Paul Jaboulet's Domaine Thalabert was my favorite wine of the 1980s, and I have thoroughly enjoyed nearly every vintage. I don't remember having the 1987 (a weak vintage), and the 1989 which I reported on earlier this Fall is so far a distinct disappointment. The 1983, however, is my favorite, and it seems to be getting better with every year that passes.
Deep ruby with some bricking but not as brown as the 1979 Sociando Mallet that accompanied it on the table. While everyone enjoyed both wines, nearly all preferred the Thalabert for its "big flavors." The bouquet is high toned with the best herbaceous qualities of northern Rhone Syrah--elegant and fine. I also smell red fruit, cassis and a hint of iodine. There is a great deal of complexity on both the nose and palate. And the fruit concentration on the mid-palate--wow! It's like a young wine in many respects with flavors that just keep coming at you. The flavors linger for 10 seconds or longer.
Robert Parker has damned this 1983 Thalabert with faint praise, and I must say that I disagree strongly. He gave a higher rating to the 1989, and I disagree even more strongly. Parker has always raved about the 1990, the best Thalabert ever made, in his opinion. I must admit that I've yet to try it (not counting early tastings) although I do own several bottles and plan to open one soon. If the wines from the 1980s are any indication, there should be nothing lost in waiting for the 1990 to develop its true charms...as the 1983 is doing.