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
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