I can distinctly recall from my early days in the wine trade the release of the 1985 Martha’s Vineyard, which was eagerly anticipated after it was announced that this was the first vintage to be graced with a special label since the legendary 1974. This was at the height of the winery’s popularity and the 1985 Martha’s was an extremely difficult bottle to come by at the time of its release. Consequently, I had not seen a bottle in many years and was delighted to see it included in our vertical at the winery in June. The wine is flat out brilliant, as it soars from the glass in a mélange of black cherries, saddle leather, a great base of soil tones, eucalyptus, smoke, incipient notes of petroleum jelly and a very gentle framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and powerful, with a rock solid core of fruit, great complexity, moderate tannins and a very long, perfectly balanced, tangy and palate-staining finish. This is a very intense vintage of Martha’s that is decidedly younger than the 1987 for instance, and still demands plenty of cellaring time. It will clearly prove to be a legendary vintage of Martha’s and certainly has earned its special label. (Drink between 2025-2100) 96+
In the March tasting (my seventh look at this brilliant wine), I found it once again to be clean and hardly controversial - unless explosive richness and ripeness, as well as gobs of sweet fruit presented in a full-bodied, powerful style are objectionable. The wine was more developed and open than I expected. The mint/eucalyptus character, which can be extremely intense in the Martha's Vineyard cuvee, was presented in a subtle fashion. (RP)
Lovely, complex, minerally beauitfully balanced claret--not unlike Ch Latour. At its peak. 18.5/20 points. (JR)
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