A superb vintage with rich, perfumed wines destined for long ageing
A rather cold winter with some heavy snows. Temperatures stayed cool throughout March and most of April, but there was little rain. May was much warmer and much wetter with heavy rains in the middle of the month that slowed down the vegetative cycle of the vines, A glorious summer began at the start of June and lasted almost withourt interruption until the Nebbiolo harvest. Brief showers on 25 August and 15 September were particularly beneficial to the later ripening grapes, while the cool nights and warm days from early September onwards helped keep the ripening process in equilibrium. An early harvest with a fairly large crop of outstanding quality.
Near-ideal weather conditions made 1985 exceptionally even in quality across all areas and grape varieties. Barbera growers cited this as the best year since 1947. This was indisputably the vintage of the decade.
1985 is the first great modern vintage of Barolo and Barbaresco. It was the first chance for the younger, experimental producers to use their techniques of bunch-thinning, shorter, more effective maceration and French oak maturation on top quality raw material. Many nebbiolos showed new levels of aromatic complexity, and rounder tannins. Out of many good and great wines, I would highlight a few growers. In Barolo: Elio Altare, Domenico Clerico, Aldo Conterno, Giacomo Conterno, Conterno-Fantino, Luciano Sandrone, Paolo Scavino, and Roberto Voerzio. Great Barbarescos came from Ceretto (Bricco Asili), Gaja, and Marchese di Gresy (Gaiun). This was also the vintage in which a number of the new Super Vino Da Tavola wines began to shine: e.g. Arte (Clerico), Vignaserra (Roberto Voerzio), Vigna Larigi and Vigna Arborina (Altare).