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News

OPUS ONE - 2017

The winter of 2017 ended a five-year drought with January recording the most rainfall in over 20 years. The abundant rainfall continued into March, causing a modest delay in budbreak, and pushing bloom back by two weeks. Increased soil moisture allowed for healthy vine growth and development. The summer, in turn, was warm and punctuated by occasional heat waves. Despite Mother Nature’s variability, favorable weather in August provided optimal conditions for fruit development and maturation. Superb flavors and excellent ripening led to an earlier than expected harvest, which commenced on the 5th of September.

The Opus One 2017 offers a harmonious aromatic balance of rich dark fruit, stems of roses, and earthy forest floor. The juicy entry offers a round, silky mouthfeel with just enough acidity to complement the satin texture. This seductive wine shows flavors of black cassis, black cherry and a hint of cocoa powder. The fine-grained, plush tannins evolve into a long, supple finish.  A supremely age-worthy wine, it will delight now and for many years to come.

 

VARIETALS
Cabernet Sauvignon 80%, Petit Verdot 9%, Cabernet Franc 5%, Merlot 5%, and Malbec 1%

SKIN CONTACT 20 days

BARREL AGING
17 months in new French oak

 

 

Opus One wins expansion approval - Opus One winery convinced county Planning Commissioners on Wednesday that its success warrants doubling wine production and making other changes, despite some public concerns about cumulative impacts.

“I think it is a well-designed change for this winery that is minimally impactful,” Commissioner Michael Basayne said before the commission granted unanimous approval.

Wine legends Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild founded Opus One in 1979. Located in Oakville in the heart of Napa Valley, the winery makes only one wine.The building itself opened in 1991 and is one of the more striking sights along Highway 29. Green lawns slant upward to meet the walls of the front building, which seems to be rising out of the earth with some of the landscape still clinging to it.

 

Opus One is permitted to produce up to 110,000 gallons of wine annually. Despite the limit, it produced 170,590 gallons in 2012 and 116,580 gallons in 2015. It wants to change its permit so it can produce up to 250,000 gallons annually, a county report said.

The winery also asked to expand its 80,000-square-foot winery by 51,906 square feet for a fermentation tank room, barrel preparation area, storage, conference rooms, offices and other uses. New structures would be built to the rear of the winery.Basayne said the appearance of Opus One is iconic. He noted the architectural firm that designed it also designed San Francisco’s Transamerica pyramid.

“It’s very obvious the changes proposed will not be visible from the passersby on Highway 29,” Basayne said.

Opus One CEO David Pearson said the expansion is designed by Scott Johnson, who designed the original winery. (NVR)

 

 

 

Instant Collection of Opus One Sold for $165,000

© Opus One/Sotheby's | One hundred cases of Opus One have been sold by Sotheby's New York

It took a private dinner and an extension to the limited-period offer, but a lover of Napa cab has spent big bucks on a stellar collection.

A buyer from mainland China has purchased a 100-case collection of Opus One, the retail arm of Sotheby's has revealed.Initially on sale for five days only, there were no bites for the $165,000 collection and the offer was extended for another five days. The team at Sotheby's New York store also threw in an extra incentive: a private tour of Opus One followed by a dinner for six. 

 

One hundred cases of Opus One have been sold by Sotheby's New York

The final deadline for buyers was Wednesday, November 20, after which the 100 cases – ranging from the 1997 vintage to 2005 – were to be offered separately. Sotheby's reported that there had been "multiple offers" for the 600 bottles, but the purchase by a Chinese buyer suggests that collectors in the Far East are looking beyond Bordeaux and Burgundy to source fine wine. Announcing the launch of the collection earlier in November, Jamie Ritchie, CEO and president Americas and Asia for Sotheby’s Wine, said: “We believe this is the largest collection of Opus One ever to appear on the market."

 

 

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History

The most famous wine producer in Bordeaux, perhaps the whole of France, Baron Philippe de Rothschild had an innovative thought in 1970. He wanted to make wine outside his home region Bordeaux. He had followed the rapid development of California throughout the 1960s and decided to start there. Recommended by his close friend, the president of the Wine Institute of California Harry Serlis, Baron Philippe contacted Robert Mondavi in 1970.

 

The result of the joint venture between the two partners was officially launched as a wine by the name of Opus One in 1980. The first bottles, vintages 1979 and 1980, were sold in 1984. Opus One rested on an idea and the slogan Best of Both Worlds. Napa Valley in California was in those days regarded as the paradise for winemaking. If anyone,  Baron Philippe de Rothschild knew how to make a classically stylish high-quality red wine; the key to fruitful cooperation was found.

 

Opus One was a huge success. It is considered California's first super premium wine and it introduced a totally new price category exceeding the magic line of 50 dollars. Opus One was at first made at Robert Mondavi's estate, but the plan from the beginning was to eventually establish a separate facility. The 30-million-dollar Opus One Winery was completed in 1991. The investment paid itself back as early as the winery's fourth year of operation. At that time, the price of the wine had risen above 70 dollars.

 

The winery’s board of directors appointed David Pearson CEO in 2004, the first person singly responsible for Opus One. Michael Silacci was thereafter named winemaker, the first to assume full responsibility for viticulture and winemaking.

Constellation Brands, Inc. purchased Robert Mondavi Corporation and assumed 50% ownership of Opus One in 2005. Baroness Philippine de Rothschild and then Constellation Brands President and COO Robert Sands announced the Opus One Accord between Baron Philippe de Rothschild, S.A. and Constellation Brands, Inc. Opus One assumed operating independence in three key areas: vineyard management, domestic and international sales, and administration.

 

Asserting its independence and achieving a keen balance between its partners, Opus One remains dedicated to uncomprised quality. Opus One’s sole purpose is to express the vision and passionate spirit of its founders for generations to come. 

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Vineyards

Looking out across Opus One’s vineyards, one immediately senses Opus One is different. Cultivated with passion and a singular vision, the four meticulously hedged vineyards comprising the winery’s 169 acres (68.4 hectares) bear a unique signature in the Napa Valley. There is continuity in the way the vines are planted, tended, and harvested that imbues each vintage with unwavering quality.

 

Great winemaking begins in the vineyard. At Opus One, traditional approaches are taken wherever they work best. And, when modern techniques benefit the winegrowing process, they are researched, evaluated and integrated into practice. For instance, the vines are planted five to six times more densely than is typical in California. At higher densities, the vines produce smaller berries with higher skin-to-juice ratios and more intense flavors and aromas.

 

Opus One’s first estate vineyard was acquired in 1981 when Robert Mondavi sold Q Block (35 acres/14.2 hectares), part of his famous To-Kalon Vineyard, to the newly-launched joint venture. Then in 1983, the River Parcel, a 50-acre (20.2-hectare) ranch in Oakville, was purchased as surrounding land for the joint venture winery east of Highway 29. The following year Opus One acquired the 49-acre (19.8-hectare) Ballestra Vineyard, adjacent to the River Parcel and extending south to the Oakville Cross Road.

 

In 1995, Opus One viticulturists replanted the original Q Block with low-yield, high-density spacing and phylloxera-resistant rootstock. In 2008, Opus One acquired its newest piece of the To-Kalon Vineyard, the 48-acre (19.4-hectare) K Block, formerly owned by Robert Mondavi Winery.

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Winemaking

Winemaking at Opus One resolves to a single goal: to produce an extraordinary wine. No compromises are made. Guided by the vision of our founders, our winemaker Michael Silacci combines intuition and technical acumen with the dual perspective of viticulturist and winemaker.

Every cluster of Opus One grapes is hand-harvested, and just as much care is taken when transporting them from the vineyard to the winery. The integrity of the grapes is assured by placing the clusters in small picking boxes that hold no more than thirty-five pounds (sixteen kilograms).

 

The grapes are hand-sorted: any leaves or imperfect grapes are discarded. Only gravity is used to move the berries from the destemmer into the stainless steel fermenting tanks below. Stainless steel is the perfect material – it provides a cool and gentle beginning to the fermentation process.

Because Opus One makes only one wine, each tank can be dedicated to a single lot of grapes; each tank is used only once during harvest, so fermentation and maceration need never be rushed. The long, warm maceration in temperature-controlled tanks draws out myriad rich flavors and colors from the skins, seeds, and pulp. The tanks are raised so the free-run wine can flow into new French oak barrels; the remaining skins tumble easily into basket presses.

 

In another gentle, unhurried step, the skins, seeds, and pulp are pressed. Like the free-run wine, the pressed wine is put into barrels to be aged. To provide backbone to the wine, a portion of the press is often added to the final blend.

Once the wine is safely in barrel, the topping, racking, and fining processes begin. During the first year, Michael continually tastes from each French oak barrel, evaluating the effect of the wood on the wine.

Fining, which occurs after the final racking in tank, also illustrates the hand-crafted nature of Opus One. Carefully added in more turbid vintages, fresh egg whites attract the very small particles that would otherwise remain in suspension. Fining clarifies and polishes the wine.

 

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Inside information

 

In keeping with the tradition of many great Bordeaux estates, Opus One produces a fine second wine called Overture. Since 1993, Overture has been crafted as a part of our relentless pursuit of quality for Opus One.  Every acre of our estate vineyard is farmed with the attention to detail and singular focus required to produce Opus One.  As part of the highly selective blending process, some lots, despite showcasing the amazing Oakville terroir of our estate, are not chosen for the final blend of Opus One. These lots are afforded additional time in barrel, in combination with blending across multiple vintages, to achieve a final non vintage wine of remarkable elegance and complexity that captures the essence of our estate vineyard over time. This is Overture.

Aged in French oak, Overture is composed of the same five varietals that define Opus One:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet France, Petit Verdot and Malbec. 

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Winemaking since 1979

  • BARON PHILLIPE DE ROTHSCHILD

    Owner
    Making a great wine is easy; it’s just the first 100 years that are difficult.”

Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Achim Becker / Wineterminator.com, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  21 wines 

American beauties like Colgin Herb Lamb 2000, 2002 and 2002, Opus One, Dominus etc.

4m 1d ago

 James Suckling., Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  21 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 1959 / Another perfect bottle. This has been a long-time favorite with mint and fresh basil, as well as currants and dried fruits on the nose. It turns to dried flowers. Full-bodied with spices, berries, and light eucalyptus character. Christmas cake too. Full body with velvety tannins. This bottle was almost mid-shoulder height, but it was a perfect wine. 100 points

9m 4d ago

 K. Han, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  12 wines 

Opus One 2016 / A rich, dense ruby color, hints at the dark fruit nose of blackberry and currant that carries through to the palate, interwoven with complex aromas of black licorice, anise and crème de cassis. On the palate, the wine opens up to reveal an earthiness, with brown spice, cigar box and ripe dark fruits that linger throughout the extracted and long finish. The texture is opulent and rich, yet has a velvety quality with supple density. Rich, fine-grained tannins are balanced with ripe fruit, acidity and oak.

9m 4d ago

 Opus One  has updated producer and wine information

9m 21d ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  2 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  15 wines 

Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 / In the running for the wine of the vintage, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select is an incredible success and offers more depth, opulence, and purity than just about every other wine out there. Revealing a dense purple color as well as a killer nose of blueberries, chocolate-covered cherries, scorched earth, tobacco, violets, and exotic spices, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, a seamless, pure, incredibly layered mouthfeel, building tannins, and a great, great finish. As with most top 2017s, it stays tight and compact on the palate, with notable structure and impressive concentration. It has some up-front appeal given its purity of fruit and balance, yet it's going to take 7-8 years to hit prime time and will be a long-lived bottle of Napa Cabernet. Hats off to Doug Shafer and the team for yet another magical Cabernet Sauvignon!

9m 22d ago

 Erin Larkin, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  14 wines 

SPANNING 41 YEARS OF MOUNT MARY (AND FRIENDS)
 Well I can say for certainty, this isn’t a common tasting to be invited too… and what a privilege it was.  I worked hard to assimilate some kind of cohesion on my notebook, but we are all very lucky I applied myself as well as I did, because the wines were distracting to say the least.  The notes below are as I wrote them last night.  I have been honest in my guesses – both right and wrong – and have recorded closures and points.


The host, Bob, had worked with Sam Middleton (Mount Mary) over the past couple of weeks to single out the best vintages to show on the evening, and Bob then matched to them, to some (very) interesting Western Australian and American examples, for context.


All wines purchased on release and stored in a subterranean temperature-controlled cellar from purchase.  Served blind, in brackets of two, except where stated.

11m 2d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  53 wines 

2017 Opus One / Ruby. Cassis, blueberries, anise, spices, vanilla, liquorice, some coffee, layered nose. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, juicy, spices, liquorice, detailed and layered, nuanced, intense and superb length. 96

11m 15d ago

 Opus One  has updated producer and wine information

11m 29d ago

 Jancis Robinson MW, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Opus One . In a tasting of  25 wines 

Alión 1994 / Production was much smaller then than now. All bought in fruit of course. There are different phases for ageing of Ribera. After bottling it is depressed and then the wine starts to develop. After 8 months some reduction but not a problem because reduction protects the wine against ageing.After 7-10 years there will be light reduction. This is the 1994 stage currently. Some people will call this brett butit’s not because we have analysed all our wines. We have observed that the 1994 is leaving the reductive phase but the 1996 is approaching it. This is why these are the two wines from the whole set that are more difficult than most to understand. We prefer not to decant.
Blackish crimson. Slightly cheesey on the nose – even a bit dusty. A more traditional style than many – hint of burnt toast. Really interesting and logn – complete. Thick and sweet. Dusty finish. Rich but with lots of very firm tannins.

1y 8d ago

 Opus One  has updated producer and wine information

1y 2m ago

 Opus One  has updated producer and wine information

1y 2m ago

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