Opus One Vertical Tasting Saturday September 28th and the 2016 Opus One Sale!!

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“Excellent wine generates enthusiasm. And whatever you do with enthusiasm is generally successful. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, quoted in All American wine tastes the same … like Coca Cola.”

- Baron Philippe de Rothschild, The Essential Wine Buff, edited by Jennifer Taylor, 1996.

We are only open at the Wine Bar on Friday and Saturday night this week as we have a private party in the Wine Bar on Thursday night.   

September means it’s time for the fall releases and none of these are more highly anticipated than the iconic Opus one and this year since we have 10 vintages of this first growth of Napa Valley in the store I thought it would be appropriate to host a vertical tasting of Opus One to celebrate the new release. 

Image result for opus one

Are there two men that walked the earth over the last 100 years that were more important to the wine industry as a whole?  I am talking about the two original partners in the Opus One project; Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild. 

Well, it is kind of ironic that the wines from this winery are now getting the best press ever.  We have always been big fans of Opus One and have hosted several events over the years with this winery including an event that put all 26 consecutive vintages released at that time of Opus One on the table.  The 1979 showed brilliantly on that occasion as it did in 2010 when we showed it at the great wine seminar with Opus’s CEO David Pearson.  Even the French tasters, Pierre-Emanuel Taittinger, Eric Rousseau and Pierre Lurton had nice things to say about this first growth of the Napa Valley. 

The newest release is here and although the wine continues to go up in price it has not slowed the demand for this iconic wine as it is sold in over 80 countries the world over and is considered to be one of the most prestigious brands in the wine business.

You can argue that there are better wines at a lower price, but there is no disputing that Opus One is the most successful wine brand created in our lifetime.  There is no other wine that has come on the scene the last 40 years that is over 30,000 cases in production and that costs over $300 per bottle.  Opus One is the best investment you could have made in wine the last 30 years!

Opus One Vertical Tasting

Saturday, September 28, 2019

7:30 PM

1986 Opus One Napa

1990 Opus One Napa

1996 Opus One Napa

1997 Opus One Napa

1999 Opus One Napa

2001 Opus One Napa

2003 Opus One Napa

2004 Opus One Napa

2006 Opus One Napa

2011 Opus One Napa

2015 Opus One Napa


The fee for this tasting is $325 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com


The Newest Release of California's Iconic Opus One-  the Outstanding 2016 vintage!


2016 Opus One Napa

Price: $383.25    Pre- Sale $337.26              (6 pack) $1955.00

(97 points) 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. 97+ Call it a hat trick: Opus One knocks it out of the park with three excellent, if very different, takes on the the last string of vintages: 2015, 2016 and 2017. 2016 is the vintage winemakers can't remember because it was so uneventful. "We had plenty of rain in the early part of the year," commented Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci, "followed by an early budbreak. We were able to pick fairly regularly with an even flow in the cellar." The more 2016s I taste, the harder it is to fault this decadent, rich, blue and black-fruited vintage. (LPB) (9/2018) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Baby Opus  - Overture


Overture Napa Red wine by Opus One NV

Price: $141.75    Sale $124.75       6pk $723

Overture is the second wine of Opus One, it is made from lots not used in the final Opus blend. It is a non-vintage wine, softer and rounder upon release.

Wine Watch Tasting Notes: This is a blend of usually 3 different vintages, This wine has a good amount of fresh earth, black currant and they are 100% Estate bottled they four different vineyard sites, two surrounding the winery and then they have To Kalon Vineyard that was sold to the partnership.  A good amount of dried tobacco cigar box spice and a very lean and savory style, a baby Opus with that classic old-world flair.  Finish 40+               Excellent +


Older Vintages of Opus One in the store:

1991 Opus One Napa 3 Liter image

2015 Opus One Napa

Price: $367.50    Your Price: $323.40          Quantity in Stock: 6

(97 points) Composed of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 2% Malbec, Opus One's 2015 Proprietary Red Wine is truly an iron fist in a velvet glove, delivering a powerhouse of flavors and structure with a seductively plush texture. It opens with a deep garnet-purple color and wonderfully spicy notes of cinnamon stick, cloves and fenugreek with a core of cherry preserves, redcurrant jelly, blackberry pie and warm plums plus hints of camphor, lavender and cigar box. Full-bodied, rich and bold in the mouth, it fills the palate with exotic spice-laced black and red fruits, framed by firm, beautifully ripe, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing with epic persistence. Although it is already approachable, allow it another 3-5 years in bottle for its myriad of subtle accents to fully blossom and then drink it over the next 30+ years. (LPB) 97+ (8/2018) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2014 Opus One Napa Magnum

Price: $1029.00                  Sale $905.52

(96 points) Blended of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec, the Opus One 2014 Proprietary Red Wine sports an inky purple color and nose of crushed black and red currants, black cherries and mulberries with touches of underbrush, sautéed herbs and pencil shavings plus a waft of spice box. Medium-bodied, finely crafted and with an energetic line lifting the red and black fruits, it has a bold frame of grainy tannins and a very long, earth and spice-layered finish. (LPB) (10/2017) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

2012 Opus One Napa

Price: $399.00    Your Price: $351.12          Quantity in Stock: 4

After a warm and dry winter, generous rains returned in March just in time for bud-break and provided the water needed for the rest of the year. Mother Nature continued to favor the vintage with a superb growing season characterized by moderate temperatures and bountiful sunshine resulting in one of the valley’s most exceptional vintages. At harvest, the fruit exhibited the classic style of our Oakville estate vineyards with incredible depth of flavor, layers of complexity and excellent structure. Picking started on September 21st at the fresh fruit stage of ripeness to keep flavors bright and lively. Through careful and precise management of the incoming fruit, harvest continued evenly until it was completed on October 20th.

The 2012 Opus One effuses fresh dark fruit aromas accentuated by subtler notes of forest-floor and graphite.The wine’s round mouthfeel and satiny tannins wrap around classic flavors of cassis, blackberry and black cherry. This refined and age-worthy wine simultaneously offers a long lingering finish, with lively acidity and a sturdy structure at the close.

Wine Watch Tasting Notes:  This is 79% cabernet sauvignon, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot, 6% petit Verdot and 2% Malbec.  A beautiful bouquet of cigar box spice, cassis and currant berry fruit, round and this is a beautiful vintage that opens up rather quickly and on the second day there is even more fruit here and quite smooth but with nice acidity and a long layered finish, old world style and new world boldness.  This wine has a certain amount of early drinking appeal like the rest of the 2012 vintage from Napa but it is built to last for decades in the cellar.  Finish 50+   Most Excellent +

2006 Opus One Napa

Price: $395.00    Sale Price: $320.00           Quantity in Stock: 10

The vintage of 2006 saw the lowest average maximum temperature and lowest average solar radiation in twenty-five growing seasons, of 50 inches of rain measured in Opus One's vineyards that year, all but a fraction fell before bud break. Judicious pruning and a deft use of cover crops resulted in well-balanced vine vigor and beneficial water stress. Begun on September 27th and concluded on November 1st, the crush of 2006 included 18 night harvests before the onset of the heavy autumn rains.

A saturated black-purple, the 2006 Opus One shows aromas of fresh cut roses, licorice, dark chocolate, blackberry pie, smoked bacon and sassafras. Simultaneously silky and dense on the palate, this unfined wine offers flavors of cassis, espresso and zesty black cherry. The persistently smooth yet expansive finish of the 2006 promises long life in the bottle.

The 2006 Opus One is comprosed of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Verdot, and 3% Malbec. During fermentation and maceration, component lots received an average of 26 days of skin contact prior to 17 months of barrel aging in new french oak.

(94 Points) Not surprisingly, the 2006 is a bigger, more muscular, less charming effort displaying unbridled power, full-bodied richness, and notes of new saddle leather, black fruits, roasted herbs, and burning embers. Powerful and rich with sweet tannin, low acidity, and more structure and density than the 2005 as well as less nuance and complexity, the 2006 should be consumed over the next 15+ years.

With a new winemaking team in place, and no longer any influence from the Mondavis, it is ironic that Opus One appears to have produced its greatest trilogy of vintages to date. This wine has always been more about sizzle than substance. While some top wines have emerged, others have been riddled with brett as well as lacking in concentration. That accusation can not be made against any of these three vintages. Wine Advocate # 180, Dec 2008

2003 Opus One Napa

Price: $375.00    Sale Price: $310.00           Quantity in Stock: 31

(94 points) This blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec aged 17 months in French oak is a strong effort offering creme de cassis, cedarwood, white chocolate and spice box. It possesses a Bordeaux-like personality, as one might expect since Opus One is owned by Baroness Philippe de Rothschild and the winemaking team comes primarily from Pauillac. The significant tannin in the wine provides a slight austerity, but this is a full-bodied, rich effort that marks the beginning of a period when Opus One finally began to live up to the enormous potential first announced in the late 1970s by the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild and the late Robert Mondavi. Although accessible now, the 2003 will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for two decades. (RP) (6/2013) Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

1999 Opus One Napa

Price: $450.00    Sale Price: $375.00           Quantity in Stock: 5

(93 points) An exquisite, complex, stylish wine, wearing a cloak of earthy, leathery tannins around flavors of mineral, currant, earth and blackberry. Gains intensity and shows its depth and concentration on the finish, which is long and detailed. *Collectibles* (JL) (10/2002) Wine Spectator

1997 Opus One Napa

Price: $475.00    Your Price: $418.00          Quantity in Stock: 10

(94 points) A rich, decidedly earthy style of Opus, showing currant, anise, black cherry, mineral, leather and sage flavors that are focused and complex. *Cellar Selection* (JL) (11/2000) Wine Spectator

1990 Opus One Napa

Price: $425.00    Sale Price: $360.00           Quantity in Stock: 3

(93 points) This is a terrific Opus, with a broader, deeper palate and less of the overly-sculptured, structured feel that past examples have revealed. The 1990 exhibits a dark ruby/purple color, and a spicy, rich, sweet nose of cassis, vanillin, lead pencil, herbs, and minerals. Medium to full-bodied, with low acidity, sweet tannin, and wonderful layers of ripe, pure, rich fruit, the wine is in complete harmony, without being excessively acidified or brutally tannic. This is a gorgeous Opus for drinking over the next 16-18 years. My instincts suggest it is the most promising Opus One made to date. Wine Advocate #89 Oct 1993

1995 Opus One Napa

Price: $475.00    Your Price: $418.00          Quantity in Stock: 4

(93 points) Freshly cut flowers, raspberries, anise and savory herbs jump from the glass in the 1995 Opus One. A beautifully bright, focused wine, the 1995 stands out for its high-toned aromatics and fabulous balance. All the elements are in the right place. This is a distinctly pretty, feminine Opus One that is all about grace. An attractive aromatic lift rounds things out nicely. Stylistically, the 1995 belongs to the wines of similarly high rainfall vintages such as 1986 and 2011. The 1995 is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 2% Malbec. (AG) (6/2013) Vinous


A Bit more about Opus One:


Over the span of a little more than three decades Opus One has become the most renowned name in American wine.  The ride to the top has never been easy for the folks behind Opus One.  From its conception as an idea created by the late Robert Mondavi and the late Baron de Rothschild, Opus One has been enveloped in controversy.  The ambitious price of the first release, the doubting critics, the cynical consumers, and the overworked hype that has surrounded the wine from the beginning have all fueled the debate about its real quality.  However, the new century has ushered in a new era for Opus One - this great winery's place in the future scheme of things has now been accepted and the quality niche it has carved for itself is no longer being questioned by the wine community.  Opus One has proven itself beyond a doubt - it has, does, and you know you have made it in the world of elite wines when your peers from Bordeaux refer to you as one of the "First Growths" of Napa Valley.

The seeds for Opus were sown as far back as 1970 when Baron Rothschild visited California and made the oft-quoted statement "California wines are like Coca-Cola - they all taste the same."  By 1975 the revered Baron, the dynamo who revolutionized Bordeaux and brought great fame to his beloved Château Mouton, apparently had a change of heart.  He and Robert Mondavi met that year in Hawaii to discuss future possibilities.  Four years later in 1979 the good Baron announced a joint venture with his American counterpart, Robert Mondavi, to produce a Franco-American wine in the Napa Valley.  Conceived to utilize French vinification techniques and traditional Bordeaux grape varieties, the wine would be grown and produced in California; the winemaking decisions would be made jointly by Robert Mondavi's winemaker, Tim Mondavi, and his counterpart at Château Mouton, Lucien Sionneau (Sionneau, now retired, was replaced by Patrick Léon).  The first vintage for Opus One was harvested in 1979, but it was not until October 1983 that a name for the wine was announced.  Hundreds of choices were considered; but it was the Baron, a great patron of the arts and a lover of music, who suggested the name so closely associated with the art of music.  When the name was revealed, Baron Philippe said in an interview: "A bottle of wine is a symphony to me".  A full two years earlier excitement about the first release of this historic venture reached a crescendo at the first Napa Valley Wine Auction in the summer of 1981.  A barrel of the 1979 vintage came up for sale.  Nobody but the winemakers and the inner circle of Mondavi's staff had even tasted the wine, yet the bidding was furious for the first case from the first barrel.  In less than three minutes the gavel slammed on the winning bid of $24,000 from Charles Mara of Syracuse, New York.  The purchase price set an auction record - $2000 a bottle for California wine. 

In the beginning, the grapes for Opus One came from Mondavi's best and most famous piece of vineyard real estate, the To-Kalon Ranch, 100 acres of which (known as the "Q Block") were sold to the joint venture by the Mondavi family after the partnership was formed in 1979.  In 1983 Opus One began planting on a site across Highway 29 from the Robert Mondavi Winery; it was to be called the River Parcel and is north of the present winery.  Two years later the Ballestra Vineyard was planted on what is now the south side of the winery.  In the ensuing years phylloxera struck and completely devastated the first two vineyards (now replanted).  Only Ballestra, which was planted on resistant rootstock at the specific instruction of Mouton's technical director, Patrick Léon, survived the epidemic unscathed.  The winery follows a gravity flow design that put most of the vast edifice underground, covering it with an earthen berm that rises, pyramid-like, from the flat vineyard plain of Oakville which surrounds the site.  No expense was spared to build the Opus One winery.  According to Robert Mondavi, "We stopped at nothing to buy the finest equipment in order to produce the kind of wine we wanted...We looked at the finest materials in the world.  We didn't look at price; we picked what we wanted...we felt this was being built, not for the next 10 or 15 years, but for the next couple of hundred years."  Construction of the winery was not without its obstacles.  The cellar had to be waterproofed, insulated, and cooled using a costly radiant system based on miles of pipes in the cellar's floor and ceiling that circulate 45 F water, cooling the air to 55 F.  Those measures, plus the cost overruns that often are associated with high profile construction projects, caused the Opus One winery budget to balloon.  From initial concept to completion, the project took seven years to finish.  When the doors opened in 1991, winery officials conceded that Opus, budgeted between $10 and $13 million, had cost a staggering $26 million!

The first two vintages of Opus One - 1979 and 1980 - were released together in the spring of 1984.  The wines were controversial in that not all felt they were of outstanding quality.  However, most observers now believe that recent vintages have been at the very top echelon of reds produced in California.  The wines have also become serious collectibles.  The 1985 - one of the top vintages of the 1980's - now commands $300 to $350 a bottle.  A bit high for a bottle of California wine, but that seem small in comparison to the 1979 (the first vintage, hardly drinkable at this point) this wine is selling for around $1250- a true trophy wine.



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