1982 Vintage Ratings:
Red wine vintage rating: 85
1982 Top Three Napa Valley Wines Today:
Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour
Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon
Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon
1982 was a so-so vintage in Napa Valley, delivering very few wines with considerable depth or aging potential. After abundant winter and spring rain, fruit set went off without a hitch, setting a bumper crop. All that rain led to a lot of canopy vigor and, eventually, a struggle to ripen the hefty loads the vines were carrying. (While green harvesting wasn’t unheard of back then, it wasn’t as common or strict as it is now.) Then, September rains led to some dilution. It was possible to craft some charming, earlier-drinking wines this year. But for those who got overambitious with extracting tannins that weren’t perfectly ripe, the result was rugged, chewy textures that overpowered the delicate fruit in youth.
I’ve recently tasted a few 1982 wines from Napa Valley, and none were very exciting. Most Napa 1982s have entered a period of decline, which is not to say that there isn’t any enjoyment to be had from their fading.