This was my last bottle of ’85 Lafite out of the cellar, as I only bought three bottles when it was released and dearly wish I had bought more, as the wine is rather more expensive today than it was back in 1987! This is an utterly brilliant year for Lafite and one of my favorite wines of the vintage, as it offers up a deep and very complex nose of cassis, sweet dark berries, a touch of fresh coconut, beautifully complex, gravelly soil tones, cigar smoke, fresh herbs and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very refined, with a rock solid core of sappy fruit, stunning complexity, impeccable focus and balance, moderate tannins and a fairly powerful finish (particularly for Lafite from this era) that closes with great purity and grip. A brilliant synthesis of the vintage’s plush and suave personality and the inimitable elegance of Lafite. (Drink between 2012-2060)
Tasted at the château, the 1985 Lafite-Rothschild was the best example of this wine that I have tasted a dozen or so times. It has a beautiful nose that is just classic Lafite. It is still fresh yet understated, stately even, with tobacco and cedar-tinged red berry fruit. It is not a powerful bouquet, but there is something...magnetic about it. The palate is still youthful with fine tannin, like the nose, understated yet very well balanced. The acidity here is perfectly judged with an almost nonchalant finish. You almost miss its virtues - it is just so self-effacing and insouciant. Just a really lovely Lafite-Rothschild at the peak of its powers. (NM)
Light, slightly loose-knit red berry fruit on the nose is complemented by warm gravel and smoky aromas, though it lacks a bit of energy. The palate is nicely balanced, not powerful but focused, with adequate freshness. As mentioned in my previous tasting note, this has dispensed with some density in recent years, and if your expectations are modest, it remains enjoyable. (NM)
A graceful wine with cedar, berry and cherry aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a succulent, sweet fruit finish. (JS)
The year of extremes: a very cold winter down to minus 15 °C (59 °F), from 8 to 16 January, violent storms with hail at the beginning of June, Saharan drought, heatwave in August and throughout the autumn. Harvest started at the beginning of October, with a temperature of nearly 30 °C (86 °F). Finally, an ideal harvest offering a vintage of great quality and surprisingly abundant. Second in the trio of vintages served blind at the 150th anniversary celebration. Very impressive and absolutely at its peak. Juicy and mineral with a sweet, rich nose. Neat and well balanced with no excess of tannins. Really lively. Firm, salty and savoury. This is one of those Lafites that dances on the palate. Great balance. Bravo! 18/20 points. Drink 2000-2030. (JR)
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