pomerol ($62). New oak, huge fruit, opulent
Very good:
1982 Ch Lafleur-Petrus³, Pomerol ($56) Fragrant representative Pomerol.
1982 Ch Latour-Pomerol³, Pomerol $40). Deeper, chunkier, than Lafleur.
1982 Ch Fonroqiue³, St Emilion ($34). Lighter but elegant.
1982 Ch Grandis, Haut Medoc ($16). A marvellous block-buster, outstanding for a petit chateau, great value.
1982 Ch Feytit-Clinet³, Pomerol ($35). Ripe sweet merlot, touch of Hunter character.
1982 Ch Larrivet-Haut-Brion³, Graves ($32). Reserved Graves cabernet
1982 Ch Lafleur-Gazin³, Pomerol ($38). Sweet fruit bouquet, soft Hunter style.
1982 Ch Moulin du Cadet³, St Emilion ($35). Fragrant and soft.
1982 Ch Rouget³, Pomerol ($38). Soft, nearly sweet.
1982 Ch Moulinet³, Pomerol ($36). In Burgundy they speak of farmyard characters as complexity, and it’s nice at this level.
1982 Ch Belair³, St Emilion ($52) Lovely fruit, but muted by sulphur.
1982 Ch Les Deux Moulins, Medoc ($12)). Bigger, plainer, more muted.
1982 Moueix Bordeaux Superieur³, ($14.75). Not recognisably Bordeaux, otherwise OK in a plain way.
1982 Ch La Chapelle de Lasparre, Bordeaux Superieur ($9.50). Similar.
1982 Ch Puy Blanquet³, St Emilion ($40).
1982 Ch Nenin³, Pomerol ($59).

2)  Eurowine, 5 Middlesex Place, Wellington..
3)  Wilson Neill.
4)  Liquorland.

Friday December 9, 1985:  1982 Bordeaux 4:
   Nobody with even the faintest interest in bordeaux can by now have escaped the hyperbole with which this vintage has been drenched. One quote from Robert Parker, author of the Wine Advocate, and currently the darling of American oenophiles, will set the scene. Parker at full song on 1982 Ch Cos d’Estournel “... monumental … one of the great benchmark wines of the vintage … masses of explosive blackcurrant fruit … unctuous, massive, full-bodied … the greatest … sensational”. What can one say? Every winewriter exposes his or her experience and climatic perspective, to those who read carefully. 
   After another batch of 1982s, including one or two good ones, I would agree the 1982 vintage at best is great, but they are not classic clarets. They represent the hot end of a winestyle which, in fact, celebrates the complexity achievable only in temperate climates. 
   As I cautioned in September, there is nothing like a hot vintage, in districts unused to them, to produce sulphur off-odours which flatten the bouquet, and kill wine complexity. In this latest batch of 16 wines, 10 had detectable sulphur, and one was oxidised. The corollary is that individual threshold response to sulphur compounds varies enormously.  Some of the wines tagged below as to sulphur may please you very much, and thus would rate higher.
Excellent:   1982 Mouton Cadet², Bordeaux $12.50. The best Cadet I’ve seen.
1982 Ch Montrose¹, St Estephe ($40). Classic fragrant cedary claret.
1982 Ch La Lagune¹, Ludon ($40). Enormous fruit and oak, viscous texture, great stuff.
1982 Ch Giscours¹, Margaux ($34). Ripe, rich, oaky wine, almost Australian in style.
Very Good:
1982 Ch Cos d’Estournel¹, St Estephe ($60). Opulent lingering fruit, subtle oak, slight sulphur detracts from top.
1982 Domaine de Chevalier¹, Graves ($60). New oak, austere NZ-style high-cabernet blend, interesting.
1982 Ch Rauzan-Gassies², Margux ($46.50). Fruity and oaky.
1982 Ch Paveil de Luze³, Margaux ($37). Merlot blend, fruit sweetness, early developing.
1982 Ch Parenchere, Bordeaux Superieur ($15). Soft rich merlot blend, slight sulphur.
1982 Ch Gloria², St Julien ($46). Firm fruity wine muted by sulphur.
1982 Ch Greysac, Medoc ($21). Similar.
1982 Ch Ormes de Pez², St Estephe ($32). Similar.
1982 Ch la Cardonne, Medoc ($16.50). Elegant dry wine, but odd musky flavour.
1982  Ch Tour de L’Esperance², Bordeaux Superieur ($13.50). Fully mature.
   Next year, when all the 1982s have long since been sold, we will perhaps step back and reassess the 1981s, which languish on the shelves. They, and probably the 1983s coming up over the horizon, are much more in the fragrant, crisp claret style now considered classic.
   For now, however, NZWS/Tasman are to be commended for releasing their 1982 clarets at prices faithfully reflecting their foresight in ordering them early. The same wines elsewhere may be twice the price.
   Also in the Tasman shipment is 1983 Ch Suduiraut ($38.50). This is one of the finest sauternes of its year, delicious now, but will cellar well.

1)  NZ Wines and Spirits/ Tasman
2)  Kitchener Wines, Box 1961 Auckland, and O’Reillys, Wellington
3)  Maude Fine Wines, 17 Sterling St, Remuera.
4)  Glengarry Wines, 54 Jervois Rd, Herne Bay..
5)  M Sandman, Box 68410, Newton, Auckland.

1982 and 1983 Te Mata Estate Cabernet / Merlot Coleraine notes in NBR,  1985:
[ As above,  the following is from a March 1985 National Business Review article reviewing the release of the 1983 Te Mata Estate reds,  including the flagship Cabernet / Merlot Coleraine,  and its (in effect) second-wine Awatea.  The text is condensed a little … to concentrate on the 1982.]

   Te Mata Estate of Havelock North has a simple objective: to make the best claret-style red wine in New Zealand. Last year they succeeded head and shoulders with their 1982s. They also succeeded in provoking the industry,  by charging $15 for their top red, 1982 Coleraine Cabernet/Merlot.    …
   Much as we enjoy a bargain, it is also true that we will not encourage the development of fine wine of international quality in New Zealand, unless we are prepared to pay for it. This may mean a price differential of two, three or even four times good everyday wine.   …   There are now enough people proud of New Zealand wines who will wish to have a few bottles of our best, to enjoy years hence or to show to visitors.   …
   Whether the 1983s are better than the 1982s is a moot point. After all, the great Bordeaux classed growths vary from year to year, tasting riper this year, leaner that, but still recognisably from one chateau,  and equally good.
   Similarly the 1983 Te Matas are slightly firmer in acid and style, the 1982s a little softer and riper. The 1983s may cellar longer, but which year is better will be a matter of individual preference. It certainly will be fun to follow them.   …  The 1982 and 1983 Te Mata reds will undoubtedly become classics to be talked about for the next two decades, just as we still talk about the 1965 and 1966 McWilliams Cabernets.

The Invitation to this Library Tasting:  
21 years on:  1982 Bordeaux,  1982 Coleraine,  1982 Californian ...
Background:  The 1982 vintage in Bordeaux is one of the great post-war vintages.  In a warming world now,  we tend to forget just how many vintages in the 1960s and ‘70s and even the ‘80s were pleasant enough,  but not exciting.  And some were modest in the extreme.  Thus to taste the 1982s today allows us to time-travel … and catch a glimpse of previous now-near-mythical vintages such as 1929 and 1945,  and naturally,  the great 1961 vintage.  Whereas now in the 2010s onwards … so many years are achieving the ripeness of 1982,  that that excitement factor of those earlier times is in danger of being lost.  Thus it is reassuring to read in a Farr Vintners (now the leading United  Kingdom bordeaux merchant) 1982 Bordeaux article (Feb. 2022) that: “… 1982 remains a great vintage”

At the time,  the better-travelled wine commentators of the era described the 1982 Bordeaux as ‘the Californian vintage’ in Bordeaux.  And it is worth recalling too,  that the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux was the year that established the reputation of Robert Parker as a highly-competent wine critic ... who further,  wrote as if he was on the side of the consumer,  not the wine producer.  Thus it is only appropriate that we include a 1982 Californian wine in our 12 samples.  

In the New Zealand context,  the other notable thing about the 1982 vintage is that it marked the creation of Te Mata Estate’s first vintage of their flagship Cabernet / Merlot wine Coleraine … now New Zealand’s most famous wine.  We have an immaculately-cellared Wellington bottle (and spare) of this wine,  so tasters are pretty-well assured of tasting a good example of it.  Further,  Te Mata winemaker (but not at the time) Phil Brodie will be attending the tasting,  to illuminate it further.   Given that it was a first vintage,  and given the long history of Bordeaux wine-making,  I have included a cru bourgeois in our selection,  to better facilitate comparison.

This tasting also offers the rewarding opportunity to study wines reflecting pretty well the full range of cépages in Bordeaux.  They span a likely 100% cabernet sauvignon (if the Californian sample is OK) and 94% for Coleraine,  through roughly 50/50 wines like La Lagune and (surprisingly) La Conseillante,  to the 90% merlot and no cabernet sauvignon at all in Ch Trotanoy.  1982 Ch Trotanoy is regarded as a great vintage for this chateau.

Two admin matters ... the price:  The value of quality wine at auction in New Zealand has soared in the last three years.  In the last 24 months,  1982 Te Mata Coleraine has been offered at Webb's Auckland 6 times only,   with many bottles in less good condition (ullage) than our Wellington bottles ... yet the winning bids have averaged $443 per bottle.  Well-regarded 1982 Bordeaux is (naturally) also sought-after.  Thus the bottles offered in this tasting have a tangible and realisable value.  Further,  for wines of this age,  carefully-cellared Wellington bottles are now amongst the best-preserved in the country … until the time temperature-controlled cellars became frequent.  The offering:  this is the last time I can offer a reasonable cross-section of 1982s,  complete with a Californian reference.

Brook,  Stephen  2007:  The Complete Bordeaux.  Mitchell Beazley,  720 p.
Coates,  Clive,  2004:  The Wines of Bordeaux.  Weidenfeld & Nicolson,  720 p.
Kelly,  Geoff,  1985:  National Business Review:  20 May 1985,  p.52;  17 June 1985,  pp.49-50;  9 Sept 1985,  pp.57-58;  9 Dec 1985,  p.21.
Parker,  Robert  1991:  Bordeaux.  Simon & Schuster,  New York,  1026 p.
Parker,  Robert  2003:  Bordeaux,  Fourth Edition.  Simon & Schuster,  New York,  1244 p.
www.decanter.com = latterly,  Jane Anson for Bordeaux,  some free material on website,  subscription needed for longer articles,  and reviews
www.farrvintners.com = this leading London and thus British Bordeaux and en primeur wine merchant has much information concealed within their website.  Invaluable.
www.jancisrobinson.com = Jancis Robinson MW and Julia Harding MW,  some free articles,  subscription needed for reviews
www.klwines.com   K&L Wine Merchants,  America:  by far the best free source of collated wine reviews for wines of secondary market interest.  [No … I do not subscribe to all these review websites.]
www.robertparker.com = Robert Parker and successors,  for Bordeaux until recently Lisa Perrotti-Brown,  now William Kelley,  vintage chart,  subscription needed for reviews
www.thewinecellarinsider.com =  Jeff Leve,  free access
https://vinous.com = Antonio Galloni and associates,  now notably Neal Martin for Bordeaux.  Introduction to some articles free to mailing list,  subscription needed for reviews    
www.winespectator.com = vintage chart,  some articles free,  subscription needed for reviews.

The first price given is the current wine-searcher value.  The original purchase price is in the text following.  The wines have been cellared in Wellington since original purchase.  There are duplicate bottles of Ch Trotanoy,  Ch Pavie,  and the now-rare 1982 Te Mata Estate Coleraine.  Tasters are therefore reasonably assured of tasting those wines.  Admin details for the Reserve wines are listed following the reviews.

Tasters are particularly asked to note that 1982 was long before anybody (in the general wine community) had heard about the wild-yeast Brettanomyces.  Some of our wines are likely to show this complexity factor.  At low and even normal levels,  it was regarded simply as part of the wine’s complexity,  making European reds in general and bordeaux (and Rhone) wines in particular so appealing with food.  In those days Brettanomyces was commented on only if the wine had overt and clearly objectionable horse-sweat and fusty flavours … confusable with Pichia spoilage,  and particularly picked up on the aftertaste.  Note too that Robert Parker was subconsciously marking up lower-level brett complexity in reds,  until the latest 1990s.  That date coincides with the increasing influence of wine research establishments (in Bordeaux and Adelaide particularly) on winemaking practices.  Note too that as with several other aspects of wine technology,  some wine technocrats may be far too inflexible in their views on brett.  Wine pH is a similar example.

1982  Ch La Conseillante
1982  Ch Cos d'Estournel
1982  Ch Grandis
1982  Ch Gruaud Larose
1982  Iron Horse Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon
1982  Ch La Lagune
  1983  Ch Margaux
1982  Ch Montrose
1982  Ch Pavie
1982  Ch Talbot
1982  Te Mata Estate Cabernet / Merlot Coleraine
1982  Ch Trotanoy

My format for Library Tastings is for tasters to arrive to the 12 glasses,  empty.  Once the introduction to the tasting has been made,  tasters then pour their 30 ml samples from marked measures,  themselves.  This has the great advantage of any subtleties particularly of bouquet in older wines not being lost in the pre-arrival airing process,  if the wines are pre-poured.  Quite apart from not attracting fruit-flies.  Though the photo does not ideally capture it,  the first thing noticeable in the set of 12 was the range of colour hues and colour depths.  Counting from the front row left to back row right,  wine 12 the 1983 Ch Margaux,  was clearly both the deepest and the reddest wine,  contrasting markedly with wine 3,  1982 La Conseillante,  the most garnet.  Though it does not show clearly due to a lighting misjudgement,  wine 10 1982 Ch Trotanoy is the second-most garnet.  Wine 1 the sighter 1982 Ch Talbot is near-identical in both depth and hue of colour to wine 5,  the 1982 Te Mata Estate Coleraine.  They scored very similarly too,  thus high-lighting the late Steven Spurrier’s thought that in his estimation,  the most Bordeaux-like wines in the rest of the world come from Hawkes Bay.  And wine six 1982 Ch Grandis is the cru bourgeois,  the colour alone hinting at what a rich and wonderful value this wine was,  at the outset.  As can be seen,  several of the back-row wines show delightful hues and depth of colour for 41-year-old wines.  And as the tasting continued,  the quality of winey aromas wafting from the glasses and filling the air was an absolute delight.

Saint-Estephe Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $994   [ cork 50 mm,  ullage 8 mm;  original price c.$60;  cepage then c.CS 60%,  Me 40,  planted at 8 – 10,000 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.35 years,  cropped at c.50 hl/ha (6.5 t/ha = 2.6 t/ac);  typically 18 months in barrel,  % new then c.75%,  only slightly less than now (80%);  Parker in 1991 thought Cos one of the best wines of the Medoc,  its fleshy texture due to the high merlot,  and at that point ahead of Ch Montrose;  Broadbent,  2002:  well-nigh perfect bouquet, gentle, harmonious; surprisingly sweet though finishing dry, good fruit, ****;  Parker 1991:  … a monumental wine ... explosive blackcurrant fruit ... massive, rich, full-bodied, and loaded with extract and tannin, this remains one of the greatest Cos d'Estournels I have ever tasted, 97;  Parker, 2000:  Sweet aromas of jammy black fruits intermixed with roasted espresso and vanillin jump from the glass of this young, concentrated, full-bodied, succulent effort. An opulent texture, low acidity, and splendidly pure, concentrated, blackberry and cassis fruit suggest this 1982 can be drunk now, or cellared for another 15-20 years, 96;  W. Kelley, 2022:  Remarkably youthful and saturated in appearance, it exhibits inviting aromas of sweet berry fruit, plums, licorice and pencil shavings, followed by a full-bodied, fleshy, lusty, almost unctuous palate of notable concentration and depth. Its fleshy core of fruit is still framed by sweet, powdery tannins, 96; weight bottle and closure 567 g;  www.estournel.com ]
Glowing ruby and some garnet,  in the middle for weight of colour,  but the second reddest / most ruby and fresh in hue.  Bouquet is restrained,  you have to work at it,  to reveal a silken and nearly floral delicacy – fading roses – with red fruits dominating now,  bottled plums,  plus the subtlest hint of brown fruits (for example moist dates) and subtle cedary oak.  Palate is supremely elegant,  velvety,  beautiful berry with fine-grained cedary oak shaping but not obtrusive.  Seen as the most balanced and harmonious of all the wines by tasters,  seven first places,  clearly aromatic,  cabernet sauvignon-led,  no faults at all.  Intensity of flavour,  power without weight,  very beautiful silky claret indeed,  no wonder Jancis Robinson liked it so much.  As is so often the case with bottles showing a hint of reductive odours in the first few years after bottling,  there is now no hint of that aspect.  Perfect maturity now,  but has the balance to last some years.  GK 11/23

Saint-Julien Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:  12%;  $1,002   [ cork 52 mm,  ullage 18 mm;  original price c.$66;  cepage then approx. CS 64,  Me 24,  CF 9,  PV 3,  planted at 8,500 – 10,000 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.35 years,  cropped at c.50 – 60 hl/ha (6.5-7.8 t/ha = 2.6-3.1 t/ac);  typically 18 – 24  months in barrel,  % new then probably less than the 33% now;  Parker in 1991 felt the wine was Saint-Julien's most massive and backward wine ... the quality consistently high ... the wine demonstrably needing time in bottle;  Broadbent,  2002:  fruity, cedary nose; mouth-filling and tannic, good life ahead ... but in later years he wondered if a little too stolid, **(**);  Parker,  1991:  spectacular from cask and has continued to perform well from bottle ... awesome richness ... one of the darkest 1982s ... a huge, spicy, blackcurrant, grilled-meat aroma .. the finest Gruaud-Larose since the 1961, 97;  Parker,  2000:  An extraordinarily powerful, backward wine with unlimited up-side potential, the opaque plum/purple/black-colored 1982 Gruaud-Larose exhibits an explosive nose of new saddle leather, plums, prunes, black cherry jam, chocolate, steak tartare, and roasted espresso. Unbelievably powerful, thick, and intense, with full body, mouth-searing tannin levels, a grilled steak-like flavor, and a huge, intense finish, this is a monster, blockbuster 1982 that still needs 5-7 years of cellaring. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2030. It should prove to be one of the most profound Gruaud-Laroses made in the twentieth century. In quality, it is a first-growth, 96;  W. Kelley, 2022:  One of the most powerful, massive wines of the vintage ... Rich, layered and expansive, its deep core of ripe, fleshy fruit is framed by sweet, powdery tannins. As ever with the wines of the Cordier era, the fly in the ointment is that the wine's wild, somewhat animal profile is strongly marked by the presence of Brettanomyces, yet the 1982's intensely characterful, singular style means that I am personally able to overlook that defect. Still youthful, and actually evolving more slowly than the brilliant 1986, this is likely to number among the longer-lived wines of the vintage, 96;  weight bottle and closure 565 g;  www.gruaud-larose.com ]
Lovely ruby and garnet,  the third richest in weight of colour,  and still quite a lot of red,  fourth in rank.  Bouquet is on a bigger scale than the Cos,  more berry,  more fruit,  more oak and very cedary,  so much so it has a stimulating effect on the nose.  Palate is clearly high cabernet,  very aromatic and that component accentuated by the oak,  great richness of cassisy and dark plum flavours browning now,  a bold wine,  thoughts of Mouton-Rothschild,  very long.  Not quite the exquisite harmony and finesse of the Cos.  Again,  at perfect maturity now,  but with age may one day seem a little too oaky.  No faults at all,  though tasters reported they had had brett-affected bottles previously.  Maybe in those days the wine was not assembled,  but bottled barrel to barrel.  Two first places,  two second places,  harder to be sure which variety dominated in this wine – due to the oak I imagine.  GK 11/23

Haut Medoc / Margaux Third Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $342   [ cork 54 mm,  ullage 16 mm;  original price c.$40;  cepage then approx. CS 55,  Me 20,  CF 20,  PV 5,  planted at 6,666 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.31 years,  cropped at c.50 hl/ha  (6.5 t/ha = 2.6 t/ac);  typically 18 – 22 months in barrel,  % new even then in a good year like 1982 likely to be 100%;  Parker in 1991 thought La Lagune one of Bordeaux's shining success stories since its sale first in 1958,  and then in 1962,  to the Champagne firm Ayala;  Broadbent, 2002:  sweet, soft, fleshy most attractive, ****;  Parker,  1991:  As close to a perfect La Lagune as one can hope to find ... a sensational aroma of  roasted nuts, ripe black cherries and vanillin oak ... quite full bodied on the palate with significant tannin ... incredibly rich cassis fruit. A powerful, rich, concentrated finish lasts and lasts, 93;  Parker, 2000:  Beautiful notes of dried herbs, new saddle leather, roasted nuts, black currants, and jammy cherries jump from the glass of this spicy, fragrant 1982. Medium to full-bodied and fleshy, it is the finest La Lagune produced in the last thirty years. Just reaching its plateau of maturity, it appears to have the balance and depth to age effortlessly for 10 more years, 90;  not in W. Kelley's 2022 set,  so Jancis Robinson,  2022:  Rich, sweet, flattering nose. Fresh and at a nice stage of evolution at the moment. Pretty and nicely in balance with a clean, fresh finish. Long. Just right for now. Very well done!, 17.5;  weight bottle and closure 569 g;  www.chateau-lalagune.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  below midway in weight of colour,  above midway in retaining redness.  Bouquet is sophisticated,  showing all the complexity of a West Bank blend,  the cabernet sauvignon aromatics apparent but a good weight of browning softer plummy berry also very noticeable.  There is also a hint of dark chocolate.  Flavour is lighter than the bouquet promises,  lovely aromatic berry and cedary oak totally integrated,  the flavour lasting long,  classic claret again at perfect maturity.  One of the most satisfying La Lagunes I have tasted:  others expressed similar views,  almost astonishment.  Top wine for four,  and second-favourite for six,  but maybe a whisper of brett for a couple of tasters.  Lovely wine,  perfectly assessed by Robert Parker right from the outset.  Again,  attractive maturity now,  but has the balance to decline gracefully.  GK 11/23

Pomerol  (highly-rated),  Bordeaux,,  France:   – %;  $1,336   [ cork 54 mm,  ullage 18 mm;  original price c.$62;  cepage then approx. Me 90,  CF 10;  planted at c.6,200 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.28 years,  cropped at c.39 hl/ha (5.05 t/ha = 2 t/ac);  typically 20 – 24  months in barrel,  33 – 50% new;  Parker in 1991 noted that since 1953 Ch Trotanoy has been owned by the merchant firm Moueix ... but that in the later '70s the style lightened.  Parker queried whether the fining and filtration that the firm was then committed to had lightened the wine.  He felt that though other Pomerols had overtaken it in the last two decades,  it still rated as a Medoc second-growth.  He also noted that (happily) the 1982 was an exception to his doubts for the wines of the 1970s and 1980s.  Broadbent, 2002:  ... very distinctive, full of flesh, fruit and of course tannic, ****;  Parker,  1991:  ... even more fascinating and dazzling than I initially thought ... the finest wine made at this estate since the 1961 ... a profound bouquet of rich berry fruit, licorice, coffee, mineral, and spicy oak. Massive and huge on the palate, with superb balance and phenomenal concentration and richness, it is much more evolved and forward than Petrus ... to 2008, 97;  Parker,  2000:  ... close to full maturity ... abundant sweet black cherry fruit, smoky, mineral, earth, and dried herb aromas. Fleshy, spicy, and full-bodied, with the vintage's tell-tale succulence, high glycerin, and low acidity giving the wine a fat, plush personality, this 1982 should drink well for another decade, 95;  W. Kelley, 2022:  Today, the 1982 Trotanoy is showing brilliantly, bursting from the glass with rich aromas of sweet berries, cigar wrapper, black truffle, petals and confit orange. Full-bodied, supple and sensual, its ample core of fruit framed by melting tannins, it's one of the most seamless, viscerally appealing wines of the vintage that remains comparatively underrated given its extraordinary quality, 97;  weight bottle and closure 549 g;  www.moueix.com/pomerol/trotanoy ]
Glowing garnet and ruby,  just below midway in weight of colour,  the second to least in redness.  The bouquet subtle alongside the Medocs,  lacking the aromatics of cabernet sauvignon,  instead a fading salmon-hued roses quality on red fruits browning now,  some pipe tobacco,  and oak of a rare subtlety and finesse … like the Cos.  Palate is richer and suppler than the Montrose,  almost velvety,  but (my quirk) lacking the aromatics and therefore the interest of cabernet sauvignon-informed clarets.  As for La Lagune,  I thought this the finest Trotanoy in some years.  In terms of both quality of palate,  and to highlight the contrast between cabernet sauvignon-led clarets and merlot-led clarets,  I placed this wine between the Gruaud-Larose and Cos d'Estournel,  in the latter half of the tasting.  This worked well,  nine tasters identifying it as a merlot-led wine.  Top wine for one,  second favourite for two.  At perfect maturity now,  maybe shortening-up just a little.  A hint of tannin fur on the aftertaste.  GK 11/23

Margaux First Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $1,396   [ NB:  1983;  cork 53 mm,  ullage 23 mm;  original price c.$210;  cepage then approx. CS 75, Me 20,  CF 5,  planted at 10,000 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.30 years,  cropped at c.45 hl/ha (5.85 t/ha = 2.4 t/ac);  typically 22 – 28 months in barrel,  % new then probably already 100%,  given the new ownership in 1977,  with Emile Peynaud as consultant;  Parker in 1991,  on the wine in general:  The style of the rejuvenated wine at Margaux is one of opulent richness, a deep, multidimensional bouquet with a fragrance of ripe blackcurrants, spicy vanillin oakiness, and violets.  The wine is now considerably fuller in color, richness, body and tannin ...;  Broadbent, 2002:  I referred to the '83 as feminine and the '82 as masculine, the latter having more power and less elegance ... and ... the wine of the vintage. Could it be just a coincidence that this was the much-admired Paul Pontallier's first vintage at Margaux? ... the unbeatable Margaux fragrance soaring out of the glass, sweet, soft and rich. It fills the mouth with flavour, and seems to last forever, *****;   Parker,  1991:  The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes achieved perfect maturity in 1983, and the result is an astonishingly rich, concentrated, atypically powerful and tannic Margaux. ... the aromas exude ripe cassis fruit, violets and vanillin oakiness,  and the flavours are extremely deep and long on the palate with a clean, incredibly long finish. This will certainly be a monumental wine, 96;  no Parker 2000 report (since not an '82),  though worryingly,  in 2002 he reports many TCA-affected bottles of the 1983:  Parker 2002:  ... reached full maturity far faster than I would have guessed ... a gorgeous nose of smoked herbs, damp earth, mushrooms and sweet creme de cassis intermixed with vanilla and violets. The wine is medium to full-bodied, deep, rich, and powerful, with sweet tannins and loads of fruit concentration, 96?;  likewise no W. Kelley 2022 review,  so Jane Anson, 2018:  Gorgeous as ever, even if the 1982 is standing up a little more strongly today. This is still full of tannins, rich and textured fruit and lilting freshness, fragrant, concentrated and generous, 98;  Ch Margaux website,  last tasted October, 2018:  Today, the 1983 is certainly one of the most classic Château Margaux of the last forty years;  weight bottle and closure 549 g;  www.chateau-margaux.com ]
Ruby and garnet,   the deepest colour in weight,  and the reddest in hue.  An element of disappointment here.  At the time of decanting,  sampling and sequencing of the wines,  this one seemed pure but reserved,  hard to assess,  just needing air to unfurl.  But by the time of the tasting,  three hours and 24 km distant,  this blossoming failed to occur.  Instead a shadow of doubt arose.  Conferring quietly with Phil Brodie,  the Te Mata winemaker who came down to Wellington for this tasting,  we felt the wine was 'scalped' / diminished by subliminal TCA,  but not clearly enough to be worth mentioning.  Even so,  one could still detect cassis-like berry,  and exquisite oak on bouquet,  but no florals or complexity.  Palate emphasised the tannin side of blackcurrants,  rich fruit,  beautiful oak,  but not singing.  In the outcome,  three tasters ranked it their top wine,  and two their second favourite.  Once revealed,  several more-experienced tasters commented there has been a consistent track record of far too many TCA-affected bottles of 1983 Ch Margaux.  Frustrating,  because you can see the wonderful building blocks in the wine,  but the subtlety and magic vanished.  Many years left … for good bottles.  GK 11/23

Alexander Valley,  California,  North America:  13%;  $168   [ cork 42 mm,  ullage 30 mm (magnum);  original price $US28 / magnum;  as noted in the Invitation to this Tasting,  because the 1982 Bordeaux were at the time referred to as ‘the Californian vintage’ (by some),  it seemed totally appropriate to include a 1982 Californian Cabernet.  This bottle brought to New Zealand by the late Dr Ken Kirkpatrick,  after living in the United States … so it would have been a discriminating choice at the time;  the only information available on this wine now is from the unusually informative label,  the winery not responding to email:  cepage CS 100%,  the vines planted in 1970;  the grapes were hand-picked in early October,  at 23° Brix and 8.5 g/L acid.  Elevation 14 months in French barriques,  2,500 cases.  The winemaker at the time felt the wine was their best yet:  "Rich and full like the ‘78 with the grace of the ‘79,  it will mature and develop in the bottle for years".  Reading between the lines on sparse comments for other vintages of this label,  it seems the winestyle emerging from the vineyard tended to the austere (by Californian norms).  Production of the Cabernet Sauvignon ceased in 2007.  The winery now concentrates on sparkling wines,  with an excellent reputation,  plus chardonnay and pinot noir from their cool-climate properties in the Green Valley AVA,  within the Russian River Valley district.  No external information is available about this exact wine,  either from the Net as a whole,  the winery,  or their website.  And the new owners of The Wine Advocate have tragically and myopically removed much early 1980s wine reference material from that website:  it cannot even be retrieved via The Wayback Machine;  weight bottle (magnum) and closure 1,066 g;  www.ironhorsevineyards.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  the second to lightest in terms of weight of colour,  but the third to reddest in freshness / redness.  Any 100% cabernet sauvignon wine has it tough in a claret tasting,  where even a few percent of merlot or cabernet franc in the blend so softens and complexes both bouquet and palate.  Accordingly there was some division of opinion on this wine.  This report is the favourable side.  The bouquet is interesting,  aromatic,  evident cassis but also something darker,  reminiscent of elderberry perhaps,  but still winey and good.  There is plenty of flavour,  but it is tending one-dimensional,  the famous hole in the middle (on the palate) that Max Lake wrote about.  Oaking is beautifully subtle for a New World wine of that era,  and all French.  Acid balance is pretty good … rather like the Ch Montrose,  just detectable,  but as the wine dries,  it will become more apparent.  In total impression,  it sits pretty happily with the Bordeaux,  with no Californian warmth apparent at all,  and good aromatic dark berry.  At the blind stage nine correctly sheeted it home to California,  one taster rated it top,  two as their second favourite,  but eight rated it their least-favoured wine.  No faults were apparent,  so the reason I imagine is the linearity of flavour – one-dimensional.  The actual dry extract is quite good,  matching some Bordeaux.  And the wine is good with food.  This sample from a magnum:  750s may be tiring now.  GK 11/23

Saint-Estephe Second Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $562   [ cork 54 mm,  ullage 17 mm;  original price c.$50;  cepage then approx. CS 65,  Me 25,  CF 10,  planted at 9,000 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.25 years,  cropped then perhaps a little more than latterly c.42 hl/ha (5.45 t/ha = 2.2 t/ac);  typically 22 – 24  months in barrel,  % new then c.50%,  probably less than now up to 70%;  Parker in 1991 lamented the fact there had been a lightening of style from the mid '70s to the mid '80s,  with more merlot and less or no petit verdot;  he also comments on the ongoing rivalry between Montrose and Cos d'Estournel,  as to who is making the finer wine.  Noting that 1982 is in the era of somewhat lighter Montroses,  we have the now rare opportunity to evaluate for ourselves how the two compared in that year.  Broadbent, 2002:  A serious combination, Montrose and the 1982 vintage .... harmonious, excellent flavour but its ripe sweetness hardly denting its tannic astringency ... likely to be a long-haul wine ***(**);  Parker,  1991:  … the finest wine made at Montrose following the glorious 1970, but it has subsequently been eclipsed by both the 1986 and the 1989 ... a rich, intense aroma of spicy oak and ripe fruit, this full-bodied wine has a deep, rich and unctuous texture, plenty of round, yet noticeable tannins, and a long supple finish, 89;  Parker,  2000:  fragrant aromas of roasted herbs, briny olives, saddle leather, and steak tartare. With a round, sweet entry, medium to full body, a supple, fat mid-palate, and a diffuse but glycerin-dominated, thick, juicy finish, this wine suggests full maturity, but is capable of lasting another 10-15 years, 90;  W. Kelley, 2022:  A wine [ with ] a somewhat mixed reputation ... this ... the best bottle I've ever drunk of this vintage. Exhibiting aromas of sweet berry fruit, cedar box and loamy soil, it's medium to full-bodied, supple and fleshy, with lively acids, melted tannins and a soft, subtly leather-inflected finish. While it isn't as concentrated or characterful as the brilliant 1989 or 1990, for example, it's a generous, open-knit wine that's far from being in danger of imminent decline, 91;  weight bottle and closure 569 g;  www.chateau-montrose.com ]
Ruby and garnet,  exactly in the middle for weight of colour,  just below midway in terms of retaining ruby / redness.  As in all good years,  the bouquet of Ch Montrose bespeaks west bank claret.  There is a near-floral component still,  even at 40 years of age,  and browning cassis,  all piquant and exciting to the nose.  Part of that can be attributed to the attractive 4-EG side of very subtle brett.  Palate is fresh,  crisper than the top three but you could not say acid,  just lovely aromatic berry and cedary oak,  lasting wonderfully though the wine not as rich as some.  My perception of this wine is at variance with the group,  where a number of tasters thought it merlot-dominant.  Being a little lighter in weight than the top three,  this wine more clearly at full maturity.  In a few more years,  the acid and oak may be more noticeable.  Our wine was not showing Parker’s ‘supple, fat mid-palate’.  Top wine for one taster,  but least wine for three,  with several finding light brett.  Attractive food wine.  GK 11/23

Pomerol (highly-rated),  Bordeaux,,  France:   – %;  $809   [ cork 54 mm,  ullage 16 mm;  original price c.$51;  cepage then approx. Me 45,  CF 45,  Ma 10,  planted at 5,500 vines / ha,  average age of vines 40+ years,  cropped at c.45 hl/ha (5.85 t/ha = 2.4 t/ac);  typically 22 – 24  months in barrel,  % new then c.50%,  less than now (100%);  Parker in 1991 felt the wine was meticulously made …  not as powerful as other top Pomerols … about the rank of a Medoc second-growth.  Broadbent,  2002:  A magnificent wine … why try to describe it? *****;  Parker,  1991:  [ a little lighter than hoped ] ... but still an outstanding wine … a very perfumed bouquet of cassis and raspberry fruit along with its telltale smoky, toasty, vanillin oak scents … 91;  Parker,  2000:  This wine has been fully mature for over a decade, yet it continues to improve with each tasting.  ... Spectacular aromatics explode from the glass, offering up scents of toasty new oak, kirsch liqueur, black currants, cedar, and licorice. Lush, sexy, and opulent, with a silky entry as well as velvety texture, this plush, seamless, medium to full-bodied Pomerol remains fruity and fresh, with gorgeous intensity and length, 95;  W. Kelley, 2022:  One of the most sensual, viscerally appealing wines of the vintage is the 1982 La Conseillante, a medium to full-bodied, fleshy and enveloping Pomerol that wafts from the glass with aromas of minty blackberries, raspberry liqueur, black truffle, sweet soils tones and spices. Supple and expansive, with melting tannins and a long, perfumed finish, it's one of my favorite 1982 Bordeaux today, 97;  weight bottle and closure 549 g;  www.la-conseillante.com ]
Garnet and ruby,  in the lower half for weight of colour,  but the most garnet in terms of hue.  Bouquet was simpler on this wine,  more red berries browning now,  but little of the supple charm of cabernet franc evident.  Cooperage seemed to be markedly older,  but clean.  Palate however very much shows the influence of the high cabernet franc component,  with a clear browning raspberries quality even hinting at grenache – though naturally the acid balance is wrong.  People were a bit puzzled by this wine,  no first places,  no second,  but three least,  even though the fruit weight and general balance is good.  It would in fact be a very pleasant food wine,  with its supple East Bank palate.  No hurry to finish up.  GK 11/23

Havelock North Hills,  Hawkes Bay,  New Zealand:  13.5%;  $440   [ cork 48 mm,  ullage 35 mm;  original price $15;  cepage the 1982 CS 94,  Me 6,  planted at 2,450 vines / ha,  average age of vines < 5 years,  for the 1982 first year,  cropped at roughly 5 t/ha (2 t/ac);  harvested second week April,  18 months in puncheons,  44% new French,  33% new American,  the balance second and third-year American.  American oak was not used in Coleraine after the the 1982 and 1983 vintages.  This wine (and the 1983) totally from the home vineyard on the Havelock Hills,  in 1982 total production 290 x 9-litre cases.  Winemaker Michael Bennett … Peter Cowley arrived in 1984.  Some appraisals in date order:  Geoff Kelly,  1984:  Big bouquet of very ripe soft curranty cabernet, aromatic, good depth, new oak adding zip, very clean. Flavour rich, well balanced, supple, excellent fruit sweetness. Relatively soft and accessible by Bordeaux standards, lacking some of their complexity and tannin grip. Excellent wine, set for 10 years, 18;  James Halliday,  2002:  ... the bouquet retains some freshness,  with a mix of light mint and more savoury aromas.  A regal old wine on the palate,  with well-balanced savoury flavours and fine tannins.  Just starting to slide down the other side, but still very attractive although (surprisingly perhaps) with less sweet fruit than Awatea of the same vintage, ****;  Raymond Chan,  2008:  a fine, concentrated nose, identifiably blackcurranty Cabernet Sauvignon, some volatility adding lift to the perfumes, liquorice, tobacco and cedar on bouquet ... Drying a little now on palate, refined cedar notes, quite elegant in style ... Tannins are fine-grained ... remaining bottles should be consumed, 17.5+;  Huon Hooke,  2018:  text not available,  94;  information on earlier vintages now lamentably removed from the Te Mata website;  further detail for Te Mata Coleraine available in my August 2017 article:  'Reflecting on Te Mata Estate Coleraine, 1982 – 2015',  this website.  Acknowledgement:  discussion with Peter Cowley (previously) and John Buck (recently) added to the background info for this wine.  Weight bottle and closure 525 g;  www.temata.co.nz ]
Glowing ruby and garnet,  the lightest of the 12 in weight of colour (just),  but midway in terms of retaining red hues.  Bouquet is very clean,  with a piquant effect on the nose,  refreshing – reminiscent of trace spearmint.  Behind that,  red and darker fruits made vibrant by noticeable oak,  all smelling very fresh and aromatic.  James Halliday in 1999 clearly reported on a very poorly-cellared bottle,  maybe ex ambient from Auckland.  Palate is equally fresh,  red berries almost dominant,  maybe a hint of red currants in the cassis and plum,  and slightly acid like the Montrose.  In the company,  the oak is tending assertive.  One astute taster commented that this wine stood out for its American oak.  Yes … there were some American barrels in 1982.  In the ranking at the blind stage,  three had Coleraine as their top wine,  six as their second favourite,  and none as their least.  Style familiarity,  perhaps.  Ten thought the wine cabernet sauvignon-led,  and not one taster was clear it came from New Zealand (despite that oak clue).  Dry extract compares favourably with the lighter Bordeaux … a plus-point not always apparent in some later vintages of Coleraine.  Despite the ullage (the worst of the set,  but noting that for many years Te Mata reds had a low initial fill level,  relative to same-vintage bottles from,  say,  Bordeaux) this is an exceptionally good bottle of 1982 Coleraine,  at this 39 years from bottling stage.  GK 11/23

Saint-Julien Fourth Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:  12%;  $495   [ cork 52 mm,  ullage 16 mm;  original price c.$51;  cepage then approx. CS 70,  Me 20,  CF 5,  PV 5,  planted at 7,700 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.35 years,  cropped at c.52 hl/ha (6.75 t/ha = 2.7 t/ac);  typically 18 – 24  months in barrel,  % new then less than the 40% latterly;  Parker in 1991 commented on the rivalry between Talbot and the then co-owned Gruaud-Larose,  noting that in both 1982 and 1986 Talbot might match Gruaud.  Broadbent, 2002:  deep, velvety, sweet and chunky ... drink soon, ****;  Parker,  1991:  I am amazed at how rich, powerful, concentrated and complex this wine has become ... incredibly expansive, sweet, rich fruit on the palate ... one of the most remarkable Talbots I have ever tasted, 95;  Parker,  2000:  One of the great Talbots, the 1982 exhibits a dark garnet/purple color as well as spectacular aromatics consisting of melted licorice, briny olives, black currants, aged beef, new saddle leather, and cherry liqueur. Powerful and full-bodied, with spectacular concentration, it is not dissimilar from its sibling, the prodigious 1982 Gruaud-Larose. This exotic effort possesses a level of "brett" that tasters weaned on sterile, new world wines will find objectionable. However, a touch of "brett" can add complexity, as it does with this 1982 Talbot. Anticipated maturity: now-2012, 93;  W. Kelley, 2022:  The brilliant 1982 Talbot is a reference point for this estate, and in my experience, only the 1945 can match its quality. Offering up rich aromas of blackberries, smoked meats, loamy soil, licorice and black olives, it's full-bodied, broad and textural, with a thick, fleshy attack that segues into an ample, muscular mid-palate. Rich and savory, it's a compelling wine in its prime today, 94;  weight bottle and closure 556 g;  www.chateau-talbot.com ]
Ruby and garnet about equal,  above midway in weight of colour,  and just below midway in terms of  retaining ruby red.  Bouquet is very Medoc,  highly cassisy / aromatic,  very fragrant,  with cedary oak  noticeable.  Many of the Northern Hemisphere reviews comment that 1982 Talbot is nearly the match for  1982 Gruaud-Larose,  but there was little hint of that in our bottles.  This Talbot had that characteristic faintly stemmy / austere note noticeable in its berry qualities,  similarly to the 1966 or 1970 pairings.  Palate is crisp like the Montrose,  but a little more austere,  cassis notes and cedary oak,  with acid just a little noticeable,  like the Coleraine.  All in all,  it seemed so typically Medoc (at the sequencing stage) that I set it in position one,  as the ‘sighter’ for the 12 wines.  At the (still blind) rating stage,  nobody had it as their favourite or second favourite,  nor (importantly) as their least,  but most agreed the wine was clearly aromatic / cabernet-led.  Fully to slightly over-mature now:  as the fruit dries the acid will become more apparent.  GK 11/23

Haut Medoc / Saint-Seurin Cru Bourgeois,  Bordeaux,  France:  12%;  $83   [ cork 47 mm,  ullage 12 mm;  original price $16;  Ch Grandis is a little-known and tiny (10-ha) estate in St Seurin,  Haut-Medoc,  which none of the regular wine reviewers deign to even mention.  Such is wine snobbery ... yet it is the kind of wine one looks out for when seeking value and drinkability,   rather than labels-to-impress.  It really stood out,  in my 1985 NBR review tastings of the 1982 bordeaux.  Cepage now is approx. CS 50,  Me 40,  CF 10 ... but then,  not known.  No website,  no details .. and needless to say,  no reviews of the 1982 ... other than mine of 1985:  A marvellous block-buster, outstanding for a petit chateau, great value.  For a contemporary view,  a British wine merchant has this to say of the 2011:  Concentrated and complex on the nose, displaying dark fruits, tobacco and spices. Fine tannins bring together a balanced and flavoursome wine with a long finish. Charming, elegant and well balanced. All the characteristics of a Cru-Classé with the price of a Cru-Bourgeois, £22;  no website,  but there is a Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/ChateauGrandis;  weight bottle and closure 453 g ]
Ruby and garnet,  the second deepest wine,  exactly midway in terms of retaining red hues.  This is another wine in the set that could have been the ‘sighter’,  being so redolent of Bordeaux / claret character.  It is not particularly aromatic,  with its soft berry-rich bouquet reflecting a fair quantity of merlot,  but with added interest from cabernet sauvignon.  There was I suspect a good deal less than 50% in those days.  In a way it is the closest to Cos d'Estournel in bouquet,  though the oak much older,  and there was trace brett.  Trace for me:  one person found the level unacceptable.  Palate is lesser,  good fruit and dry extract,  but the oak tasting much plainer,  perhaps none new.  At the blind stage,  no first-place rankings,  but three tasters had it as their second-favourite.  Not bad (in the company) for a cru bourgeois costing $16,  and at 41 years of age.  But three also had it as their least wine.  Tasters correctly identified there was enough cabernet sauvignon to make the wine aromatic,  even though the percentage unknown.  I recommended purchase of this wine in my NBR reviews, 1985 … so was pleased to find it looking so good 38 years later.  GK 11/23

Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé,  Bordeaux,  France:   – %;  $465   [ cork 54 mm,  ullage 19 mm;  original price c.$58;  cepage then approx. Me 55,  CF 25,  CS 20 (the CS high for Saint-Emilion),  planted at 5,500 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.40 years,  cropped then at a higher rate than the more recent 28 – 30 hl/ha (3.65-3.9 t/ha = 1.5-1.6 t/ac);  typically 20 – 24  months in barrel,  the % new then notably less than now (100%);  Parker in 1991 felt the wine was emerging from a relatively long period in the doldrums,  improvement evident from the 1979 vintage on.  Even so at that point,  he rated it as equivalent only to a Medoc fourth or fifth growth – markedly different from its current reputation.  Broadbent, 2002:  ... mature,  bouquet nicely evolved ... Sweet, soft, attractive, and the most ready to drink of the 'flight' of Right Bank '82s, ****;  Parker,  1991:  ...a closed but emerging bouquet of grilled nuts, fruitcake, and super-concentrated red and black fruits, this full-bodied muscular Pavie still has plenty of tannin to shed. There is great structure, superb extraction and flavour, and a long, heady finish, 92;  Parker,  2000:  The strongest Pavie in the eighties, this dark ruby-colored 1982 reveals aromas of strawberry jam intermixed with cherries, dried herbs, earth, and spice. Medium-bodied, with beautiful fruit flavors (particularly kirsch liqueur), this sweet, ripe, expansive Pavie has reached its apogee, where it should remain for 10-15 years, 91;  no W. Kelley 2022 review,  surprisingly,  so we have to use fellow-countryman Neal Martin,  but from 2012:  … a “strict” bouquet that is almost Left Bank in personality: earthy, leathery with graphite notes with touches of cedar and pine infusing the broody black fruit. The palate is very conservative and foursquare with dry tannins, whilst the finish is muffled and attenuated, 87;  worth noting that elsewhere Martin has commented on brett in this and other 1982 wines ... but that was an era when brett (up to a quite high level) was seen as complexity ... not a fault;  weight bottle and closure 568 g;  www.chateaupavie.com ]
Garnet and ruby,  quite a deep wine,  fourth for weight of colour,  but one of the least in retaining ruby / red.  Bouquet is a far cry from latter-day Ch Pavie.  This is a clearly old-fashioned wine,  quite rich,  but old cooperage and some brett.  Fruit qualities on bouquet are browning berry … even to an analogy with raisins  and sultanas,  rather more than fresh berries.  Palate is quite rich,  and given the style of the wine,  it is surprising to find cabernet sauvignon aromatics hiding in there,  among its very leathery fruit.  Rather a lot of furry oak tannins are becoming noticeable,  even though the wine is one of the richer.  At the tasting,  people were more tolerant of this wine that I was,  no first or second places,  but only one least.  Tasters agreed it was merlot-led.  A good sturdy steak wine,  in its burly mature way.  No hurry.  GK 11/23

#     1982  Ch Giscours  
Margaux Third Growth,  Bordeaux,  France:  – %;  $220     cork,  original price c.$32;  cepage then CS 70%,  Me 25, CF 3,  PV 2,  planted at 8,300 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.30 years,  cropped at c.45 hl/ha (5.85 t/ha = 2.4 t/ac);  typically 18 – 24 months in barrel,  % new then probably considerably less than 33% latterly,  Parker in 1991 thought Giscours quality at a low ebb in the 1980s;  Broadbent,  2002:  Strangely low alcohol for an '82 (12%). Quite fragrant ... well-developed fruit, but with a raw tannic finish, **;  Parker,  1991:  very ripe, rich, berryish bouquet, and full-bodied with fat, loosely knit, deep flavors ... and a lush, silky finish. Flavorful, but unstructured, 86;  no Parker 2000 or Kelley 2022 reviews,  so for a reasonably recent review J Leve, 2016:  ... an earthy, tobacco cherry blossom, cedar, cigar box nose. Fully mature, the medium bodied wine is soft, silky and showing the patina of age, finishing with spicy, sweet, red plum notes. ... no reason to hold this any longer, 88;  www.chateau-giscours.fr

#     1982  Ch Haut-Marbuzet  
Saint-Estephe Cru Grand Bourgeois Exceptionnel,  Bordeaux,  France:  – %;  $275     cork;  original price c.$24;  cepage then approx. Me 50,  CS 40,  CF 10,  planted at 8,300 vines / ha,  average age of vines c.30 years,  cropped at c.45 hl/ha (5.85 t/ha = 2.4 t/ac);  typically 18 months in barrel,  % new even in 1982 100%;  Parker in 1991 felt the wine is:  one of the most immensely popular wines of Bordeaux … he believes in late harvesting, thereby bringing in grapes that are nearly bursting with ripeness … 100% new oak … [resulting] in an intense, opulent and lavish fruitiness, with a rich, spicy, exotic bouquet.  Parker feels Haut-Marbuzet should be a third-growth.  Broadbent may not agree,  not reviewing the wine at all for 1982,  Parker,  1991:  
A ravishing, luscious wine that seems to suggest a decadently rich Pomerol … gorgeous,  perfumed bouquet of chocolatey, cedary, ripe, blackcurrant fruit and toasty oak … opulent  rich fruit.  The 1982 and the 1961 are the finest Haut-Marbuzets I have ever drunk, 93;  Parker,  2000:  … has lost some of its dynamic richness and complexity, it still offers an excellent, nearly outstanding mouthful of juicy, complex, buttery, black currant and cherry fruit infused with copious quantities of smoky, toasty oak. The acidity is low in this fleshy, delicious wine, but it is no longer as flamboyant as it was a decade ago. Drink it up, 89;  W. Kelley,  2022:  From pristinely preserved bottles and larger formats, the 1982 Haut-Marbuzet continues to offer immensely compelling drinking today, wafting from the glass with an exotic bouquet of blackberries, dried fruits, black truffles, mocha, cigar box and rich soil tones. Medium to full-bodied, supple and concentrated, with an enveloping core of fruit, ripe acids and a long, sapid finish, it is an utterly delicious wine, 94;  there seems to be no website.

#     1982  Ch Latour a Pomerol  
Pomerol,  Bordeaux,  France:  – %;  $670     cork;  original price c.$40;  cepage then approx. Me 90,  CF 10,  planted at 6,500 vines / ha,  average age of vines then c.32 years,  cropped at c.40 hl/ha (5.2 t/ha = 2.1 t/ac);  typically 24 months in barrel,  % new then probably less than the 33% latterly;  Parker in 1991 considered that though some say this wine is close in style to Ch Petrus,  he feels the best analogy is to Chx Lafleur and Trotanoy … that it ranks as a Medoc second-growth,  and as such it is attractively priced;  Broadbent,  2002:  
… very sweet, meaty, almost chewy bouquet; dry, well-constructed, tannic, **(*);  Parker,  1991:  a super wine with fabulous power, richness, opulence, concentration and length. It is the fullest-bodied, and most concentrated Latour a Pomerol since the 1961, although it will never quite approach that monumental wine …, 93;  Parker, 2000:  copious aromas of caramel, coffee, jammy cherry fruit, and sweet herbs. Fleshy, succulent, and low in acidity, this seductive, sweet, fat Pomerol has reached its peak of maturity, where it should remain for another 5-8 years. It is an impressively complex, delicious wine, although not a blockbuster, 93;  no William Kelley 2022 review,  so again we turn to Neal Martin,  2016:  ... a great wine for many years and this might well be the best that I have ever encountered. It has an exceptional bouquet … surprisingly youthful … black fruit, bay leaf, cedar and gravel … The palate is medium-bodied with wonderful balance and fine tannin. It has ... softened around the edges and yet there remains that core of intense black fruit and kirsch that will ensure that it continues to age for many years. The Moueix team made several immense wines in 1982 and this is one of them, 95;  www.moueix.com/pomerol/latour-a-pomerol