Opus One Vertical Tasting featuring the newly released 2017 vintage

Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 07:30 PM

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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 will take up to 15 people but will accept as few as 6 for a curated dinner by Chef Toni.  We must know in advance what food items you want so you will have to coordinate the menu with Toni ahead of time but she can put together any of your favorites from past Wine Bar menus or whatever you want if she has enough notice. The best thing about this table is the view of the wine, we have the largest selection of vintage wine in South Florida and everything is available at a retail price!!  You may want to bring a sweater it is 64 degrees in the wine cave.

 

September/October 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 release of the 2017 vintage. 

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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, October 10th 2020
7:30 PM

1993 Opus One Napa
2001 Opus One Napa
2002 Opus One Napa
2003 Opus One Napa
2005 Opus One Napa
2006 Opus One Napa
2007 Opus One Napa
2010 Opus One Napa
2016 Opus One Napa
2017 Opus One Napa

Menu
Selection of Cheese and Charcuterie
Wild Mushroom and Heirloom Tomato Tartar with Burrata, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic Reduction
Tagliani Pasta with Sundried Tomato and Basil Brown butter and fresh shaved Parmesan Reggiano
Coffee Anise Rubbed Dry Aged Waygu Ribeye Served with Sweet Potato Au Gratin and Cabernet Reduction Sauce


The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $375 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

 

The Newest Release of California's Iconic Opus One-  the Outstanding 2017 vintage!

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2017 Opus One Napa
Price: $383.25    Sale $337.26       6pk $1954.50
2017 Opus One Napa (375ml)
Price: $199.50    Sale $175.56

(95 Points) Opus One had picked 91% of their fruit before the fires started in 2017, and only two lots were eliminated from consideration. The 2017 Opus One, bottled in July 2019, is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Merlot and 1% Malbec. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly grows on the nose, revealing compelling notes of baked black cherries, mulberries, black raspberries, warm cassis and blackberry pie with nuances of spice cake, yeast extract, tapenade, licorice and dusty soil with a waft of wild sage. Medium-bodied, the palate has a lively skip in its step, featuring bags of juicy raspberry and cassis-laced fruit and a refreshing line, supported by ripe, plush tannins, finishing long and graceful.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Overture – the only other wine made at Opus One Winery

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Overture Napa Red wine by Opus One NV
Price: $149.00    Sale $131.12       6pk $759.00

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
2016 Opus One Napa
Price: $383.25    Sale $337.26                       Quantity in Stock: 23

(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

2015 Opus One Napa 3 Liter
Price: $2341.50    Your Price: $2060.52      Quantity in Stock: 1
2015 Opus One Napa Magnum
Price: $1029.00    Your Price: $905.52        Quantity in Stock: 3
2015 Opus One Napa
Price: $367.50    Your Price: $323.40          Quantity in Stock: 1
(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

2011 Opus One Napa
Price: $450.00    Sale Price: $375.00           Quantity in Stock: 1

2010 Opus One Napa
Price: $495.00    Sale Price: $395.00           Quantity in Stock: 4

(96 Points) A glorious perfume of sweet charcoal, truffle, black currants and spice box soars from the glass of the saturated purple-colored 2010 Opus One. The gorgeous aromatics are followed by a beautifully knit, full-bodied red blend (84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5.5% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec) displaying lots of spicy black currant fruit, medium to full body, velvety tannins, and not a hard edge to be found. The texture, length and richness are all impressive. This estate has been making great Cabernet-based wines for nearly a decade ... and this is another one. Drink it over the next 20+ years.Wine Advocate #209 Oct 2013 Reviewer: Robert Parker

The 2010 vintage will be remembered as a uniquely demanding year with unseasonably cold days, untimely rain fall, and surprisingly hot days. Having left a sufficient number of leaves on the vines, our grapes avoided sunburn from late season heat assuring the success of the vintage.  Harvest began on September 23 and concluded on October 23.

Aromas of blackberry, rose petals, chocolate and espresso accentuate fruity and earthy nuances.  Round velvety tannins enrobe a silky texture with a touch of minerality.  The flavors of dark fruit are enhanced by the well integrated acidity.  The acidity and tannin structure promise a very long life ahead.

Varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon 84%, Cabernet Franc 5.5%, Merlot, 5.5%, Petit Verdot 4%, and Malbec 1%

Vintage 2010 Report from the Wine Advocate:  Up until 2011, 2010 was the longest and coldest growing season many producers had ever seen. The summer was quite cold, which tempted some winemakers to de-leaf, a big mistake when an unexpectedly long and brutal heat wave arrived towards the end of the season. Where growers were more prudent, the wines are utterly brilliant, with deep colors, precise fruit, ripe tannins and expressive aromatics. Because the growing season was so long, the vines achieved full phenolic maturity, which gave the tannins a level of textural elegance that is unusual in such big wines. At the same time, there is plenty of California richness, something Napa Valley has no problem producing in abundance. In other words, the best 2010s also possess stunning harmony.

The superiority of the 2010s vis-à-vis the 2009s is increasingly clear, in that the 2010s have much more finessed tannins, richer fruit and better balance. Another feature of the 2010s is that the wines are very site-specific, in other words, they are steeped in terroir. Yes, terroir does exist in California. More on that below.

Readers should do whatever they can to source the best 2010s, as they are magnificent. The top wines will reward cellaring and be long-lived. The weak spot for 2010 is the mountains, where the fruit didn’t ripen as well in all sites. In many places, the 2009s are superior to the 2010s, so a little more selectivity is required when looking at the 2010 Cabernets from mountain vineyards.  The Wine Advocate

2007 Opus One Napa
Price: $495.00    Sale Price: $395.00           Quantity in Stock: 13

(95 Points) Two of the strongest wines ever made at Opus One, the 2007 has terrific black currant fruit, licorice, incense, and subtle smoke, an opulent, even voluptuous mouthfeel, dazzling purity and texture, and a skyscraper-like mouthfeel. This is a sensational Opus One, with sweet tannin and impressive precision and depth. It can be drunk now or cellared for 25+ years. Wine Advocate # 186, Dec 2009 Dark plum, black cherry liqueur like fruit, dark chocolate, sweet ripe berry and plum fruit very forward and seductive, these two wines have the lowest amount of Cabernet Sauvignon ever with 79% with this vintage blended with 8% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. This vintage received an average of 20 days of skin contact prior to 19 months of barrel aging in new French oak. The grapes for Opus One are now 35% Biodynamic and Opus One is now 98% estate grown today. Big and chewy on the tongue but with lovely forward fruit very ripe and seductive even at the early stage, finishing with exotic coco and toasty oak spice on the finish, although this wine is showing nicely right now it will continue to improve for decades in your cellar. Finish 50+ Most Excellent

2006 Opus One Napa
Price: $475.00    Sale Price: $395.00           Quantity in Stock:13
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

2005 Opus One Napa
Price: $395.00    Your Price: $347.60          Quantity in Stock: 7

The opaque purple-hued 2005 exhibits an extraordinary nose of violets, creme de cassis, charcoal, and spring flowers. Gorgeously pure, opulently full-bodied, with sweet tannins, superb concentration, and a low acid, ripe, tannic finish, it tastes like a top-notch vintage of ripe Bordeaux, but made in California. It can be drunk now and over the next 20-25 years. Bravo! 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: $450.00    Sale $385.00                       Quantity in Stock: 1

 

2001 Opus One Napa
Price: $450.00    Sale Price: $375.00           Quantity in Stock: 6
(95 points)  Outer quote mark 2001 was a moderate summer, leading to a relatively early harvest. It was winemaker Michael Silacci's first vintage and he opted for a long, 32-day maceration. The colour remains very deep with little maturity. It's lush but leafy on the nose, with a lifted cedary tone and considerable elegance. It's graceful rather than powerful now, but still shows some tannic grip. Its sucrosity is balanced by some fresh acidity. Textured and very long. Drinking Window 2019 - 2030 (SB) Inner quote mark (3/2019)  Decanter

2000 Opus One Napa
Price: $450.00    Sale $385.00                       Quantity in Stock: 1

1996 Opus One Napa
Price: $450.00    Sale $385.00                       Quantity in Stock: 1
(94 Points) This is one of the finest Opus Ones to date, offering a dark ruby/purple color, as well as a striking, intense bouquet of sweet licorice intermixed with blackberries, cassis, plums, and saddle leather. This seamless, full-bodied wine is more velvety-textured, opulent, and succulent than past vintages. The mid-palate is expansive and chewy. The long finish is filled with glycerin, ripe fruit, and sweet tannin. Drink this impressive, user-friendly yet richly concentrated effort over the next 15 years.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

1979 Opus One Napa Magnum
Price: $3500.00  Sale Price: $2750.00         Quantity in Stock: 1

The first-ever vintage of the joint project between Napa Valley's Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, the wine was produced under the combined direction of Tim Mondavi, and Lucien Sionneau, the winemaker of Mouton, at the Robert Mondavi Winery.
A seemingly perfect growing season from bud break to the beginning of harvest, the 1979 vintage was challenged by rains in September. Early harvesting yielded clean, well-balanced fruit and a wine of resilience and finesse, described as having excellent balance, with a delicate but firm structure.

Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot

A Bit more about Opus One:

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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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