An uneven year but good in Victoria
With only a few exceptions, 1985 was a forgettable season for Australian red wine. Following on from the largely cool season of 1984, the South Australian regions near and north of Adelaide experienced a hot and dry summer of sufficent extreme to cause defoliation, before a wet March put the kibosh on any real chances of growing quality reds. However the southern regions of this state and much of Victoria encountered a far cooler summer than ideal, although it remained exceptionally dry. Despite a hailstorm which caused localised damage to certain Hunter vineyards in late January, warm and dry conditions helped the season finish as bounteous as it was ripe. Mudgees season was affected by serious frost, although quality was good.
Other than the occasional shiraz or cabernet sauvignon from central Victoria or even the Hunter Valley, youd perhaps rather not have too many Australian reds from the summer of 85 left in your cellar, unless for emotional reasons. Only a small number of reds of any real quality came from South Australia, some from Coonawarra and the Eden Valley saving the day.
Leading reds from central Victoria included the Taltarni Shiraz (Pyrenees), Chateau Tahbilk Cabernet Sauvignon (Goulburn Valley)and the two shirazes from Jasper Hill (Heathcote), namely Georgias Paddock and Emilys Paddock. Mount Mary (Yarra Valley) also turned out a restrained and classy Pinot Noir. It was thin pickings in Coonawarra, but Rosemount Estate made a fine and elegant Show Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. Henschkes Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon (Eden Valley) performed well and of the Hunter Valley reds, the best was perhaps the Tyrrells Vat 9 Shiraz.