On june 5th we had a wonderful dinner in one of the best Asian restaurants in the Netherlands Restaurant Royal Mandarin. For this occasion we brought a Super Tuscan legend: the Sassicaia 1985. The bottle came from a private cellar, the wine was bought on release and stored in a conditioned environment till yesterday. The level was into neck and we decided not to decant. The colour was dark red and the bouquet displayed a wonderful sweetness and softness, quite a right bank Bordeaux character. Indeed strange for a cabernet wine. But we noticed immediately that the wine was still flattened, it had to open up. And it did ! After 5 minutes we were staring at each other, this is a 100% Mouton Rothschild 1986 nose. Then we tasted and were overwhelmed by the concentration and intensity of the cassis and dried (tutti frutti) fruit, the spices, licorice and sweetness of the oak. The wine is so unbelievable concentrated (glycerine on your lips) and so complex. On every sip you discover new elements. And so elegant and delicate. Balance is without any doubt perfect. Length > 60 seconds. In our opinion Sassicaia makes wines that last and need time to soften. The 1985 shows what this means for Sassicaia: a perfect wine, and the best Sassicaia ever. Monumental, a wine you should drink once. Ratings are almost without exception max. And we agree. BOW 10/10. This wine will last till at least 2030.
After almost 30 years of experimentation and solid work the Marquis decided to release Sassicaia´s 1968 vintage to the open market using his cousin´s, Antinori´s distribution network in the early 1970s, with instant sensation. At a Decanter tasting of Cabernet wines in London, 1978, Sassicaia from vintage 1972 beat all the other 33 wines of France and California, and since then Sassicaia has been one of the leading wines in the world and in great demand among wine collectors and investors. The marquis Mario Incisa della Rocchetta passed away in 1983. His son, Marquis Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta, now oversees all estate operations.
The climate in the Spring 1985 was extremely consistent. Germination in the vineyards and of the individual plants also proved to be very consistent. Favourable weather conditions allowed for optimal flowering. A perfect vegetation cycle, favoured a proper development of the grapes and bunches. Secondary sprouting was not precocious, permitting normal growth control. The summer was very hot, with a good and somewhat hot autumn, in its beginning. We had little rain in the spring, while summer and early autumn were completely dry and hot.
Harvest: The grapes ripened quickly and the temperature during the vine-harvest was very high (35° - 28° C).
Wine making: Wine-making was easy because not only was the gathering of the grapes done only during cooler hours, but the fermentation vats in the wine cellars were also cooled. A rather lengthy fermentation took place in 70 and 90 hectoliters stainless steel vats for 14 days. Malic acid content of the grapes was low due to the summer and autumn climate. The high pH then encouraged a rapid malic evolution that terminated within the 10th of December.
Ageing: Slavonian oak casks and Tronçais casks were used for the ageing. The ratio being 60% of the former, and 40% of the latter, with a smaller percentage of Allier. 65% of the wood was new while the remaining 35% had been used once or twice before. The wine remained in casks for 22 months because of its elevated polyphenolic content, although new wood was also employed.
Tasting notes: Vintages like that of 1985 are rare as far as quality is concerned. The low quantities obtained from each plant, combined with the particular summer and early autumn climate, have yielded extraordinary grapes. We feel that the wine obtained is by far
superior to other harvests in taste as well as in body and in the bouquet.