x
  • Country ranking ?

    622
  • Producer ranking ?

    11
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2050
  • Food Pairing

    hearty Mediterranean food

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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The Story

Since the 17th Century, the first wine of Château Margaux has been recognised as being one of the greatest wines in the entire world. It owes its unique qualities to the genius of its terroir as well as to the passionate work of a succession of generations. It’s a remarkable wine that comes from a combination of characteristics that are only rarely found: finesse, elegance, complexity, density, intensity, length and freshness. Although its tannic concentration may be exceptional, it’s rare to detect astringency.  

The great vintages are distinguished by their formidable ability to move us. The lesser vintages give pleasure to wise enthusiasts. They offer the advantage of evolving very rapidly and, reveal, after a few years, instead of power, this subtlety that is the prerogative of great terroirs.  Château Margaux has an extraordinary ability to evolve. Over the years, it has developed a finesse, an aromatic complexity and a remarkable presence on the palate.

 

Château Margaux has sought to achieve excellence in its wines for over 400 years now through painstaking and necessarily long studies of its terroir, through a constant desire to learn and innovate, by remaining sensitive to demanding markets, and above all through a passionate commitment that has been shared by the families that have succeeded each other at the estate. At the end of the 17th century, it became part of the nascent elite “First Growths” – long before being established officially by the Classification of 1855. Since then, Château Margaux has known fame and fortune, seeing by experience how ephemeral both are.

The estate has 200 acres under vine. Each plot and each variety are treated differently from pruning throughout the growing season. Chateau Margaux’ goal is to nurture and maintain vines for as long as possible, as they believe vines need to reach 20 years of age to produce great wine. The estate is constantly trying to understand through experimentation how to improve soil health and fruit quality. Today, no insecticides are used, there is an important balance of healthy insects to counter pests, and any number of experiments with ploughing, organic farming, and biodynamic applications are ongoing. A final key point to note, Margaux has for the last 30+ years had among the lowest yields in the Medoc.

The wine was aged for 15 months, in 10% new oak and 90% second use barrels. Because of the particularities of the vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon made up an extremely high 88% of the blend, with Merlot only 12% of the blend. Importantly, the wine is held in bottle until ready to drink, which may not mean that vintages are released sequentially.

 

 

 

 

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Wine Information

This 1982 vintage heralded a new era of perhaps unprecedented prosperity for Bordeaux, thanks to a run of extraordinary vintages and the opening up of international markets, the first of which was the United States, together with the Japanese market which was of no small importance. To find a previous vintage of comparable quality, we have to go back to 1961. The 1982 vintage can therefore be considered as the first representative of a new generation of wines which are enjoyable to drink in their youth but which lose none of their ability to age a long time

Weather
Throughout the whole year, the weather conditions were very favourable for the vines and for the ripening of the grapes. After an early flowering, the summer was particularly hot, especially in July and during the first two weeks of September. The grapes reached outstanding ripeness levels with, among other feats, a record concentration in sugar. (The picking began 20th September)


 

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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

2020 2015 2010 2005 2000 1995
910€ +2.2% 890€ +58.9% 560€ +73.9% 322€ +52.6% 211€ +137.1% 89€

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

57 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Full, Ruby red and Healthy

ending

Long, Pure and Lingering

flavors

Blackcurrant, Cigar-box, Coffee, Toasty, Cedar and Perfumed

nose

Intense, Refined, Complex and Seductive

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Medium tannin, Complex, Balanced, Good texture, Developing, Medium-bodied, Sharp, Elegant, Focused, Vigor, Dry and Silky tannins

Verdict

Intelligent and Fine

Written Notes

We transitioned to the remaining four First Growths in the next flight, beginning with a phenomenal bottle of 1982 Margaux (sourced from Chateau). The Margaux had a pungent nose, and its t ‘n a jumped out at first. It also had cinnamon, iron, rock and gorgeous perfume. It was ‘beyond licorice’ according to Dan, and Australian John admired its ‘cherry liqueur.’ The palate was rocky without the horror but with the picture show, ‘not its usual feminine self,’ Ray observed. Though spiny and long, the Margaux was still stylish with a touch of that Maraux elegance. This was a great bottle of this wine, and it ended up being wine of the flight
  • 97p
Fine-looking magnum. Decanted for two hours. We were very impressed when we first tasted this wine almost 15 years ago. Since then we have been just as impressed every time we have tasted it. This, the most recent magnum tasted, makes us feel even more impressed, for the wine is truly hitting its peak now. Every bit as full-bodied and vigorous as we recall from earlier tastings. Well-balanced and full of meaning. Still remarkably young and intense, displaying the depth and extract of this fine vintage and this eminent property. A solid wine with generous flavours of black fruits, coffee, cedar wood, and cigar leaf. A long, bit sweet and elegant finish that goes on and on alluring the palate. A reliable choice.
  • 97p

Château Margaux 1982 is a very powerful, fleshy and complex wine. The bouquet is already outstandingly rich and dense. The impression on the palate is at once of great power, roundness and suppleness. Such a balance is rare. Undoubtedly, a very long-ageing wine, but which already possesses a lot of charm. We can start drinking it now, but there is really no hurry...

Well-coloured garnet. Initial nose is still surprisingly oaky and youthful. Under that sweet spice, there’s a touch of leather and dried herbs but the sweetness persists. So silky and plenty of bright expressive sweet red fruit with a delicate leathery overlay. Very very long, and its the fruit that persists not the tannin. Spreads across the palate and extends way back like water filling every nook and cranny. (JH)

  • 95p

Ruby. Blueberries, some cassis, anise, some spices, minerals, detailed, nuanced, floral, bright and exotic nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, fruity, dark berries, nuanced, detailed, layered, spices, juicy, long. 99

  • 99p

This bottle was a beauty. Silky in texture, with a floral, dark cherry, truffle and tobacco nose, the wine was concentrated, long and fresh. The finish felt as good as it tasted, with its depth, refinement and class. This is really drinking at close to peak today, where it should remain for years, if well stored.

  • 97p

Throwing off past reports of its premature decline, or complaints that it was a burly, plodding wine, over the last several years this has been burgeoning and blossoming, and was on a significant majority of our lists as one of the top four wines of the evening. Boysenberry, cassis, Margaux spices, dark chocolate, all embrace and collaborate ravishingly on the bouquet. You have opening notes of graphite and licorice, silky tannins and translucent fruit, sweet and yet seamless at and past the mid palate. Violets and rose petals perfume the palate almost, some candied orange peel, and just layers of red and black fruit, all effortlessly rallied for a persistent, seductive finish that so bountifully evokes Margaux’s brilliance. 98 Points+

  • 98p

This was my very first foray into the grand vin experience with bottled history.  This elegantly soft, refined Bordeaux ended with a parade of freshly ripened strawberries and cherries in a rich silky texture.  Incredibly memorable. 100 pts

  • 100p

A great wine in a great vintage. Dark garnet red colour. Excellent nose with hints of mild spices, slightly balmy character, freshly grated dark chocolate, with fine Margaux fragrance of almost floral style. On the palate fine and persistent, with good tannin structure, great depth, excellent freshness although an opulent touch in the finish.

  • 99p

I anxiously awaited the Margaux; it’s one of my favorites due to the big perfumed nose and typical elegance on the palate. Once again, the nose seemed to have faded due to being opened for quite a while; but the traditional elements were definitely there – cedar, tobacco and spice with flowery notes – just a little less potent than normal. On the palate, it shows nice black cherry fruit with berry undertones, lots of earthy elements, tobacco and some minerality. The laid back elegance was there, but the wine ran a little flat into the finish and lacked a bit of oomph. Very good, not great… perhaps a little less than expected, but still a fantastic wine. Parker most recently gave it a 98; I’ll go with a 92.

  • 92p
“1982 today is less evolved than the 1961 was when I tasted it in 1983,” said Pontallier of this famous vintage. He also spoke of 1982’s high temperatures, huge yields and franc/dollar exchange rate, all of which contributed to a fortuitous and landmark vintage that changed the way Bordeaux was made and sold. Contraidcting Pontallier, Michael Broadbent MW (who was in attendance) reckoned the 1982 was “showing its age a bit.” It does appear to have peaked, and is not as fresh as the 1983, which might go further yet. Bottles of the ’82 might be even more developed. Opulent and voluptuous, à la 1989, but just starting to fade a bit.
  • 95p
Good looking magnum size bottle and in an faulty condition.
- (Tasting note created by Tb's AI)
  • 90p
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Information

Origin

Margaux, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Outstanding

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

Very Good

Inside Information

Bordeaux Book, 4th Edition 
Jan 2003
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 98+ Drink: 2003 - 2035 $424-$2431
At one time I thought the 1983 was the more classic and better effort from Chateau Margaux, but I am human, and the 1982 has overtaken the 1983, and is obviously the superior effort. It started off life as a somewhat ruggedly constructed, powerful, masculine, even coarse style of Chateau Margaux with high levels of tannin, huge extract, and richness. Increasingly civilized, with the tannin becoming seamlessly integrated, this opaque purple/garnet-colored wine offers up hints of incense, sweet truffles, smoke, black currants, flowers, and damp earth. Very full-bodied, with remarkable levels of glycerin, extract, and tannin, this is probably the largest-scaled, most concentrated Chateau Margaux under the Mentzelopoulos administration. It is doubtful it will ever rival the 1990.996, or 2000 for pure finesse or elegance, and in spite of its high levels of tannin, does not seem to have the classicism of these vintages, but this wine goes from strength to strength and is quickly becoming one of the all-time compelling efforts of Chateau Margaux. Anticipated maturity: Now-2035. Last tasted, 12/02.
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92p
 Juha Lihtonen / The Best Scandinavian Sommelier 2003, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Château Margaux 1982  ( Château Margaux )

"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"

8y 9m ago

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