Washington State Merlot 1985: Drink now

A moderately successful Merlot vintage with some characterful wines

Weather Conditions

Washington came of age in the 1980s, but even by 1985 its total production was a modest 40,000 tons harvested. It was a warm and dry year by local standards – white grapes were more widely cultivated than reds, and Merlot was just beginning to develop a following. The growing season was characterized by ample sunshine in July and August and there was virtually no rain until December.

Best Appellations

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Best Producers

L’Ecole No 41, Ste. Michelle River Ridge, Chinook, Hogue Reserve. Washington red wines from this vintage should still have some youthfulness left today. Overall, 1985 was better for reds than white wines. In retrospect, winemakers maintain it was the third best red wine vintage of the decade after 1989 and 1983.