A great vintage, producing rich, ripe, concentrated wines of considerable stature
The spring was cool in the whole region of Tuscany and in Chianti in particular a late frost reduced quantities considerably. The summer was very hot and there were local problems of drought stress in the centre of the region, although this did not delay the harvest. The grapes were picked in perfect dry sunny conditions, up to ten days early in some places. The crop was small everywhere, with especially low yields in Montalcino. Producers reported differences in the sugar/acidity balance depending on microclimate, but the quality of the fruit was excellent everywhere.
An outstanding vintage for Sangiovese similar to 1988, but with slightly higher acidity and more extract the 1985s had even better credentials for long ageing. Cooler areas like Rufina and the higher sites in Chianti Classico made wines with intense aroma as well as lots of body. Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano were very concentrated and rather unforthcoming when they were young, but they opened out splendidly and the best are still in peak condition today.
There was perhaps more variation than in 1988 , but the best 1985s were among the most exciting bottles of the decade. Selvapiana’s Riserva Bucerchiale was outstanding while in Chianti Classico the top Riservas came from Castello di Ama (Vigneto Bellavista) Vecchie Terre di Montefili and Felsina’s Vigneto Rancia. Poggio Antico, Case Basse and Poggio al Vento all made classic traditional style Brunello. Among the Super Tuscans, Fontodi’s Flaccianello was very impressive, and Tignanello turned in what was probably its best ever performance. Star of the vintage however was an incredibly rich, deep and silky Sassicaia.