x
  • Country ranking ?

    307
  • Producer ranking ?

    7
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    enjoy without 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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1982 was a milestone for the Bordeaux trade.

It came after the difficult decade of the 1970s. A decade marked through the Bordeaux crisis with the 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 that the 1982 were offered in the spring of 1983 and 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 most of all, thanks to an exceptionally hot period at the end of August and the first half of September. It was this heat that made it possible for this record size harvest to, not only to fully ripen, but also to concentrate the fruit.

The harvest started on September 14th and was finished before heavy rains commenced on October 2nd.

Another reason for the succes of the vintage was that most châteaux had invested in their cellars and were able to work such a large and hot harvest. One was now able to control the fermentation temperatures better than in earlier hot vintages like 1947.

The grapes produced wines with such a high natural alcohol that chaptalization became unnecessary, they showed deep colour, high and unusually soft tannin levels, a better acidity than at first feared and most of all – great concentration of fruit. The media hype was great, particularly thanks to the advent of new wine magazines - this was the vintage that cemented Robert Parkers reputation. The prices rose rapidly and have never looked back since. I remember all premier crus (including Pétrus) being offered to end consumers for around 50 Euro en-primeur in 1983.

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The Story

Château Le Pin, or simply Le Pin, is an unclassed Bordeaux wine from the appellation Pomerol. There has never been an official classification of Pomerol. Even so, Chateau Le Pin commands prices that put it at levels equal to the best wines of Bordeaux. The unusually small estate is located on the Right Bank of France’s Gironde estuary, and its wine is periodically one of the world's most expensive red wines. Le Pin was the first of the "garage wines" or microchateau that have become cult collector wines. These wines defy the traditional classifications.
 

Madame Laubie, whose family had owned the plot since 1924 sold the vineyard in 1979 to the Belgian Thienpont family for 1 million francs. Developed by Marcel and Gérard Thienpont on less than 2 hectares, wine was produced by microcuvée from a farmhouse basement. The property was given the name Le Pin by the Thienponts from a solitary pine tree that shades the property. By acquiring tiny adjoining plots of land, Jacques has doubled the size of Le Pin to five acres.

Occasionally the most expensive wine in the world, continually receiving high ratings from wine critics and produced in extremely small numbers, Le Pin bottles are a constant presence on the wine auction market. Le Pin produces just 600 to 700 cases each year.
Currently managed by Jacques Thienpont, additional tiny plots of land have been acquired. Some years no wine is produced.

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Wine Information

Château Le Pin 1982/ Annual production is very low, less than 600 cases, but in 1982 only 250 cases. Le Pin’s auction record is for a case of 1982 Chateau Le Pin, which fetched 88.000€.

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

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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

2019 2017 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000 1995
9 880€ +5.9% 9 332€ +6.3% 8 778€ +55.9% 5 632€ +13.7% 4 954€ +15.6% 4 285€ -3.5% 4 442€ +23.8% 3 587€ +34.8% 2 660€ +51.1% 1 760€ +82.2% 966€

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

32 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Bright

ending

Endless, Smooth and Lingering

flavors

Coffee, Blackberry, Blackcurrant, Toasty, Mineral and Licorice

nose

Intense, Complex, Seductive and Ripe

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Concentrated, Well-structured, Youthful, Full-bodied, Focused, Ripe, Harmonious and Silky tannins

Verdict

Good everyday wine and Well made

Written Notes

Now the Emperor was just showing off, pulling out a spectacularly good bottle of 1982 Le Pin. I have an on-again, off-again love affair with Le Pin. Some vintages are everything I could ever want, yet others I find disappointing, bordering on uninteresting. This ’82 was an exciting bottle. ‘From strength to strength,’ was said, and this was a perfect bottle. It was rich, chocolaty, chunky and lush. Chocolate merged into chocolate bar in the mouth, with more raisin and nut flavors. I never had an ’82 Le Pin this good; it was delicious (97).
  • 97p

Tasted at the Pomerol Comparative Exploration tasting in London, the 1982 Le Pin is a wine that I have tasted only twice before, once in Los Angeles and the other in Hong Kong. Now here in London, compared to the 1982 Petrus and Lafleur, it is astonishing how different it comes across. It boasts an astonishing rich and exotic bouquet, which is akin to checking into a five-star hotel. You find your penthouse suite a little ostentatious but to hell with it...the luxury! You are almost overwhelmed by the sensual aromas of kirsch, blueberry, crème de cassis and camphor all beautifully defined. The palate is the richest of the three "big" Pomerol by some stretch, laden with glycerine, velvety in texture with rounded blueberry and blackberry intermingling with ferrous notes on the long finish. Is it a typical Pomerol? Not at all. However, it is a stunning wine after 34-years and you have to admire the audacity of Jacques Thienpont's creation, a wine that did so much to put not just Le Pin, but Pomerol on the map.

  • 96p

Thick, deep and sweet. Big, rich and so sweet it almost has coconut flavours. Very succulent texture. Not fine, but certainly attention-grabbing.

  • 95p

A wine I never thought I'd be able to taste, and I was certainly glad I did. The nose, with its cherry pipe tobacco, floral, mint, oyster shell, wet earth, cherry and mocha was an easy hook. But the sexy, silky, exotic textures, purity of fruit, and velvet finish brought it all the way home. Fully mature, if you have extremely wealthy friends with a bottle or two, have them pull a cork, as there is no reason to age this any longer.

  • 98p

You have chocolate, truffles, coffee on the bouquet. It is an expectedly sweet wine, old vine Merlot evidently on the palate, quite dense, flowers and oyster shells at the mid palate. Silky textures, exotic, velvety on the palate. The wine has been described as producing fireworks on the palate (akin in descriptions to the Cheval ’47 at its zenith -- which it may be just now slightly past depending on the bottling), to being almost carnal in its allure. The bloom seemed to have faded somewhat, or to be fair, perhaps it was less enchanting given the company it was keeping. It still has sass and sex appeal and a seductive, alluring finish, but perhaps we can concede it is no longer at the peak of its prowess or allure. 95 Points

  • 95p
D 3 h / G 2 h Being able to taste this legendary wine next to another legend of Pértus 1982, I feel very priviledged. I can’t believe saying this but between these two wines Pétrus seems like a shadow to Le Pin, for now. Le Pin has everything one might possible ask for from a majestetic wine. It has a similar colour to Pétrus – moderately intense and brick red. But while the nose of Pétrus was reserved, Le Pin explodes from the glass. Le Pin has so expressive, complex, and rich nose delivering classic Pomerol aromas of ripe plums, licorice, fruit cake, violets, and truffles with intense and warm New World twist. The palate is big and as explosive as the nose. Rich medium-bodied wine shows freshness of extracted ripe dark fruits, firm tannins and lively acidity all in great balance with satiny texture forming long lingering and fleshy finish. Superb intensity, true charmer. Drinking fabulously now but will keep until 2020.
  • 100p
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Information

Origin

Pomerol, Bordeaux

Vineyard size

5 ha

Grapes

100% Merlot

Age of vines

30 years

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Very good

Ageing

  • in oak 100% for new years and 18 months

When bottled

1983

Release state price

20€ bottle

Investment potential

Excellent

Fake factory

Serious

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

18

Inside Information

In 1982, Le Pin consisted of a single hectare, next to a pine tree. Jacques Thienpont, from a Belgian family with extensive interests in the wine trade in Bordeaux, had recognised the quality of the soil some years earlier. The original idea was to incorporate the parcel into Vieux Château Certan close by, but when that didn’t work out, Jacques and his father and uncle contrived to buy the vineyard in 1979; it later fell into Jacques’ ownership, with a small share being held by Alexandre Thienpont of Vieux Château Certan. In 1984 Jacques was able to buy a second hectare, but today the total area under vine still stands at a modest 2.7ha.

The vintage

Bordeaux enjoyed a superb growing season; there was some rain in September, probably beneficial, but much of the Merlot had already been picked by then. The lush, full-bodied wines were criticised by some as too Napa-like in style, and indeed some wines, picked at high yields, are now in decline. Many others, though mature, are still going strong.

The terroir

Le Pin’s vines are located on one of the highest sectors of the Pomerol plateau. Its neighbours include Vieux Château Certan, Petit Village and Trotanoy. The soil is essentially gravelly, although there are patches of sand and clay on an iron-rich base. The gravel ensures excellent drainage. Despite the small size of Le Pin, variations in the soil result in varying bunch sizes and dates of maturation. In 1982, one third of the vines had been planted as recently as 1978 – a remarkably high proportion for a wine of this grandeur.

The wine

Jacques Thienpont was taught how to make wine by his uncle Léon, and he has seen no reason to veer from that tried-and-tested path. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel. If he requires more concentration, he may bleed some tanks, and in vintages when acidity is low, he will return some very ripe stalks to the tanks. Extraction is by traditional pumpovers. The malolactic fermentation has always been conducted in barriques, not out of conviction that it results in better wine, but because in the old cellars there was nowhere else to put the wine for this purpose. Le Pin spends between 14 and 16 months in new oak, with traditional rackings; it is bottled without filtration.

The reaction

Michael Broadbent tasted the wine in November 1983, finding it ‘rich and fruity’, and confessed he had no idea this was an infant cult wine. In 2001 he tasted it again: ‘Glorious nose, very distinctive; sweet, soft, velvety, full of fruit. Fragrant.’

 

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Highlights

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