1985 Spottswoode Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900013 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Much younger than the three previous vintages of Spottswoode with much more acidity showing through (a characteristic of this vintage). Dark ruby with more purple in the color, a nice layered attack with licorice, cedar wood, tobacco leaf and black and red currants, the wine has terrific aromatics and is by far the most perfumed of the first four vintages. There is a slight abruptness in the finish, no doubt caused by the noticeable acid. This was an identical blend to the 1984, with 4% Cabernet Franc with a balance of Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine still has some upside, but seems largely at its peak of deliciousness where it should stay for another 15 or so years. (RP)  (8/2016)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 The California wine community rejoiced with the picking and first tastings of the 1985s because it appeared that we had found a French-like year in which elegance and balance with lovely, refined fruit would give us some of the finest wines ever seen. Well, it has not turned out that way in the long run, but Spottswoode's '85 does come closer to Bordeaux in its tobacco-scented maturity than we normally see in these parts. It is to be drunk up now and will yield real pleasure in its atypical complexity. Two stars when first reviewed.  (4/2007)


 Medium red with a hint of brown. Evolved, balsamic aromas of currant, black tea and coffee grounds. Still some fruit left, as well as a brown sugar sweetness, with strong juicy acidity and firm tannins keeping the wine alive. (ST)  (6/2016)

K&L Notes

The 1985 vintage was picked as a Wine Spectator wine of the year in 1988 (#8) and put Spottswoode on the map.

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Price: $109.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.