Learn more about 1985 White Burgundy
1985 was a candidate for the vintage of the decade for white Burgundy. The winter was particularly savage (temperatures fell to as low as minus 25 degrees centigrade) with the vineyards being badly damaged by frosts. Spring and summer were fairly uneventful but the vintage was made by the unusually warm September and October.
Louis Latour's vintage report described the autumn weather as constant sunshine and soft nights more remindful of the Riviera than Burgundy..
It was around this time that researchers in Dijon began working on Resveratrol, a substance produced naturally by grapes which helps them to fight off rot, and which subsequently has been found to have positive health benefits to human beings. It appears when the threat of rot manifests itself, and then gets eaten up when the rot actually appears. Only if there is no threat of rot at all in an exceptionally healthy year will the grape not form any resveratrol on the skin – and this was the case in 1985.
Today most wines are fully mature. It has proved to be a delicious vintage but perhaps just short of the density, complexity and ultimate longevity for greatness. The whites were probably under-rated because they appeared, on tasting, to have little acidity. In fact it was there but masked by the tannins from thick skins. This phenomenon, curiously enough, was repeated in both 1995 and 2005. Even so, 1985 whites will now be past their best.