Robert Parker 100
Hear! Hear! Mr. Parker, I second your motion. I find myself in complete and utter agreement regarding the soaring specimen of vinous perfection that is the 1985 Sassicaia. During our trip to Tuscany, Robert Parker stated that this wine–this little Italian gem that would catapult an entire nation to enological superstardom–may be the best wine he tasted in his 38 years as a wine critic. This is a statement of resounding importance for vino Italiano as a whole. He said so based on the many times he has encountered and reviewed this wine. In my more modest experience as a critic, I am humbled but am also immensely proud to have had the opportunity to taste the 1985 Sassicaia with my mentor on numerous occasions. I remember each time with vivid clarity and those moments are the most viscerally thrilling tasting experiences in my career so far. Everyone has a reason to feel a profound emotional connection to a wine. For me, the 1985 Sassicaia is the liquid link to where I am now as Italian reviewer with The Wine Advocate. The bottle represents a symbolic “passing of the baton” in terms of our Italy coverage that now rests with me. The wine is as monumental as are my responsibilities. The bouquet with fluid aromas of dark fruit, cassis, licorice, balsam herb and toasted spice is infinite and complex. The wine drinks beautifully right now with stunning, silky tannins. Honestly, this wine is no where near the end of its drinking window. It remains on a high plateau and has not yet started to descend. Back in 1985, I was a teen living in Rome because my father was working at Cinecittà. Those years in my adopted home would forever change my sense of aesthetics and my sensibility to all expressions of human creativity, including wine. The winter of 1985 evokes a strong sense of nostalgia because Rome saw a record snowfall in January that would paralyze the city, close schools, and transform its most beautiful monuments–from the Trevi Fountain to the Colosseum–into massive snow statues. That event would award me the best “day off from school” of my entire childhood. Romans had never seen their city in whitewashed brilliance and everyone took to the streets to enjoy this unique occasion, and hurl a few random snowballs. There has only been one important snowfall since 1985. People with cross-country skis gliding past the Spanish Steps and snowmen appeared on Via Condotti. I thought of that special day as I tasted this wine.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2035
The 1985 Sassicaia is obviously an iconic wine. Still deeply colored, the 1985 is endowed with serious depth, gorgeous inner perfume and tons of pure textural richness. This isn’t the greatest bottle of the 1985 I have had, but it is pretty close.