Tasted single blind at the 1985 Bordeaux horizontal, the 1985 Château Lynch Bages was pitted against two other wines, both First Growths, and it more than held its own. In many ways it is a forerunner for the brilliant 1989 and 1990 that Jean-Michel crafted, though the 1985 has always been more elegant and comely in style. The nose is impressive after three decades with melted tar, a touch of peppermint and delineated black fruit that seem to gain intensity with each passing moment in the glass. Strangely those secondary notes of bay leaf and dried herbs make way for more primal fruit-derived scents with aeration! The palate does not disappoint. Medium rather than full-bodied, beautifully defined tannins and supremely well-judged acidity, this Lynch-Bages is just so well balanced. Hints of black truffle and sandalwood unfold towards the finish that has disarming purity and great persistence. If you want to know why the 1855 Classification screwed up placing Lynch Bages as a Fifth Growth - taste the wonderful 1985 and then the 1989 and 1990 (though the latter pair have greater longevity). Tasted July 2015. (NM)
The 1985 was the magazine's Wine of the Year in 1988. Today it shows loads of fruit, with blackberry, licorice and fresh herb character. Full, round and velvety. Long and delicious. (JS, Web Only-2007)
Full red-ruby. Great nose combines plum syrup, leather, truffle, spices and a faint herbaceous element. Juicy and very intensely flavored; not particularly complex but offers compelling inner-mouth perfume all the same. Finishes very long and bright, with lovely penetration and horizontal tannins. This wine had the misfortune of following the Lafite and Latour flights in the tasting; while it lacks the class of the first growths, it boasts sneaky intensity. (ST)
The good examples of 1985 Lynch Bages are beautiful bottles of wine. The deep and very complex nose offers up a very classy blend of cassis, dark berries, cigar ash, lovely, gravelly soil tones, espresso and a delicate topnote of petroleum jelly. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with a fine core of fruit, lovely soil inflection, moderate tannins and excellent length and grip on the tangy and very finely focused finish. I have heard reports that there is some pretty wide bottle variation out there with different releases of the ’85 Lynch, but I have never had anything but stellar examples of this lovely vintage of Lynch Bages (until my most recent bottle this past October, please see below). Perhaps I have just been lucky. (Drink between 2014-2050) 93+
We had a case of this once but finished it ages ago, it was so delicious. Three bottles, all bought recently from Berry Bros, were opened. The first was stunning, absolutely all the subtlety, balance and ripe fruit you expect from a top claret. The second was just like it but at 85% intensity. The third was slightly tainted by TCA. The cork of the first was damp, dark and soiled. The cork on the second was very clean and pale. The cork from the third was pale but smelt a bit suspect. (Though of course there are many instances of gorgeous wines having stinky corks.) The score relates to the first bottle. 18/20 points. (JR)
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