Celebrating 1982 Claret


As Claret fans will know 1982 was a legendary vintage in Bordeaux: ripe, bold and, we can say after 32 years, one that has passed the test of time. I got a rare chance to taste two examples from this year with Andover Wine Friends due to the generosity of one of our members who supplied two mini-verticals from his own cellar. These wines have been lovingly looked after for the intervening decades, having mostly been bought en primeur from Lay & Wheeler. The two featured chateaux were Chasse-Spleen, over-achieving Moulis property, and Haut-Médoc 3rd growth La Lagune. In the range of vintages on display, there was only one rival to the 1982s for the wine of the night and we will come to that in a moment.


As befits wines in their fourth decade of ageing, both wines were pale garnet in colour with a broad, pale rim. There was some debate over the more youthful looking wine but for me the La Lagune had a touch more red about it. The Chasse-Spleen was in very good condition with fine aromas of cedar wood, smoke and red fruit. The palate is just under medium in weight but subtle with good intensity. The wine still has a lively, refreshing structure with a lingering finish and long tannins which carry the flavour forward. If we were talking about an expensive first growth here, that would not be anything exceptional. But this 32 year old is an old Cru Bourgeois which really showed its staying power and class.

The La Lagune is though a real step up in class. Just on the nose there is more fruit, more fragrance, greater complexity. Correspondingly, the palate is broader and fans out with an alluring breadth. As with all great years the wine manages to combine its proper aged notes with freshness and precision. It was very fine indeed.

DSC02155And the rival for the wine of the night? Just for sheer youthfulness, we have to consider the La Lagune 1970, now 44 years young.  All these wines were double decanted on the night of the tasting. I tasted the wine on the evening, then left the last drop in the bottle uncorked overnight and tasted it again 24 hours later and it was still drinkable.  It has moved on into a fully tertiary phase, a symphony of clove, leather and cigar box.  The fruit had faded overnight … but that is reasonable enough!  Another really impressive performer.  

Other wines tasted

L’Oratoire de Chasse-Spleen 2000 (ie the second wine of the estate) 

Chasse-Spleen 1985, 1976

La Lagune 1981, 1978, 1975 


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