Hidden Gem of the Month: 1982 Pichon Lalande Is a Classic Bordeaux Blend to Uncork Today

1982 Pichon Lalande

The 1982 Pichon Lalande is a hedonistic, ultra-concentrated wine that makes a perfect gift.

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When I asked my uncle to name his all-time favorite bottle of Bordeaux, his answer surprised me. “It’s 1982 Pichon Lalande, by far,” he said. Although he had uncorked other greats like Angelus and Latour, he loved the 1982 Pichon Lalande most of all. This vintage has a consistency of taste that would make any top producer green with envy, and it’s mouthwateringly luxurious to boot. This is the type of wine that you can revisit every five years and never grow tired of drinking, making it the ideal choice for a collector who wants an incredible wine tasting experience, or who is looking for a great gift wine. However, the 1982 Pichon Lalande is fast approaching its peak maturity, so now is the time to invest.  

Legendary Bordeaux Doesn’t Have to Be Rebellious

Many Bordeaux enthusiasts praise young wines that are difficult to drink early on, since they view this as a sign of a wine that will age well. A wine that’s astringent or too tannic might be called “rebellious,” but critics expect these qualities to mellow with age. This isn’t the case with 1982 Pichon Lalande. Critics like Jancis Robinson and Stephen Tanzer praised this wine early in its development, calling it “charming” and “magically sweet.” It reached a velvety sophistication within just the first 10 years of storage, and as a result, some critics were worried that it would peak too soon. However, the 1982 continues to surprise us all. After 20 years in the cellar, Tanzer said that the vintage still had a “superb depth of flavor;” after 35 years, critics continue to find heady aromas and rich, ripe fruit flavors.

Perfect weather conditions throughout Bordeaux are what made the 1982 Pichon Lalande so consistent and easy to drink in its youth. Sunny, warm months gave the grapes a ripe, concentrated personality, and made them easier to approach than their more acidic peers. It’s no coincidence that this was the same year that Robert Parker became one of the most popular wine critics in the world. Parker was one of the first to call the 1982 vintage a rousing success, largely because the wines fit right into his wheelhouse. They’re more fruit-forward than typical Bordeaux blends, and highly concentrated on the nose. Arguably, this was the first vintage that sparked a trend in hedonistic, ultra-concentrated wines, which later inspired decades of winemakers. In this sense, 1982 Pichon Lalande is a piece of history.

How to Invest in 1982 Pichon Lalande

It’s possible to buy this vintage, store it for five years, and then resell it for a higher price, however, this isn’t necessarily the best approach. The 1982 has a drinking window between now and 2020, so it will reach its peak too quickly to make a significant profit for you at auction. Critic Antonio Galloni already spotted early, subtle signs of fraying in his most recent tasting, meaning that the 1982 might already be in the plateau stage of its life. Like all age-worthy Bordeaux, it will continue to drink well over the next 20 years, but if you want to try this wine at its best, you’ll need to do so before 2020. I recommend buying this wine now and drinking it within the next three years or fewer, or giving it to someone special as a gift.

The Perfect Gift Wine

It seems like Pichon Lalande’s winemakers designed the 1982 as the perfect gift wine. Not only did it drink well in its youth, it also had long aging potential and a powerful concentration of flavors that can stand up to any food pairing. Generally, I prefer giving my friends and loved ones bottles that are strong representations of a particular style. That’s because these bold flavors are entertaining to drink at parties, and they give your friends and loved ones a true luxury tasting experience.

With its plush fruit, intoxicating aroma, and unrestrained finish, drinking 1982 Pichon Lalande makes you feel like royalty. This is the ideal gift for anyone in your life who enjoys a bold red wine, or who usually only drinks jammy California cabs. Since it’s already in its prime, this vintage is one of the few legendary Bordeaux that you can uncork immediately without feeling as though you’re drinking it too soon. It’s a wine that’s meant to be enjoyed with friends over a hearty meal and deep conversation. You won’t find a better party wine than this.

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