Having missed the 1982 Bordeaux futures market bonanza by two regrettable years, any evening I can taste two or more clarets from this historic vintage, side by side along with good people and tasty food, transforms into a trademark “good living” moment. A few weeks ago, my friend Jacques suggested we head over to his house and each of us contribute a bottle of ’82 from our cellars to wash down some venison his wife would prepare. Together, after separate and private moments in our respective cellars, we produced the 1982 Les Ormes de Pez from St. Estephe and 1982 Pomerol, Vieux Chateau Certan.
Besides being immensely entertaining and blessed with a laser sharp palate honed from decades of Bordeaux tasting, Jacques grew up near the oyster laden waters of the Etang de Thau near the beach town of Sete, situated on Langeudoc’s Montpellier edge. The only thing un-French about Jacques is his US address, which one day will again become French too. But, while Jacques and I live less than two miles from each other, no invitations for wine and food celebrations are taken lightly.
While his knowledge of wine spans all of France and parts of Europe, his dedication to Bordeaux is one step away from fanatical, so tasting these wines together would be as serious as it would be dreamy. We spent some time in his cellar just browsing his Bordelaise ammunition as well as some spent shells. You can see some of the evidence here:
After emerging, we proceeded with the decanting procedures. A quick swirl of the decanters and two deep blasts of aromatics had us congratulating ourselves in relief and on our reliable storage and cellar management results.
The wines both showed well by themselves and then again with the venison casserole that Charlotte deftly prepared for us. A while back I wrote about the 1982 Vieux Chateau Certan (this bottle was not the one Malcolm gifted to me) without having tasted it, wondering why Robert Parker’s reviews over the life of the wine erratically extended and retracted estimated life spans and horizons for this wine. I can say for certain, now, that this wine has at least 10-15 years of life ahead of it and possibly more. It is stupendous. Here are my notes:
1982 Les Ormes de Pez: The wine still shows a deep, dark, garnet color with only slight hints of brown at the edges. Wonderful advanced aromas are immediately present, but are dominated by dusty, wooden bark character. The claret has an elegance and silkened mouth feel that begs for immediate drinking. While it should hold up for at least 5-10 more years, I am not sure it will improve from here. There is lovely cherry toned fruit flavor to the wine that adds to the sexy appeal of the wine…which remains in good balance all around. MacArthur Beverages, at the time of this writing, has the wine for sale for $69. That’s a steal for wine that is drinking this good immediately. I really recommend buying some at this price.
1982 Vieux Chateau Certan: The wine is lighter in color than the St. Estephe, with sweetness on the nose from a perfume of lavender and wood emerging from the glass. Distinct components of caramel and toffee are present in the nose. The wine is rich with serious depth and full bodied with lively tannins holding up its cherry fruit core and licorice flavor. It is a compelling wine on all accounts, and I can’t imagine that considering the way it performs at age 28 that that this wine could not live until at least 50; taking on more secondary nuances along the way. It was the wine of the night. Of course, this wine is now selling for between $300 and $400.
It was a great night capped off with some 1985 Warres Port (there was some VA detected in the nose). And as a final note to the evening, Jacques showed me how he can blind taste empty bottles two at at time, one simultaneously in each nostril. This is not a joke, and he loves to keep spent bottles around and can nail the wine blind days after the last drop is poured.