Something about Opus One
The world-renowned Opus One was created in the 1970’s as a result of a merger between two visionaries, Baron Philippe de Rothschild (lengendary Bordeaux wine magnate and owner of Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac) and Robert Mondavi (an icon in the history of American wine with a namesake wine empire in California). It was their aim to develop a New World equivalent to a Bordeaux First Growth in the Napa Valley region of California.
The exceptional style of Opus One resulted from the combination of their talent, their vision and the unique terroir of the Oakville AVA (an Eden for Cabernet Sauvignon). Today, this highly sought-after wine is produced from four different parcels, two parcels making up the famous 40-hectare To-Kalon vineyard, along with the River and Ballestra Parcels surrounding the Opus One winery. While the exact proportions depend on vintage, the blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, reminiscent of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. The wines are vinified separately before being matured in French oak barrels for a period of 18 months. They stay in the cellar, ageing in bottle for another 15 months, before being released on the market in October of each new year.
Four years before his death in 2008, Robert Mondavi sold Robert Mondavi Winery to the Constellation Brands wine conglomerate, along with his 51% share in Opus One. The project, which also saw the addition of a new parcel known as To-Kalon South, is now jointly managed by the Rothschild family and Constellation brands.
In the world of fine wines, Opus One has no equal. Its emblematic blue label tells the story of the union between two visionaries, the merger of two dynasties to produce one iconic wine: a Bordeaux-style Grand Vin from the greatest terroirs of Napa.
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A blend of 77.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1.5% Malbec, the Opus One 2016 Proprietary Red Wine was recently bottled in July and August 2018. Very deep purple-black, the nose reveals profound notions of chocolate-covered cherries, crème de cassis, blueberry compote and licorice with touches of tobacco, cedar chest, Sichuan pepper, eucalyptus and violets. Full-bodied, super concentrated and packed with black and blue fruits, the palate is built like a brick house with firm, ripe, finely grained tannins and oodles of freshness, finishing long and perfumed. This a very decadent expression of Opus One with a provocatively effortless harmoniousness that is truly difficult to resist.
Fantastic aromas that are complex and complete with blackcurrants, blueberries and herbs, such as basil and bay leaf. But always subtle. Full-bodied yet linear and very refined with a very persistent finish. It shows drive and brightness. So refined at the end. Needs at least three to five years to come together.
The 2016 Opus One has turned out beautifully. In this mini-vertical, the 2016 most closely resembles the 2014, although it has more mid-palate sweetness and overall depth, along with a slightly darker profile. I expect the 2016 will enjoy a long drinking window that will start to open relatively soon. Of the last four vintages, the 2016 is certainly the most open-knit in the early going. The blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec.
Moderate year. Sufficient rain in winter and then one inch of rain in April. Normal budbreak, a heat spike late June followed by a cooler July and normal August. There was a mild heat spike in early September. So, all in all a pretty good year. ‘Gal next door vintage.’ 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec. Bottled in July/August 2018. Still quite crimson. Tense nose promises much. Very polished and suave. Very fresh and racy. 2023-2040
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