Vintage Report

Bordeaux 1981 /The small but high quality vintage of 1981 was overshadowed by superb 1982. The warm and dry weather started from flowering and kept up until September when occasional rains took place until the harvesting was completed in good conditions beginning of October.  Generally speaking the reds produced were elegant, moderately light–bodied and delicate wines in all appellations. The dry whites were moderate quality and Sauternes actually better that the next year 1982. Although this is often regarded as a modest year, a few good wines saw daylight. These include Margaux and Cheval Blanc. 

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Vintage Report

Champagne:  Challenging weather conditions left a small harvest and kept the producers in suspense up until the final moments. The final result was a good but very scarce vintage.

    The mild spring woke up the vines from their winter sleep early, and vegetal growth began early in the spring. Unfortunately, heavy night frosts came in April and damaged the young sprouts. The situation only got worse when in May hailstorms damaged the vineyards. After this, the weather stayed cold, and the vines did not flower until July. In general, Chardonnay succeeded better than the red varieties in the flowering phase. August and September brought belief back to the producers, when the weather turned hot and sunny. Grapes matured in record speed, and it was possible to do the harvest right before the late September rains. As a result of previous lean harvest years, producers confirmed the sufficiency of non-vintage blends, and a large part of this vintage’s wines ended up as blend wines.

Thankfully, some of the producers also produced vintage champagnes. The have generally proven to be balanced and even excellent. The wines still have posture, elegance and concentration, even though the wines do not improve further in the cellar. The best experiences this year have been produced by Krug, whose blend exceptionally is half Chardonnay. For friends of Pinot Noir, the best win

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1981 Many notable technological advances happened in 1981 one of the most exciting was the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia. This was also the first year that the Word Internet was mentioned and MS-DOS was released by Microsoft along with the first IBM PC. On the world stage the events that captured the imagination included Lady Diana Spencer marrying Charles The Prince of Wales. In Politics a little known group before Solidarity inspire popular protests and a general strike in Poland and the government in the UK starts the process of privatization of Nationalized Industries which is later followed by many other countries around the world.

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The best wines of the 1981 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Krug Clos du Mesnil 96.5 Krug Champagne, France
2 Vieilles Vignes Françaises 95.7 Bollinger Champagne, France
3 Cristal Rosé 95.5 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
4 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 95.0 Bertani Verona, Italy
5 Vinothèque Blanc de Blancs 95.0 Deutz Champagne, France
6 Champagne Charlie Vinothèque 94.7 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
7 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 94.5 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
8 Cristal 94.4 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
9 Krug Collection 94.1 Krug Champagne, France
10 Romanée Conti 94.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
11 Meursault Clos-de-la-barre 94.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
12 La Mission Haut Brion 94.0 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
13 R.D. Bollinger 94.0 Bollinger Champagne, France
14 Unico 93.7 Bodegas Vega Sicilia Ribera el Duero, Spain
15 Krug Vintage 93.6 Krug Champagne, France
16 Comtes de Champagne Rosé 93.5 Taittinger Champagne, France
17 Comtes de Champagne 93.5 Taittinger Champagne, France
18 Château Gilette 93.3 Château Gilette Bordeaux, France
19 Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 93.0 Mas de Daumas Gassac Languedoc-Roussillon, France
20 Brunello di Montalcino 93.0 Soldera Montalcino, Italy
21 Vintage Brut 93.0 Lanson Champagne, France
22 Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg 93.0 Weingut Karthäuserhof Ruwer, Germany
23 Blanc de Blancs 93.0 Deutz Champagne, France
24 Barolo Monfortino Riserva 93.0 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
25 Château Musar 93.0 Château Musar Ghazir, Lebanon
26 Cuvee Baccarat 93.0 Henriot Champagne, France
27 Champagne Charlie 92.8 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
28 Grands Echézeaux 92.5 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
29 Le Pin 92.5 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
30 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Secret des Sabon 92.0 Roger Sabon Rhône, France
31 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 92.0 Weingut J. J. Prüm Mosel, Germany
32 Dom Ruinart 92.0 Ruinart Champagne, France
33 Vina Tondonia Gran Reserva 92.0 Lopez de Heredia Rioja, Spain
34 Hill of Grace 92.0 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
35 Lafite-Rothschild 92.0 Château Lafite-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
36 Millésimé 92.0 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
37 Mount Edelstone 91.5 Henschke Eden Valley, Australia
38 Brut Royal 91.5 Pommery Champagne, France
39 Late Bottled Vintage 91.0 Niepoort Douro, Portugal
40 Cabernet Merlot 91.0 Cullen Wines Margaret River, Australia
41 Mas La Plana Cabernet Sauvignon 91.0 Torres Penedès, Spain
42 Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 90.7 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley, United States
43 Tignanello 90.5 Antinori Tuscany, Italy
44 Pétrus 90.3 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
45 Barbaresco 90.0 Angelo Gaja Barbaresco, Italy
46 Beaune Clos des Couchereaux 1er Cru 90.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
47 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc 90.0 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
48 Chardonnay Reserve 90.0 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley, United States
49 d'Yquem 89.8 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
50 Montrachet 89.5 Maison Louis Latour Burgundy, France
51 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 89.5 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande Bordeaux, France
52 Cheval Blanc 89.3 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
53 Tertre Roteboeuf 89.0 Château Tertre Roteboeuf Bordeaux, France
54 Cabernet Sauvignon 89.0 Petaluma South Australia, Australia
55 Verdelho Reserva 89.0 D'Oliveiras Madeira Madeira, Portugal
56 Millésime 89.0 Henriot Champagne, France
57 Grange Hermitage 88.7 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
58 Château Margaux 88.7 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
59 Sassicaia 88.7 Tenuta San Guido Tuscany, Italy
60 Château Mouton-Rothschild 88.6 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
61 Montrose 88.5 Château Montrose Bordeaux, France
62 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc 88.3 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
63 Vintage 88.0 Chartogne-Taillet Champagne, France
64 890 Gran Reserva 88.0 La Rioja Alta Rioja, Spain
65 Brut Millésime Rosé 88.0 Deutz Champagne, France
66 Richebourg 88.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
67 Mazoyeres-Chambertin Grand Cru 88.0 Camus Père & Fils Bourgogne, France
68 Hardy's Nottage Hill Cabernet Shiraz 88.0 Thomas Hardy & Sons South Australia, Australia
69 Domaine de Chevalier 88.0 Domaine de Chevalier Pessac Leognan, France
70 Château Brane-Cantenac 88.0 Château Brane-Cantenac Bordeaux, France
71 Collection 87.2 Taittinger Champagne, France
72 Château Latour 87.0 Château Latour Bordeaux, France
73 Romanee Saint Vivant 87.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
74 Château Haut-Brion 87.0 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
75 Château Canon 87.0 Château Canon St. Emilion, France
76 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 87.0 Biondi Santi Tuscany, Italy
77 Château Smith Haut Lafitte 87.0 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Bordeaux, France
78 Château Palmer 86.7 Château Palmer Bordeaux, France
79 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Cèdres Rouge 86.0 Paul Jaboulet & Âiné Rhône, France
80 Cabernet Sauvignon 86.0 Château Reynella McLaren Valley, Australia
81 Mount Eden Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 86.0 Mount Eden Vineyards Santa Cruz Mountains, United States
82 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réservée 86.0 Roger Sabon Rhône, France
83 Château Coutet 86.0 Château Coutet Sauternes, France
84 Barolo 85.0 Borgogno Piedmont, Italy
85 Léoville-Las Cases 85.0 Château Léoville-Las Cases Saint-Julien, France
86 Amarone della Valpolicella 85.0 Roberto Mazzi Veneto, Italy
87 Chardonnay 85.0 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley, United States
88 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey 84.0 Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey Bordeaux, France
89 Zinfandel 83.0 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley, United States
90 Château Ausone 82.5 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
91 Black Label 78.0 Wolf Blass South Eastern, Australia
92 Barca Velha 76.0 Casa Ferreirinha Douro, Portugal
93 Montrachet 0.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
94 Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz 0.0 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
95 Lafleur 0.0 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
96 Château Cos d'Estournel 0.0 Château Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux, France
97 Chalone Pinot Blanc 0.0 Chalone Monterey, United States


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