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Bordeaux 1980s: Vintage guides plus the wines to seek out

Thatcher and Reagan; Kylie, Whitney, big-haired rockers and hip-hop; the space shuttle, the Berlin wall, Microsoft and Apple. The era that broke so much new ground was also the point at which Bordeaux erupted into the global wine stratosphere. And four decades on, this is the perfect time for an expert review of the wines and vintages.

As the world woke up on 1 January 1980, at the exact moment Debbie Harry reached peak stardom, the vignerons of Bordeaux no doubt let out a collective sigh of relief. The 1970s had been one of the most difficult decades on record for the winemakers of the most lauded of regions.

In 1973, Pauillac’s Château Mouton Rothschild had been elevated to first growth status, owing to the fact that Baron Philippe had been the star performer in almost all of the seven ‘Vintages of the Century’ that occurred between the end of the war and 1961 (1945, ’47, ’49, ’53, ’55, ’59 and ’61).

It was, sadly, not representative of the wines that were being made at the time of Mouton’s promotion, a few short years before the world succumbed to the microwave oven and the moment Bordeaux hit reputational rock bottom, losing the 1976 Judgement of Paris tasting to a Napa Valley Cabernet from one of their rivals across the pond. The 1980s was a chance to wipe the slate clean – but it didn’t start well…

Scroll down to see a selection of tasting notes and scores for Bordeaux 1980s wines from each year


The Bordeaux 1980s vintages: top wines

Wines are listed in vintage order oldest to youngest by score

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