x
  • Country ranking ?

    417
  • Producer ranking ?

    2
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2040
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

1982 versus 1990 Bordeaux

When you receive an invitation to a comparative tasting of all Premier Crus from the two great vintages of 1982 and 1990, you drop everything and clear your diary. 1982 and 1990 represent the beginning and end of perhaps the greatest era in the history of Bordeaux. During these nine years there were only two vintages that could be seen as disappointments: 1984 and 1987. It could rightly be stated that the period from 1945 to 1953 produced similarly great wines; this is true for the top wines, but the overall quality reached new heights during the 1980s.

1982 was a milestone for the Bordeaux trade, coming as it did after the difficult decade of the 1970s, which was marked by the Bordeaux crisis, and the ensuing collapse of the 1972 bubble, the oil crisis and rapid inflation. On top of this there were a series of disappointing vintages.The financial markets had stabilised by the time the 1982 wines were offered in the spring of 1983, and by this time there was a large new group of potential wine buyers. There had been an influx of new magazines about wine and good living, and the public was ready to spend money. The American Dollar was high against a weak French Franc and, most of all, the wines were spectacular.

There were several reasons for this.

An early, even flowering, a warm but unspectacular summer and an exceptionally hot period during the end of August and the first half of September. It was this heat that made it possible for the record harvest to not only to fully ripen, but also to concentrate the fruit.  The harvest started on September 14 and was finished before heavy rains commenced on October 2. Another reason for the success of the vintage was that most châteaux had invested in their cellars and were able to work such a large and hot harvest. It was now possible to control the fermentation temperatures better than in earlier hot vintages, such as 1947. The grapes produced wines with such high natural alcohol that chaptalization became unnecessary. They showed deep colour, high and unusually soft tannin levels and a better acidity than first thought, as well as great fruit concentration. The media hype was great, particularly thanks to the advent of new wine magazines - this was the vintage that cemented Robert Parker’s reputation. The prices rose rapidly and have not looked back since. I remember all Premier Crus (including Pétrus) being offered to end consumers for around 50 euros en-primeur in 1983.

The scene when the 1990 vintage came along was quite different. There was a surplus of very good to great wine on the market – for the first time there was talk of three great vintages following one another. This lead to most châteaux lowering their prices by about 20 per cent compared to their 1989 prices, even though the quality was outstanding. There had been a steady increase in prices during the 1980s, but they were now more or less back to the opening prices of the 1982s. It was again a record harvest, but because most châteaux had by now introduced a ‘second wine’ and due to the fact they were more selective with regards to quality, there was actually less wine being bottled as ‘Grand Vin’ than in 1982.

We have been following both these vintages from a comparatively early age, as they were both precocious and easy to drink from the start. The top wines from both vintages are spectacular, but the overall quality is much higher in 1990. Here the wines were equally successful on both sides of the river, and even minor châteaux produced something special. We have always found most 1982s from the right bank to be too alcoholic and lacking in structure; indeed many are now ageing rapidly.

So, which vintage would claim victory?

It was easy in the case of Château Mouton Rothschild to pick the winner, given their 1990 has always been the disappointment of the vintage. It is now maturing rapidly and should be drunk or, even better, sold to someone who only cares for the name on the label. The 1982, on the other hand, was always seen as one of the stars of the vintage. Deep coloured with a great concentration of up-front fruit. Good, fresh acidity and a long finish. The only thing that worries me a little is the massive amount of tannins still present.

The 1990 Château Lafite Rothschild is a lovely and charming wine, full of warmth and style. A classic, elegant Lafite. It is ready to drink now and will bring pleasure for some time to come. The 1982 Lafite is ‘The Superstar’ in the eyes of the Chinese and this has led to the wine reaching new record prices at every auction in Hong Kong and beyond. The wine is very good – more concentrated than the 1990 and still very youthful.  We would call this a draw.

1990 Château Haut Brion is one of our favourite wines – a heady nose of tobacco, spices and leather. Lovely, soft fruit and ready to drink now, but don’t be fooled – this will age forever, just like the 1959 and 1961 Haut Brions. The 1982 Haut Brion is also a beautiful, charming wine, offering great drinking pleasure, but it does not quite have the exotic charm of the 1990. 

Drink soon as we don’t see it improving with age. Victory for 1990.

The bottle of 1990 Château Margaux was not a good bottle; the wine had a mature colour and lacked the usual structure and freshness. This is normally a good, soft wine, so we assume that this bottle had been stored under conditions that were too warm. The 1982 was also now quite mature with soft fruit and needs drinking soon. In this case it is a win for the 1982, although normally we would call it a draw.

Château Latour is usually the wine that needs the longest of all the Premier Crus to show its true class. 1990 was unusually soft and not at all typical of a Latour at an early age. It is a very good wine with soft tannins and great balance. Château Latour produced, for me, the greatest of all 1982s. A fantastic, mind-blowing wine, which combined the classic Pauillac style and backbone with spectacularly concentrated and sensuous fruit. It was joy to drink now and will continue to be so for the next hundred years. Another win for 1982.

Both 1990 and 1982 Château Ausone showed mature colour, nose and fruit.Both were quite pleasant to drink but not really up to Premier Cru standard in either vintage. A draw.

We have often given the 1990 Château Cheval Blanc a perfect score in blind tastings, as this is one of the most hedonistic wines we have ever had the pleasure to drink. We have compared it to Sophia Loren in the 1960s – soft, round, voluptuous, sexy and not a hard edge anywhere in sight. This is the uncrowned successor to Cheval Blanc’s legendary 1947. 

We have, on the other hand, never quite understood the constant raving about Cheval Blanc’s 1982. A very overrated wine for us – too alcoholic and overripe. In fact, it is always lacking the structure necessary to be really good. Not bad, but certainly nowhere as good as its reputation. A clear victory for 1990.

1990 Château Pétrus is a fabulous monument of a wine. Indeed, it displays the deepest colour of all. Still quite closed, but a giant waiting to come out and blow us all away. Very, very long finish. A great wine! The 1982 Pétrus is a wine with a fantastic reputation that, similar to the Cheval Blanc, has never really impressed me. Soft, mature and attractive but lacking the structure of a great wine. Another clear victory for 1990.

The luncheon was rounded off in style with Château d'Yquem from both vintages. 1982 was a difficult vintage for Sauternes, being caught as it did by the copious rains of October. Lightweight and really not very good. The 1990 is an opulent, soft and forward Yquem. Attractive and ready to drink now. 1990 prevails again.

All in all a wonderful afternoon with marvellous wines where, in our eyes, this time 1990 showed itself to be the more complete vintage.

by Tb

 

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The Story

Château Pichon Longueville de Lalande is ideally situated between the Gironde estuary and the Atlantic Ocean. The variety of parcels of land, due to the elements of the earth and their encepagement explains the complexity of the personality of the wines of Pichon. Since the end of the 1970's, the reputation of Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has acquired the status of a "super second" and a "nearly first", in light of the consistency of its quality.

The unique encepagement and the twelve hectares of vines situated on the soils of St Julien endow the wines of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande with an exceptional personality compared with the other crus of the Pauillac appellation. Complexity, elegance and longevity are the hallmarks of this race, they are found every year during the creation of the vintages..

The nose is distinguished by a bouquet of aromas, mixing blackcurrant and violet, vanilla and cinnamon. In the palate, the tannins appear mature and melted, revealing a strong and affirmed structure, a surprising suppleness, perfect harmony and long persistency. The wine is seductive when young without prejudicing its longevity. James Laubé of the Wine Spectator baptised Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, "A First Class Second Cru", a most fitting tribute...

 

Pichon-Longueville Lalande is a 75-hectare property that produces on average 36,000 cases per year. Located in the east of the Pauillac appellation, the vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 45%, Merlot 35%, Cabernet Franc 12%, Petit Verdot 8%) lie on deep gravel beds underpinned by clay and then sandstone and limestone (part of these vineyards actually reside in the St-Julien appellation). The wine is fermented in stainless steel cuvées and then matured in oak barriques (50% new) for 18 months.

Pichon-Longueville Lalande is not as powerful or as tannic as some its Pauillac neighbours and this is mainly because of its relatively high Merlot content. In the best years, it is one of the most exotic and voluptuously scented wines of the Médoc. At least a decade of cellaring is required before the wines should be approached.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

28 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Healthy

ending

Long, Smooth and Flavorful

flavors

Blackcurrant, Toasty, Licorice, Blackberry, Blueberry and Plum

nose

Open, Complex, Refined and Opulent

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Well-structured, Complex, Perfectly balanced, Youthful, Medium-bodied, Harmonious, Rich, Full, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Sophisticated and Impressive

Written Notes

We ended where it arguably all began with a pair of 1982 Bordeaux, specifically a 1982 Pichon Lalande. It was a great bottle, but tighter than I ever remembered it being. There were aromas of peanut brittle, caramel, nutter butter, green bean and a pinch of thigh cream. This was long, elegant and solid, but I definitely felt like I should have opened it up a few hours earlier. This was still my nutty buddy (95).
  • 95p

A bit lighter in color and a brown edge. Classic perfumed nose of earth, leather lifted with dried flowers and exotics, although a little faint by the time we got to it (3 hours after decanting), great balance between the generous black cherry-cassis fruit and structural, earthy elements. Good length. Very pleasing, but could have used a bit more concentration. Still, a great wine. Parker moved his scores up on this wine over time, ending at a 94. I’d go just a tad lower, perhaps a 93.

  • 93p
Bordeaux vintage 1982 Dinner at Restaurant Daniel / Château Pichon-lalande 1982 / Here is a spellbinding wine, soaring from the glass with aromas of currants, smoked meat, truffles, oregano perhaps, this wine is wrapped in nuanced, alluring velvet. Chocolate, earth and cassis dance together at the mid palate, and it radiates a freshness and depth that are just exuberant. Here the Merlot-Cabernet partnership has flourished unforgettably, with cherries, red berries, pepper all beating the drums on the lavish, lingering finish. It is one of the wines of the vintage and is going from strength to strength. 97 Points
  • 97p

Information

Origin

Pauillac, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

None

Glass Time

2h

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

93p
 Michael Jones, Wine Blogger (United States)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

A bit lighter in color and a brown edge. Classic perfumed nose of earth, leather lifted with dried flowers and exotics, although a little faint by the time we got to it (3 hours after decanting), great balance between the generous black cherry-cassis fruit and structural, earthy elements. Good length. Very pleasing, but could have used a bit more concentration. Still, a great wine. Parker moved his scores up on this wine over time, ending at a 94. I’d go just a tad lower, perhaps a 93.

3m 15d ago

99p
 Manuel Lamblotte, Wine Lover (Belgium)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"Amazing when being able to taste a Chateau Pichon Comtesse 1982 in Perfect condition.
The nose is intense and crazy complex: black fruit,precious wood,, Havana, sweet pepper, smoked...
Mouth still very dense, attack sweet, fresh and amazing complexity on the nose, length xxl.
Unforgettable tasting moment that reminds you to every sip how the work of man and nature are able to create such beautiful wines full of life."

9m 1d ago

97p
 Omar Khan, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"Bordeaux vintage 1982 Dinner at Restaurant Daniel / Château Pichon-lalande 1982 / Here is a spellbinding wine, soaring from the glass with aromas of currants, smoked meat, truffles, oregano perhaps, this wine is wrapped in nuanced, alluring velvet. Chocolate, earth and cassis dance together at the mid palate, and it radiates a freshness and depth that are just exuberant. Here the Merlot-Cabernet partnership has flourished unforgettably, with cherries, red berries, pepper all beating the drums on the lavish, lingering finish. It is one of the wines of the vintage and is going from strength to strength. 97 Points "

11m 19d ago

98p
 Jan-Erik Paulson, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"1982 was avery important vintage for Bordeaux. It started an era with increasingly well made wines and increasingly high prices. It was a very large vintage as very little crop reduction was used but the grapes all managed to ripen due to perfect conditions during the harvest.
A vintage full of successes but few wines have been so loved as that of Château Pichon Lalande.

This was a joy to drink earlier than most other wines from Médoc but it has kept its form and given us wine lovers decades of joy. I have had the pleasure to drink this soft and lovely wine on several conditions but none more memorable than at a lunch at Restaurant Taillevent in honour of May-Elaine Lencquesaings 80th birthday. It has certainly reached its peak now and nothing will be gained by waiting. Well kept bottles will certainly live for a number of years still. It will need some decanting time and there is no hurry to finish your glass.
"

1y 5m ago

95p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"We ended where it arguably all began with a pair of 1982 Bordeaux, specifically a 1982 Pichon Lalande. It was a great bottle, but tighter than I ever remembered it being. There were aromas of peanut brittle, caramel, nutter butter, green bean and a pinch of thigh cream. This was long, elegant and solid, but I definitely felt like I should have opened it up a few hours earlier. This was still my nutty buddy (95)."

1y 7m ago

95p
 Frank Smulders MW, MW (Austria)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande came third in the 1982 tasting. Resembling the Mouton in structure, but with sweeter fruit on the palate, a little bit less concentration and slightly less precision in the tannins. But don’t get me wrong: a great wine without any doubt. "

2y 3d ago

96p
 Georg Linde, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

""Candy, velvet, silk. Unbelievable for a Pauillac and so elegant. Really great.""

2y 7d ago

95p
 Ray Thomsen, Wine Writer (Switzerland)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"The wine of the night at last year tasting. Giant pepper mill has been working overtime with this wine. The smell of black pepper, graphite, dry sand - so in that way is the ultra-classic things like the montrose. But this wine is more balanced, harmonious, very intense, bold and sleek at the same time - nothing to stay on, but compared to other of tonight's impression a pleaser.
"

2y 3m ago

91p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 1982  ( Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande )

"15 wines of the greatest Bordeaux vintage of the new era 1982 tasted, not impressed - is it me or the glasses that are not working"

5y 5m ago

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