x
  • Country ranking ?

    1
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Spring lamb served pink with fresh herbs

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.

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The Story

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.

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Vintage 1985

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.



 



 

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

26 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Deep, Ruby red and Dark

ending

Long, Vibrant and Extensive

flavors

Blackcurrant, Violet, Blackberry, Cedar, Leather and Tobacco

nose

Intense, Complex, Pure and Opulent

recommend

Yes

taste

High in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Concentrated, Perfectly balanced, Well-structured, Developing, Full-bodied, Firm, Harmonious, Ripe, Dry and Drying tannins

Verdict

Excellent and Well-rounded

Written Notes

The best vintage of the 1980s in Tuscany was by far the 1985. And the best wine of that year in Italy was Sassicaia. This vintage is in a different league from any other Sassicaia ever made, even the legendary 1972. Moderately intense, ruby red colour. Very open and complex nose full of violets, ripe blackcurrants, dark chocolate, cedar wood, spices and tobacco. Rich medium-bodied palate shows fresh acidity and intense sweet dark fruit alongside ripe velvety tannins. The taste is very concentrated, savoury and long-lasting. A really elegant wine with enough energy to hold well for years or even decades.
  • 99p
The closer came next, and it was a fitting one, a 1985 Sassicaia. Laura found it ‘sappy and ripe but elegant.’ This was a deep, complex wine that just smacked down a certain, unnamed 1985 claret for which I couldn’t even take a note. The ’85 Sassy was truly a great and profound Cabernet. It was rich, saucy and concentrated, and while ripe it was 110% serious. Tom was loving it, and flavors of charcoal and chocolate lightly caressed my palate in a sensual way. This still had plenty of chunk in the trunk, a definite ‘wow’ wine (97).
  • 97p
Probably one of the finest Sassicaia. Opaque ruby-purple colour. Powerful and intense nose with loads of blackcurrants and vanilla, new oak, fresh herbs, black olive, chocolate and pine needles. Well-balanced, heavy-bodied structure with intense ripe dark fruit displaying refined firmness. The very classy, long, mineral finish is delicately rich and quite harmonious. The wine still has still very good potential for further ageing. 97 points
  • 98p

Information

Origin

Toscana, Tuscany

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Very Good

Fake factory

None

Glass time

2h

Drinking temperature

16

Inside Information

Wine Advocate 
Feb 1997
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 100 Drink: 2000 - 2025 $2023-$3465
I had this wine in a blind tasting - I have had it frequently, and have never failed to give it a perfect rating. At the same time, I have often mis-identified it in blind tastings as the 1986 Mouton-Rothschild. In this tasting, the wine was phenomenal. The color remains an opaque purple. The bouquet is beginning to develop secondary aromas of cedar and truffles to go along with its intense cassis, black-raspberry, blackberry, tarry, toasty personality. Exceptionally dense, concentrated, and full-bodied, this wine possesses layers of concentrated fruit that are beautifully balanced by the wine's sweet tannin and well-integrated acidity. The finish lasts for nearly a minute. A monumental Cabernet Sauvignon, it is one of the greatest wines made this century. Tasting after tasting continues to confirm this wine's surreal level of quality. Despite being 11 years old, it remains youthful. My best guess for when it will reach full maturity is between 2000-2025. What a wine!
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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users. or to see wine moments from your world.

99p
 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  Sassicaia 1985  ( Tenuta San Guido )

"The best vintage of the 1980s in Tuscany was by far the 1985. And the best wine of that year in Italy was Sassicaia. This vintage is in a different league from any other Sassicaia ever made, even the legendary 1972. Moderately intense, ruby red colour. Very open and complex nose full of violets, ripe blackcurrants, dark chocolate, cedar wood, spices and tobacco. Rich medium-bodied palate shows fresh acidity and intense sweet dark fruit alongside ripe velvety tannins. The taste is very concentrated, savoury and long-lasting. A really elegant wine with enough energy to hold well for years or even decades."

2y 8m ago

97p
 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  Sassicaia 1985  ( Tenuta San Guido )

"The closer came next, and it was a fitting one, a 1985 Sassicaia. Laura found it ‘sappy and ripe but elegant.’ This was a deep, complex wine that just smacked down a certain, unnamed 1985 claret for which I couldn’t even take a note. The ’85 Sassy was truly a great and profound Cabernet. It was rich, saucy and concentrated, and while ripe it was 110% serious. Tom was loving it, and flavors of charcoal and chocolate lightly caressed my palate in a sensual way. This still had plenty of chunk in the trunk, a definite ‘wow’ wine (97)."

4y 7m ago

98p
 Juha Lihtonen, Sommelier (Finland)  tasted  Sassicaia 1985  ( Tenuta San Guido )

"Moderately intense, ruby red colour. Open, complex and so seductive - blackcurrants, cappuccino and dark chocolate. Medium-bodied palate shows lovely acidity, supple powdery tannins and concentrated ripe, almost jammed blackcurrant flavours. A long and aristocratic finish with rich dark chocolate character. So First Growth Claret -like!!"

4y 8m ago

96p
 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  Sassicaia 1985  ( Tenuta San Guido )

"Deep ruby. Layered and complex nose. A bit of a ball. Rounded palate, superb acidity, ripe tannins, stunning palate, balanced, refined, quite intense and long. Brilliant bottle. "

4y 9m ago

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