1985 Chateau Montelena "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Deep ruby-red; barely a sign of development. Floral, cedary aromas of crystallized berries (raspberry, cassis, mulberry) and graphite; extremely youthful. Thick, large-scaled and very strong in extract; layered and deep. Strong but harmonious acidity gives the wine a vibrant character. Conveys a sense of totally expressed soil. Finishes with substantial ripe tannins and superb sweetness. From a rather low-alcohol year with high natural acidity and lower-than-average yield. 93+ (ST)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Consistently a low to mid-ninety point Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Montelena's 1985 remains frightfully backward at nearly ten years of age. The 1985, 1987, and 1991 have the potential to be three of the longest-lived Montelena Cabernets this fine winery has ever produced. In this tasting, the 1985 was unevolved and youthful, with an opaque ruby/purple color, and a closed but promising nose of cassis fruit, earth, minerals, and oak. Full-bodied, marvelously concentrated and pure, this highly extracted, muscular, blockbuster effort requires a minimum of 5-6 more years of cellaring. A candidate for 20-30 years of longevity, it should prove to be one of the great Montelena Cabernet Sauvignons, but patience is required. (RP)
Rich, complex and well-balanced, developing nicely with maturing earthy dried currant, anise and sage notes. The tannins are ripe and integrated, offering depth and dimension. — 1985 California Cabernet retrospective. (Web Only—2005)
A five-star California vintage, according to critic Michael Broadbent in his book Vintage Wine, in which he wrote: "An extremely good vintage, one of my favourites..."