I had great expectations for this wine when it was released nearly 25 years ago. 1983 was being touted as the best vintage for the Northern Rhone since 1978 or 1961 so I bought a case of both the Hermitage la Chapelle and the Domaine de Thalabert. Both wines have turned out to be a bit disappointing--mainly because the vintage produced harder tannins than were apparent in early tastings. The tannins are still present in this Domaine de Thalabert, and the fruit is less enjoyable than it was a few years ago. But it is still a very fine wine.
The color is deep and dark but there is considerably more amber (and more crusty sediment) than in the 1984 Pichon Lalande (below). The bouquet is deep and compacted--cassis, blackberries, red spices and juniper berries. It smells tannic, and the flavors also have dark, tannic tones. Ripe berried fruit comes through on the mid-palate and finish, and the flavors become more open and enjoyable as the wine airs so there is some hope for the future. But it's not as aromatic nor as flavorful as the 1982 Thalabert was a few years ago.