1982 Bordeaux - The Wine Independent

1982 Bordeaux

1982 Vintage Ratings:


MĂ©doc Rating: 97

Pessac-LĂ©ognan Rating: 95

Saint-Émilion & Pomerol Rating: 96

Sauternes & Barsac Rating: 87

Dry Whites Rating: 87

1982 Top Three Bordeaux Wines Today:


Mouton Rothschild

Pichon Lalande


1982 was a dream vintage. Not only was the growing season warm, sunny, and blissfully uneventful, but the crop was abundant. A hot, dry September ensured all three of the major red varieties had the opportunity to achieve optimal ripeness. The best reds proved delicious out of the gate—generous and fruity with soft acidities and plush tannins. But some critics viewed these attributes as the antithesis of a classically austere, structured Bordeaux vintage. What was more concerning, yields even at some of the top Châteaux were cresting a whopping 60 hectoliters per hectare. For these reasons, many professionals judged the wines to lack the structure and stuffing for long-term aging, with the notable exception of the minority, including a newcomer to the wine criticism scene: Robert M. Parker, Jr. It was the vintage that sealed his reputation.


Of course, we now know that higher yields and lower acidity (if still in balance) can equate to spectacular, long-lived wines given the right vintage conditions for the grape variety and site. This said, there were also some disappointing performances in 1982, which are generally down to over-ambitious yields and/or the winemaking challenges that ensued from the hotter harvest conditions.


The top 1982 reds are now fully mature, yet still drinking beautifully and potentially have a good 10-30 years of cellaring potential left. Otherwise, most 1982s have entered a period of decline, which is not to say that there isn’t any enjoyment to be had from their fading.


1982 was a very good but not outstanding vintage for Bordeaux dry whites, which will be well past their best by now in all but a few exceptional cases.


As usual in the case of great vintages for the reds, 1982 was more challenging for the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac. After that hot, dry September, many Sauternes growers were caught out by the torrential rains in October. However, two top properties had completed most of their harvest before the rains came: Yquem and Suduiraut. Yquem then waited for the vineyard to dry out and did another pass through the vines in early November, finally managing to produce a surprisingly outstanding wine in a challenging vintage. While markedly different styles, both of these Châteaux and a handful of others fashioned compelling, age-worthy wines that are still drinking beautifully.