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Bordeaux / The year 1985 was a tremendous vintage. Extremely cold winter followed by extremely hot summer and favourable harvesting conditions yielded high quantity and high quality crop, particularly in Pomerol and St. Emilion where the grape sugars were measured higher than in 1982. Margaux and Graves were superb on the left bank. L'Evangile, La Conseillante and Certain de May are all great examples right bank. To sum up the tasting experiences of this vintage, there is one wine over the others– Château Lafleur.

Surprisingly enough, the Haut-Brion Blanc, produced less than 1,000 bottles, is generally considered as the best wine of the vintage. Regarding the value of the top whites of Graves are about three times the prices of the reds. Domaine de Chevalier Blanc is another good example of the white Graves high quality. Also Sauternes succeeded well this year.

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Vintage Report

Italy Vintage Report by Tb: 1985 more than made up for the weak year preceding it. An extremely cold winter ensured that the vines would enjoy a full hibernation, until a warm and dry spring woke them, well-rested, thus giving them the energy they would need for the varied summer weather. The dry autumn set the stage for the harvest of one of the best vintages of the decade, both in Piedmont and Tuscany. Although it had a low crop yield, 1985 was an outstanding crop year and is above all remembered for the genesis of modern wine production, particularly in Tuscany. Led by the Super Tuscans, this saw the beginning of rapid development in the production of modern fine wines. It also spawned a wine that has gone down in history as one of the world’s finest – the Sassicaia 1985.

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Vintage Report

Champagne: Champagne year of the decade. One can forecast a long life still for these champagnes.The year 1985 turned out to be an exceptional harvest year. The frosts that plagued the area tested the residents of Champagne in a way that was last felt 150 years ago. In January, the temperature in the area was -25 degrees Celsius. As the vines were still hibernating, they were saved from massive destruction. When the vines finally awoke, the temperature had risen to -15 degrees. It was not enough, however, and about 10 percent of the vineyards froze.

The temperatures in the area were still many degrees below zero in April. Thankfully, the sensitive flowering phase was saved from the frosts, and the weather changed substantially. The summer temperatures were hot in August and September. The long Indian summer continued, and the harvest took place in late September. The result was a small harvest of concentrated grapes. Stylistically, the wines were still tight and vigorous. The high concentration of their taste and the aroma layers, however, reveal the potential of the wines. The wines are still young, and some are only opening up, so they will improve by being stored for 7–10 years.

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Port vintage report by Taylor: The 1985 vintage was preceded by an exceptionally cold, wet winter, with night temperatures at Pinhão well below freezing point between the 7th and 15th January.  Bud burst took place early in April and flowering around the end of May.  Berry set was excellent, and the young bunches perfectly formed.  The summer was hot throughout the regions, with no rainfall during July and August.

Picking began early at Vargellas and other Taylor vineyards in the Upper Douro Valley, the grapes having generally reached maturity by 15th September.  Picking took place under clear skies, with mild, warm days and cool nights.  The grapes were healthy and evenly ripened, giving well-balanced must with high sugar levels.  The cool night temperatures helped to produce long, even fermentations, allowing the musts to be well worked and producing rich, aromatic full-bodied wines with magnificent depth of colour and firm tannic structure.  By the close of the harvest it was apparent that the year had produced wines of exceptional quality in all areas of the Douro and there was justified optimism among the shippers as to the prospects of a declaration.

Wines with a very fine aroma. Exceptional quality. A classic Vintage, with intense aromas and a firm structure in fruit and tannins. Almost all producers declared production. Excellent weather. Cold start to winter, but warm February and March. Some rain in spring and normal temperatures until summer. A very hot June, followed by a normal summer. Harvest under perfect conditions.

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Napa Vintage Report: Weather Conditions After experiencing one of the earliest starts through an early budbreak, the season was relatively cool and ended by being one of the longest and best up to the time. The summer offered warm days, cool nights, and a cool August paved the way for a sunny September that brought the fruit to an even and incremental maturity rarely encountered in California. The Cabernets are as atypical as the vintage. The fruit maturity was achieved at relatively moderate sugar levels and the acidity was textbook perfect for balance. With Sonoma enjoying the same conditions as Napa, the vintage yielded an overwhelming number of successful Cabernets. Generally ripe and supple, the wines are well-proportioned and integrated with fine tannins. At the time this was the finest vintage since 74. With cellaring the best are displaying a refined fruitiness and elegance, but a number are maturing slowly. Silver Oaks' Alexander Valley Cabernet led the strong Sonoma contingent and was drinking well at the turn of the century.

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The best wines of the 1985 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Richebourg 98.4 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
2 Sassicaia 98.1 Tenuta San Guido Tuscany, Italy
3 Romanée Conti 97.3 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
4 Cristal Rosé Vinothèque 97.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
5 Cristal Vinothèque 97.0 Louis Roederer Champagne, France
6 Clos du Mesnil Vinothèque 97.0 Krug Champagne, France
7 Dom Pérignon Oenothèque Rosé 97.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
8 Echezeaux 97.0 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
9 La Tâche 96.8 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
10 Krug Clos du Mesnil 96.8 Krug Champagne, France
11 Montrachet 96.8 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
12 Richebourg 96.8 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
13 Champagne Charlie Vinothèque 96.7 Charles Heidsieck Champagne, France
14 Château Rayas Châteauneuf-du-Pape Réservé 96.5 Château Rayas Rhône, France
15 Côte-Rôtie La Mouline 96.5 E.Guigal Rhône, France
16 Chevalier-Montrachet Les Demoiselles 96.3 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
17 La Turque 96.3 E.Guigal Rhône, France
18 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 96.1 E.Guigal Rhône, France
19 Bousse D'Or 96.0 Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Burgundy, France
20 Château L´Evangile 96.0 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
21 Chambertin Clos de Bèze 96.0 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
22 Marcobrunn Riesling Eiswein 96.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
23 Insignia 96.0 Joseph Phelps Napa Valley, United States
24 Cuvée William Deutz Rosé 96.0 Deutz Champagne, France
25 Clos de Vougeot 96.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
26 L'Apparita 96.0 Castello di Ama Tuscany, Italy
27 Barolo Monfortino Riserva 95.9 Giacomo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
28 Bonnes Mares VV 95.7 Domaine Christophe Roumier Burgundy, France
29 Le Mesnil Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 95.5 Champagne Le Mesnil Champagne, France
30 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 95.5 Groth Vineyards & Winery Napa Valley, United States
31 Barbaresco Santo Stefano 95.5 Bruno Giacosa Barolo, Italy
32 Comtes de Champagne Rosé 95.5 Taittinger Champagne, France
33 Chevalier-Montrachet 95.5 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
34 Clos-de-la-Roche 95.4 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
35 Krug Vintage 95.3 Krug Champagne, France
36 Chambertin 95.3 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
37 Lafleur 95.2 Château Lafleur Bordeaux, France
38 Vieilles Vignes Françaises 95.2 Bollinger Champagne, France
39 Richebourg 95.2 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
40 Hermitage Blanc 95.1 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Rhône, France
41 Château Haut-Brion Blanc 95.1 Château Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
42 Krug Collection 95.0 Krug Champagne, France
43 Château Gruaud-Larose 95.0 Château Gruaud-Larose Bordeaux, France
44 Millésime Vinothèque 95.0 Bonnaire Champagne, France
45 Brunello di Montalcino 95.0 Poggio Antico Tuscany, Italy
46 Clos Vougeot 95.0 Rene Engel Burgundy, France
47 Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 95.0 Henri Jayer Burgundy, France
48 Cuvee des Enchanteleurs 95.0 Henriot Champagne, France
49 L'Eglise-Clinet 95.0 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Bordeaux, France
50 Alamos Malbec 95.0 Alamos Mendoza, Argentina
51 Clos des Ducs 95.0 Domaine Marquis d'Angerville Burgundy, France
52 Meursault 1er Cru Les Perrieres 95.0 Domaine Guy Roulot Burgundy, France
53 Volnay, Les Cailerets, Clos de 60 Ouvrees 95.0 Domaine de la Pousse d'Or Burgundy, France
54 Dom Ruinart Rosé 95.0 Ruinart Champagne, France
55 Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill Vinothèque 95.0 Pol Roger Champagne, France
56 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
57 Clos St-Denis Grand Cru 95.0 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
58 Château Bourgneuf 95.0 Château Bourgneuf Bordeaux, France
59 Blanc de Blancs 95.0 Deutz Champagne, France
60 Bâtard-Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
61 Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 95.0 Meo Camuzet Burgundy, France
62 Cuvée William Deutz 95.0 Deutz Champagne, France
63 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Mayacamas Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
64 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine Ramonet Burgundy, France
65 Richebourg 95.0 Remoissenet Pere & Fils Burgundy, France
66 Latricières Chambertin 95.0 Domaine Ponsot Burgundy, France
67 Vinothèque Blanc de Blancs 95.0 Deutz Champagne, France
68 Grands-Echezeaux 94.9 Rene Engel Burgundy, France
69 Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 94.8 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley, United States
70 Belle Epoque 94.6 Perrier-Jouët Champagne, France
71 Bonnes Mares Grand Cru 94.6 Domaine Georges Roumier Burgundy, France
72 Flacon D'Exception 94.5 Pommery Champagne, France
73 Charmes Chambertin 94.5 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
74 Clos-de-la-Roche Vieilles-Vignes 94.5 Domaine Ponsot Burgundy, France
75 Vintage Port 94.5 Dow's Portugal, Portugal
76 Barolo Monprivato 94.5 Bartolo Mascarello Barolo, Italy
77 Dom Pérignon Rosé 94.5 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
78 Musigny 94.5 Joseph Drouhin Burgundy, France
79 Château Mouton-Rothschild 94.5 Château Mouton-Rothschild Bordeaux, France
80 Barolo Cannubi Boschis 94.3 Luciano Sandrone Piedmont, Italy
81 R.D. Bollinger 94.3 Bollinger Champagne, France
82 Comtes de Champagne 94.3 Taittinger Champagne, France
83 Romanee Saint Vivant 94.3 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
84 Cheval Blanc 94.2 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
85 La Grande Dame 94.1 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne, France
86 Brunello di Montalcino 94.1 Soldera Montalcino, Italy
87 Montrachet 94.0 Maison Louis Latour Burgundy, France
88 Würzburger Stein Riesling Auslese 94.0 Weingut Bürgerspital zum Heiligen Geist Würzburger Stein, Germany
89 Musigny 94.0 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
90 Grand Siècle 94.0 Laurent-Perrier Champagne, France
91 Hermitage 94.0 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Rhône, France
92 Clos des Goisses 94.0 Philipponnat Champagne, France
93 Musigny 94.0 Louis Jadot Burgundy, France
94 Château Margaux 94.0 Château Margaux Bordeaux, France
95 Chateau de Fieuzal Blanc 94.0 Château de Fieuzal Pessac Leognan, France
96 Château Rauzan-Ségla 94.0 Château Rauzan-Ségla Bordeaux, France
97 Corton- Charlemagne Grand Cru 94.0 Domaine Bonneau du Martray Burgundy, France
98 Chambertin 94.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
99 Clos de Tart 94.0 Mommessin Burgundy, France
100 Scharzhofberger Auslese 94.0 Weingut Egon Müller-Scharzhof Saar, Germany

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