Among the most sought-after (and expensive) wines in the world, Le Pin is the original “garage” wine.
Of Le Pin’s vintages to date, the most celebrated is the 1982, which was only the fourth vintage since Jacques Thienpont, his father Marcel, and uncle Gérard acquired Le Pin in 1979 for FRF1 million (now equivalent to about €152,450) from Madame Laubie, who had cultivated the one-hectare vineyard organically but sold the grapes as anonymous generic Pomerol.
It is not uncommon for the label of a bottle of 1982 Le Pin to be very mottled and damp-stained.
Apparently, this was because the labels of the ’82 were printed in a fairly basic (garagiste!) manner, using inexpensive paper and inks.
The glue that was used to adhere the labels to the bottles was also rudimentary and caused the labels to stain so much, even with only a couple of years of storage in a cool, damp cellar.
The bottle on the right is 1982 Le Pin from a private cellar in Shropshire, England, and is the blackest Le Pin label that we’ve seen.
The same effect is seen on labels of 1983 and 1984 Le Pin, though these more unassuming vintages are rarely seen.
By 1985 the problem was apparent and the paper and glue of Le Pin labels was changed from that vintage.
So if you see a pristine example of 1982 Le Pin then it is probably a counterfeit…