I’ve had 85 Groth Reserve close to a dozen times (including just last month), and it is one of my favorite mature Napa cabs. I needs an hour or two of air to show its best. It always reminds me of 1990 Cheval Blanc if you have had that before.
I bet the '85 Grange is drinking well right now.
I plan to open an '85 Dominus in the next month or 2. I can post here when I do.
Leoville Las Cases is terrific.
But I’d encourage you to stretch just a bit to get a well stored bottle of 85 Haut Brion. I drank a bottle with some friends a handful of years ago and one, who is not a wine person, emailed me the next day to say that she was still thinking about how great it was.
I agree with Peter. '85 Haut Brion is a great wine.
+1 on the 85 Monte Bello, stunning.
So many good suggestions here. Cheval Blanc 85 was my WOTY last year. La Conseillante 85 is one of favorite wines ever. Mouton, LLC, PLL, HB… all super. Lots of others too.
Understanding that love for a particular vintage can obscure some facts, where the hell is anyone sourcing '85 Haut Brion or Cheval Blanc for under $400/bottle?
Why no Port? You can get 85 Fonseca, which is a fabulous bottle, for under $100.
Exactly. The OP gave the parameters; so that’s that.
Presumably due to either the OP or his wife not being fans of port.
Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone Riserva 1985.
Your are lucky, as 1985 was such a wonderful vintage globally, although Sauternes and Barsac wines are wanting in botrytis and acidity (but still enjoyable).
I was planning to write exactly this as I read through the thread seeing all the recommendations for '85 Lynch Bages. Then I saw Mark had already done so. I strongly recommend against it, as the chance of getting a green bottle is too high to be worth the risk. There are other fine options.
Consider Northern Rhone syrah. I’ve had very good experiences with those over the last several years.
1985 Chave Hermitage
1985 Jamet Cote Rotie
1985 Guigal Brune et Blonde
Good choice, and reasonably priced. As is '85 Canon.
I agree with Mark and Sarah on variability of Lynch Bages, though I really like when on.
HB might be over, but LMHB is well under $400 and very very good,
I’ve only had 85 Martha’s twice, and loved, but believe Mark re variability- hope my lone bottle is on plus side.
I’ve also really liked Dunn Napa and Phelps Backus in last couple years., both way under limit.
And N Rhone, Burg, Piedmont, etc- really '85s are one of easiest birthyears to source good wines!
'85 La Chapelle is gorgeous right now, probably the best or close to the best in N. Rhone in '85 & well under your budget.
One of these two:
Cheval Blanc (price?)
Jadot Corton Pougets (availability?)
Otherwise, the reliable LLC.
Lots of good advice here already. I’ll throw in a couple I haven’t seen mentioned. I’ve had great experiences with Bollinger G.A. and Taittinger CdC.
You might consider red burg as well. The price constraint will be tougher, but if you can thread the needle, IMHO, you are getting a much higher quality vintage than you are with 85 Bordeaux.
My birth year wine as well, so thanks for getting all these suggestions!