x
  • Country ranking ?

    51
  • Producer ranking ?

    4
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Pork Ribs with Maize Stew

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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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

Between the estates of Pétrus and La Fleur-Pétrus, amid vineyards, stands a stone house with closed shutters. The road that winds to the house between the vine rows has no signs or indications as to the name of the place. The construction looks more like a maintenance shed for the neighbouring estates than the main building of a winery. However, this is a house that makes one of the most desirable wines in Bordeaux: Château Lafleur.

Lafleur’s wines form an interesting contrast to their neighbour, Pétrus. Their terroirs differ significantly, even though the distance between them is only 50–100 metres. Whereas Pétrus is more seductively rich, full-bodied and intense, Lafleur is charming in its elegance, femininity and subtlety.
Lafleur’s wines are delightful, but they do require aging for at least twenty years in order to display their full, nuanced character. Guinaudeau’s investments into improving quality in all of Lafleur’s functions promise an even better future for the friends of Lafleur. Although tasting the 1947, 1950, 1961, 1975 or 1982, one can only wonder whether Lafleur’s wines could get any better?

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Wine Information

Lafleur is a single-vineyard wine with exceptional terroir qualities. Firstly, it is located on a very gentle amphitheatrical slope to the north of Pétrus. The soil is clearly more gravelly and brown than the red clay at Pétrus. A comprehensive soil analysis in 1998 found that the estate comprises as many as five different types: the northwest has brown gravel, the south is more clay-based and sandy gravel, and the east has sandy clay with some gravel. In the middle is a mixture of all of those. These have completely different conditions in terms of the grapes’ ripening, size and concentration. The concentration is also affected by the old vines, with their average age of thirty years. The oldest vines actually go back five decades. We work the vineyard as four different plots, even though they go towards a single wine. We grow two varieties, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, but the differences in soil result in very different grapes within each variety. This diversity is the secret to Lafleur’s greatness,” Guinaudeau explains.

Unbelievably rich, plummy nose. Drenched damsons. Glorious meaty taste. Very young and 'irony'. Coffee bean finish. Faultless. Then tasted from magnum, classic nose showing the Cabernet Franc that, of course, is not in Petrus. Great finesse and elegance. So meaty and so beautifully silky, with lots of liquorice. Fans out with extraordinary flavour. Firmer than Petrus when I saw them together. Serena Sutcliffe, MW WA 100

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Vintage 1982

The 1982 vintage in Bordeaux changed the wine world as well as changed my life. It was the first vintage I tasted from barrel as a young wine writer working for the American magazine The Wine Spectator, and I was amazed how gorgeous the quality of a young red could be from barrel.

I remember the first barrel samples I tasted during the summer of 1983 at Chateau Prieure-Lichine with the late wine author and vintner Alexis Lichine. The wines were so fruity with soft and rich tannins. They seemed too drinkable for a young wine, yet Lichine who had over forty years of experience tasting young wines told me the wines were “exceptional” and “some of the greatest young wines ever produced.”

He had invited some of his winemaking pals from the Medoc to a lunch at his chateau following the tasting. And he kept telling them, which included such names as Bruno Prats (then Cos d’Estournel), Anthony Barton (Leoville-Barton) and Jean-Eugene Borie (Ducru-Beaucaillou) that young writers like myself were the future of the region and that they had to make me understand that 1982 was a great year. He was upset that the New York Times and some other magazines had come out saying that the new vintage was not outstanding do to it seemingly early drinkability.

It was also a time an American lawyer in his mid-30s began writing full time on wine, creating a newsletter called The Wine Advocate. Many say Robert Parker built his career on advocating the greatness of Bordeaux’s 1982 vintage, although he obviously did much more.

More importantly, 1982 vintage marked a big change in the way Bordeaux was produced. It underlined fruit and ripe tannins in reds as well as a slightly higher level of alcohol and lower, or less strong acidity – higher pH. This is what gave the wines such wonderful texture, or drinkability in their youth.

 

It was a big change from most vintages before 1982 that produced hard and tannic wines that needed years, even decades to soften. The 1982 vintage became a model vintage for red Bordeaux in the future, and arguably for the wine world at large. Think of all the fruit-forward reds that are produced today in the world – for better or for worse. Alcohols are at least two, sometimes three or four degrees higher. Tannins are stronger yet riper. And natural acidities are lower. Chapitalization – adding sugar to the fermenting grape must to increase alcohol – seems a thing of the past.

“Young wines are so drinkable now,” said Alexander Thienpont, the winemaker of Pomerol’s Vieux-Chateau-Certan and Le Pin. The latter made its reputation on early drinkability. “It’s what people expect in a modern wine today.”

I believe some of the change with the 1982 was due to the “California” like growing conditions the Bordelias spoke of at the time. The summer was extremely hot and sunny. The harvest was warm and mostly clear of precipitation. Grape yields were high with many of the best wine properties making more wine per hectare than set by French authorities. In fact, the late Jean Pierre Moueix of Chateau Petrus always told me that the 1982 vintage would have been at the same level as the 1945 or 1949 vintage if yields had been lower.

Yet, the experience of the growing season and harvest in 1982 made a whole new generation of winemakers in the region understand the importance of picking grapes later and riper. They understood early on when wine critics such as Parker and myself as well as members of the US wine trade enthused so much about the 1982 reds from barrel. This also was the beginning of the popularization of barrel scores used to purchase wines.

 

The US market was the biggest market to buy top notch Bordeaux with the 1982 vintage. It began a decade of intense buying of Bordeaux in the states with consumers buying first growth and second growth as well as Pomerols and St. Emilion. Americans regaled in the wine’s juiciness and beauty. They also made a shit load of money if they held on to the wines in sold them later. For example, most of the first growths sold for about $40 a bottle in 1983 as futures and some are now as much as $3,500 a bottle. Prices for 1982 are down slightly now,  but the price appreciation over 30 years is impressive after 30 years.

So is the quality of the wines still for the most part. I am lucky enough to drink top 1982 on a regular basis, and the best ones never cease to amaze me with their generous and complex fruit and polished, ripe tannins. Bottle variation can be a problem because many of the top names have been bought and sold and stored all over the world, but on a whole it is a treat to drink a great 1982.  And the vintage always reminds me of my beginnings in the wine world

 

James Suckling has been writing about and tasting wine for over 30 years. He worked for 28 years as a senior editor of the American wine magazine The WIne Spectator,  and in July 2010 he left to start his own website www. jamessuckling.com and wine events company. He also is wine editor of the Asia Tatler group with luxury magazines through the region including Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, and Malaysia. His specialty is Italy and Bordeaux, but he enjoys tasting and discovering wines from all over the world. His most recent great wine adventure was tasting 57 vintages of Chateau Petrus in the Hamptons, but he also just enjoyed sharing great Barolos from Bruno Giacosa, Roberto Vorezio, and Giacomo Conterno with wine lovers in Seoul.

by James Sucking

 

 

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Average Bottle Price

2017 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005
3 890€ +18.2% 3 290€ +31.1% 2 510€ +0.8% 2 490€ +4.5% 2 383€ -17.8% 2 899€ +20.3% 2 409€ +53.8% 1 566€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

31 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Medium

ending

Long, Smooth and Lingering

flavors

Voluptuous, Truffles and Blackberry

nose

Intense and Complex

recommend

Yes

taste

Balanced, Concentrated, Well-structured, Full-bodied, Ripe, Fresh, Sweet and Silky tannins

Written Notes

These bottles were both typical, the Petrus being classic and beautiful just not spectacular, and the Lafleur being jammy and kinky with lots of exotic fruit melanges. There was a bit more zip and zow in thie Lafleur than the last couple of bottles I have had. The Lafleur is as good as ’82 Pomerol can get, but it ain’t more than 95 points. Sorry.
  • 95p

a, und dann kam der helle Wahnsinn ins Glas. Diesen unglaublichen 1982 Lafleur habe ich zwischen 1988 und 2012 gut 10mal als gewaltigen Brocken und Potentialmonster im Glas gehabt. Jetzt hier aus dieser Magnum zeigte er sich trotz aller Jugend, die er immer noch verströmte, erstmals in voller Pracht und absolut perfekt. Tief dunkle Farbe ohne jeden Alterston, satte, rote und dunkle Frucht, Lakritz, Kräuter, Minze Leder, Trüffel – der Lafleur explodierte förmlich im Glas und zeigte immer neue Facetten. Präziser Hedonismus, geht das? Klar, hier ging das, hedonistische und geradezu dekadente Süße und Fülle mit sehr präzisen Konturen und gewaltigem Druck und Länge. So sehr ich ja meine Mitstreiter am Tisch mochte, diese Magnum hätte ich auch alleine aussaufen können. Klare WT100.

  • 100p

A smooth, superripe wine, full of the sweetest fruit, big and rich. It is opulent, a powerhouse of dense Merlot fruits, rounded out with soft tannins.

  • 98p

This is one of my favorite vintages of Lafleur and I am lucky to enjoy it quite regularly with friends. Exuberant and glorious, very different from the shy young Lafleur vintages during the first few decades of its life, this complex, intriguing red has so much to offer and express! Dried blakcberries, cocoa, savory, roasted herbs and spices are wrapped around plush, generous tannins. The finish is incredibly long.

  • 98p

Château Lafleur 1982 / 101 Points / This remains one of the great wines of the 20th century! Stunning in every sense and meaning of the word. The floral, truffle, cherry, black and red plum, spicy perfume is off the hook. The intensity of flavor, concentration, richness and length is worth an easy 101 Pts!

  • 100p

This was a lovely showing, however the Merlot and Cab Franc weren’t as seamlessly integrated as we experienced in London and some time back in Nantucket (2 out of 3 of those occasions were 100 Point showings). Nevertheless, their synergy was still singing here. Cherries, minerals, kirsch and licorice coalesce on the nose. A buoyant wine, fairly exotic in the interplay of its elements at the mid palate, mineral notes and truffles emerge next, and it concludes with beguiling almost sorbet-like vivacity, and a burgeoning purity alongside the remarkable concentration on the finish. 98 Points+

  • 98p
Tasted in September 2012. Oh my God what a wine! Heavenly stuff. Extremely dark and dense. Wild and incredibly intense nose with "tons" of mocha, bitter chocolate, extremely powerful on the palate with kirsch liqueur, extremely concentrated with extraordinary length. Perfect balance. So thick texture in this wine, that you could cut it in slices. Christian Moueix and Jean-Claude Berrouet from close neighbor Petrus made this wine and it shows, for 100% typical Lafleur this wine isn't. But who really cares, as this wine was, is and will be a legend for many years to come!
  • 100p
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Information

Origin

Pomerol, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

There is a possibility

Glass time

2h

Inside Information

Wine Advocate #183
Jun 2009
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: 2009 - 2030 $3242-$3694
The 1982 Lafleur, at least for my palate, while qualitatively no better than Mouton Rothschild, Latour, and La Mission Haut Brion, is off the charts in terms of the hedonistic and intellectual pleasure it gives me. I have only a few bottles remaining in my cellar, and this 1982 is still a young wine. The extraordinary intensity and purity of the kirsch liqueur and licorice, the remarkable opulence, the thickness and richness, yet the ability to seem fresh with laser-like precision are all things that must be tasted to be believed. This wine is showing a little bricking at the edge, but has off the chart concentration as well as a viscous texture and unreal purity and fruit. It is as close to some of the legendary 1947s that were produced in Pomerol as anything made in the last thirty years. This is a remarkable wine! Anticipated maturity: now-2030. Release price: ($325.00/case)

 

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