Neil's Bordeaux 1982 at Noize 23.11.22

Thank you so much for organizing this evening Neil and thank you too to everyone for bringing some lovely wines and for your very good company. For some people there has been a lot of 1982 Bordeaux in their lives recently. There were some casualties unfortunately, but this was to be expected I think at this venerable age. 1982s are at their peak and there is no need to hang on to them - drink them while they are joyous like these wines. There were different preferences around the table, but when the wines were in condition, the standard was high. I enjoyed them all - even the ringer ;) .

Roederer Champagne Brut Vintage 2012 ***½ nudging ****
Ginger and brioche on the nose together with fresh apple. Lovely and poised on the palate with a lot of energy and liveliness, runs on well two. Drinking well now, but plenty of time here. Finishes well.
Château Magdaleine St. Emilion 1952 ****
Well, this was a turn-up for the books. It turns out that Steve M had pulled the wrong bottle for the evening, but in this case exchange was certainly no robbery. It was served without us knowing what the vintage was (although we of course knew that it wasn’t 1982). This tasted like a seriously old wine, and I guessed that it was from the sixties. I don’t recall ever having had a 1952 claret, so this was an exciting moment. The nose was initially quite elusive with gentle, soft red berry fruit on the nose, but this blossomed with time in the glass and there were additional complex notes of earl grey tea and even rosewater (at low levels). This had a gentle old-wine texture on the palate but not in any tired, generic old-wine style. The tannins are fully melted here. This is a gentle, old-school wine a million miles away from today’s super-charged merlot dominated offerings from the right bank. The wine finishes really well for its age.
Château La Lagune Haut-Médoc 1982 ***½
An attractive nose here with cool cedary notes, a twist of green-ness and some leafy tobacco. Tasting fully mature on the palate with the wine softening as it runs across the palate. Good acidity here. Finishes with some charcoal and graphite notes. Good, but not better than that.
Château Giscours Margaux 1982 NR
This has a funky, slightly dirty nose with some red fruit beneath. A bit brewed on the palate and it finishes short and with some coarseness. Probably not typical.
Château Duhart-Milon Pauillac 1982*****
Like London buses, you wait ages and then two Duhart-Milon 1982s turn up in a fortnight – what a privilege. This bottle was identical to the one drunk on November 14th. This has a fine, typically Pauillac nose of tobacco, cedar, graphite and cool, but ripe, red-berried fruit. Cool, long, and elegant on the palate with proper concentration on the mid-palate. Finishes with repeating notes of cedar and tobacco. All of a piece and really enjoyable.
Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste Pauillac 1982 ****
Notably red-fruited on the nose with crisp, lifted notes of cranberry and redcurrant together with some tobacco-y notes. Spicy and cool on the palate dominated by an impression of red fruit. Lifted – there’s plenty of acidity here. Finishes with a minty twist. GPL is not a favourite of mine, but this was a very good wine.
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou St. Julien 1982 NR
Corked. Not badly, but definitely so unfortunately.
Château Calon-Ségur St. Estèphe 1982 ***½
This had quite a high toned nose of red fruit once again together with some cedary elements. Quite similar to the Grand-Puy-Lacoste in many ways but perhaps just a little less forceful on the palate. Similarly, good acidity here. Finishes well.
Château Montrose St. Estephe 1982 *****
I’ve been looking forward to a really good bottle of Chateau Montrose from a top vintage, having had some disappointments, and this one duly delivered. This has a big, bold nose of plummy fruit – it is immediately exciting and of obvious quality. Deeply fruited on the mid-palate but with no heaviness. Finishes very well. A complete wine, with time in hand.
Château Sociando-Mallet Haut-Medoc 1982 NR
We went through two bottles of this. The first was not served and the second one was not right. There was possibly low-level TCA here, but in any case the nose had that brewed tea element that I associate with senescent Barolo – it was also pungently green in an unattractive way. There was a decent wine beneath all this though.
Château Guiraud Sauternes 1989 ****
As I remarked to Neil, the sweet wine often gets overlooked even when it is delicious as this one was. And typically, I failed to take a full note. However, I remember notes of caramel and butterscotch on the nose leading to a really elegant wine on the palate with notes of caramelised orange among others. Very good indeed.

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I hadn’t spotted in the notes that the Magdelaine was the ‘52 and was surprised how tired it sounded in the notes….now it makes sense! Having said that, I had a bottle of the ‘64 a few years ago that was certainly still very vigorous, although I doubt it would have passed as an ‘82. It’s twin brother still awaits a suitable occasion.

Having noted all of the above and tasted the ‘82 previously, you’ve not done all that badly as that wine is not a great ‘82 anyway.
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A hugely enjoyable evening, interesting wines and great company. Noizé really do look after us don't they. Thanks to my fellow forumites for bringing some great wines... sorry my brace of Sociando were casualties.

We had an interesting discussion about ratings and whether it's common to overrate wines based on the set that's in front of you at the time. It was fascinating to quiz those round the table who had also been at Ian's blowout 82 first growth dinner. There was a clear consensus that the level that night was consistently "in a different league" which to be fair is (mostly) what the 1855 classification and market pricing would tell you anyway.

It was such a treat to drink the 1952. I guessed '52 after Steve gave us a clue that it had a "2" in it, but was joking. Obviously I immediately pretended I hadn't been joking... anyway it was in remarkable condition.

I'm suffering from a diminished sense of smell following a bout of Covid in September and at the moment it's manifesting as an inability to smell ripeness and fragrance much at all. But I can still smell spices, funk and dirt. Actually makes it easier to home in on faults and TCA because they are not masked by fruit aromas. It also means one is much more aware of texture and mouthfeel but it can be depressing at times realising what is missing. I hope it gets back to normal in time for the December wine event calendar that's for sure.
Thanks for all for support this dinner at a congested time in the calendar. Some belters but a few out of condition wines. We really lucked out last time out.

Think Noizé do these very well, particularly in the cooler months, all wines were decanted and the newish Bordeaux glasses tonight (and the pinot ones last week) made a huge difference.

1982 BORDEAUX (AND FRIENDS) - Noizé, London (23/11/2022)

After a successful tasting in 2019, it felt that on its 40th anniversary, another look was merited.
Cheddar gougère, pork belly croustini with BBQ Sauce, sole fritter
  • 2012 Louis Roederer Champagne Vintage Brut - France, Champagne
    On pouring there is a pure lemon oil and grated ginger nose, with time some fresh, tart Cox apple emerges. Palate is beautifully taught with delightful acidity and length. With 20 mins in the glass there is a little twist of clementine. Very good (92 pts.)
Saint Emilion, Margaux, Southern Medoc
Fresh fettucine, wild mushrooms
  • 1952 Château Magdelaine - France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
    This was meant to be a 1982 but a (serendipitous?) dark cellar handling error led to the 1952 appearing. We did not know the vintage on pouring. Very dark and youthful looking there are some charming evolved red fruits with the faintest hint of nutmeg, some leather (in the well-maintained and lovingly polished brogues spectrum). There is a little lime zest citrus lift, some subtle marzipan sweetness and gorgeous forest floor decay. Palate is refined and balanced and completely charming in a compact and delicate way. The table's wine of the night and my 3rd favourite. (94 pts.)
  • 1982 Château La Lagune - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
    Lovely tertiary nose, something a little leathery with small red berried fruit. Later some mahogany dresser notes. Palate has good energy and a little prickle of acidity. With time some cedar and tobacco leaf too. Lovely (92 pts.)
  • 1982 Château Giscours - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Margaux
    Much more evolved that the other two in the this flight. Something balsamic to the nose. There is something sweet that reminds me of grated white chocolate. Very stripped on the palate. Sadly flawed. NR (flawed)
Paulliac and St Julien
Slow-cooked beef, broccoli, red wine jus
  • 1982 Château Duhart-Milon - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    Bell pepper and sandalwood, tobacco and ground white pepper. Some subtly smoky tea. Palate caresses the tongue. Classic mature claret from a fabulous vintage. My second favourite wine of the night (95 pts.)
  • 1982 Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Pauillac
    More red fruited than the Duhart, this is in the redcurrant and cranberry spectrum on the nose. There's a tiny touch of mintiness here which adds to the ensemble. Later some cherry stone emerges. Palate has some creaminess as well some lifted tobacco greenness. Good stuff. (93 pts.)
  • 1982 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Julien
    Palate very stripped and persistent 2/10 TCA here NR (flawed)
St Estephe and Northern Medoc
Venison wellington
  • 1982 Château Calon-Ségur - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Saddle leather with some green bell pepper and some white ground pepper too. With time a little tomato leaf pungency. Palate very well balanced and long. With time some lemon zest lift emerges. Lovely (91 pts.)
  • 1982 Château Montrose - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, St. Estèphe
    Wow. This is classic understated Montrose but although quietly spoken has so much to say. Real depth of layered dark fruits here, some elegant greenness and cigar box. Some Russian Caravan tea notes emerge and later on the long and balanced palate there are some sweet meats. Just fabulous. My wine of the night. (95 pts.)
  • 1982 Château Sociando-Mallet - France, Bordeaux, Médoc, Haut-Médoc
    Sadly two bottles were both flawed. NR (flawed)
Comte, Vacherin, Epoisses
  • 1989 Château Guiraud - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
    A lovely end to the evening. This has orange marmalade and a lovely spearmint note also some shredded tarragon leaves. Palate has lovely breadth and retains a lovely acidity. Last bottle of this sadly. (93 pts.)

Overall the best wines were really good. Three were sadly flawed. I think that even the best of the wines we sampled were fully mature and whilst I'm sure will drink well for some years, I don't think these will improve.
Posted from CellarTracker
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Thanks to Neil for organising this and to the accomplished team at Noize for looking after us. And thanks to Neil and Richard for their excellent notes.

I was really looking forward to tasting these wines, especially after the experience we had with this vintage at Piccolino in 2019, as Neil noted. Of those events the 1982 dinner shines brightest in the collective memory.

On Wednesday, of the eight 1982s we tried three were faulty, or borderline faulty, and the other five were uninspiring, some even dreary. I spoke to Mathieu afterwards and he said the wines didn’t show at the level he expected. He thought a few bottles were ‘not in great condition.’ The Magdelaine was his wine of the night, the GPL and Montrose he thought were ‘OK’, just a touch reserved, but rest were ‘not there at all.’

I would broadly agree with his assessment. La Lagune 1982, for example, is a wine I have followed over the years. Ten to twenty years ago it was gorgeous. But recent bottles, including this one, have been a bit flat and uninspiring - even a bit dreary. There is still a bit of fruit left and it is pleasant enough, but nothing like it used to be.

I don’t think the Giscours was actually faulty, just not a great wine, though better on the palate than on the entry, which smelt of (fresh) faeces. Shame about the two Sociandos. The second one had some charm that the others were lacking but went down hill pretty fast and may also have been corked.

Talking of which another corked Ducru from the 1980s. Sigh…The cork taint was supposed to be an issue from 1987-1990, but I think it was actually a problem throughout the 1980s. For example, my hit rate on the 1982 Ducru is less than 50%, which is a disgrace. What is worse is that the Chateau was in denial about the problem, which is criminal. The Ducru was not in fact badly corked, only faintly so, but enough to niggle, and of course the problem did not go away.

The four 1982s which were ‘OK’ were the two Pauillacs and the two Saint-Estephes. But none of them had any charm in my opinion. The Duhart and the GPL were quite similar, with the GPL possessing more red fruit, but both of them were foursquare and clunky. Of the two I preferred the GPL, but this 1982 GPL is nowhere near as good as the 1995, 1996, 2015 and 2016 GPLs.

The Montrose I thought was particularly charmless, but others enjoyed it much more than I did and it was popular around the table, while the Calon, like the La Lagune, was in the twilight zone. But the Calon did grow on me, and of the four ‘OK’ 1982s it was the one I enjoyed the most.

By far and away the stand out wine of the night was ironically Steve’s 1952 Magdelaine, an unexpected treat. If the label had said 1982 nobody would have batted an eyelid. The last bottle of the 1982 I enjoyed just over a year ago was sensational and would have run away with this. The 1952 was a perfectly resolved mature St-Emilion, which grew magnificently in the glass.

Just as we got lucky the previous week we were unlucky on Wednesday. As the former Match of the Day pundit Sir Trevor Brooking used to quip, it is just ‘one of them fings.’

The Magdelaine 1952 was voted the wotn by a decisive margin, followed by the Montrose and the GPL.

When I got the tap on the shoulder from Mathieu I of course assumed the worst about my wine. Then he whispered "Did you mean to bring the 52?" Urrrr...nope, cellar as mess, poor lighting, just not paying attention : ) First time (and hopefully last) I've ever done this but no promises as I also played the wrong ball in a competition for the first time this year costing us the hole. Getting old I guess : ) At least when I asked him if it it was ok, he immediately said it in great condition so that was something I guess!
Re the rest of the wines, I wasn't quite as down on them as Ian & Mathieu perhaps. For me there wasn't much between the GPL, Duhart, Calon and Montrose but I liked the GPL best for its red fruit, and it just gave lots of pleasure. The others were a bit more classic but would happily drink them anytime.
Roll on the 1952 tasting ;)