Category Archives: 1981

1981 Chateau Margaux

ChateauMargaux.jpgLast bit of the bottle, so very cloudy, ruby with browning. On the nose, evolved bouquet, medium intensity, clove, cardamom, nutmeg, wet leather glove, lots of basement, some fruit left, black currant, some cherry, some oak, and certain earth. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium body, almost no tannin left, medium- acidity, classic Bordeaux flavors but quick fading, with a pretty weak spice driven finish. To be honest I expected more, but everyone should know very few wines last 28 years and are still great. I think this vintage was great once, just not today.    

1981 Chateau Margaux

I managed to get a taste of this wine as a favor for selling wine for another server last night. This wine was shockingly fruity considering it’s age, and this vintage has been overshadowed by the popularity and quality of the 82′s.  On the nose, complex bouquet, medium+ intensity, cardamom, clove, cigarbox, leather, tobacco, classic basement character, and ripe cherries, earthy, oaky, and fruity. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, some bitterweet cocoa, very spicey, medium tannin, medium acidity, great legth on the finish. Spice for a good 7 and a half minutes. This bottle was brought in opened and I’m sure decanted for several hours, but there’s no way to tell.    

1981 Chateau Margaux


Tasting this wine gave me a sense of what it means to be a great vintage. Not just a good vintage, great vintages last longer and are just generally better the day they are made and continue to age as better than just good. First off, 81 like the 83, didn’t hold a candle to the 82, sorry, but it’s the reality that most tasters will attest to. If you have 82′s in the cellar, you could sit on them or finance a worldwide wine region tour, you make the call.
I called this wine brown garnet, maybe for lack of different colors for aged wine.
On the nose, dirt and basement, not quite the massive 16th century basement that I sometimes associate with Bordeaux, but serious basement. The fruit was like smoked then stewed black currants, and well into four or five sniffs, black licorice, cocoa powder, and cloves emerged. Med tannin, med acidity, and the finish fell kind of flat.
Here’s the whole good vs. great battle, 82′s hit your palate and start running, 81′s & 83′s already ran and a a bit tired. I wish I could afford regular experiments in this field.