There’s a new Opus on its way and the line forms to the left. Seamless layers of fresh, juicy black fruit build to an epic crescendo.
Opus One is a member of an elite group whose members you can count on two hands: Napa Valley’s “First Growths.” It is a celebration of the relationship between Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. The two wine icons first met in Hawaii in 1970 where the Baron, proprietor of first-growth Château Mouton-Rothschild, first mentioned the idea of making a wine with Robert. Eight years passed, until a fateful meeting in Bordeaux sparked this monumental joint venture. Today, as ever, the wine is made entirely from Oakville fruit, including two prime parcels in the legendary To Kalon vineyard. Even beginning with such great raw materials, the fruit is still sorted meticulously by hand, ensuring only the finest fruit makes it into the fermenter. And then only the finest barrels of wine become Opus One, with the rest directed into the Overture bottling, a great wine in its own right.
The purity of fruit is really something else here, with currants and fresh flowers, such as violets and roses. Flower stems as well. Fantastic length and structure to the wine, with tightness and focus. Wonderful fruit. Graceful. A blend of 78% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 7% petit verdot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% malbec. Try after 2028.
Similarly ruby/purple-hued, the 2019 Opus One is cut from the same cloth as the 2018 yet has a touch more baby fat and opulence, at least as this stage. Beautiful black raspberry, cassis, toasted spice, lead pencil, and subtle oak all make an appearance, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a rounded, layered mouthfeel, impressive tannins, and a great finish. I don't think it has the same precision as the 2018, but it brings another level of hedonism. It's another beautiful wine from this team.
Winemaker Michael Silacci commented that usually the blends are finished in January or February after the vintage. This year, with the 2019s, he was still tweaking the blend, but he did mention that this is "pretty close to the final blend." Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Opus One leaps from the glass with notes of Black Forest cake, Morello cherries, mulberries and fresh blackcurrants plus hints of licorice, wilted roses, Sichuan pepper and iron ore. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with juicy black, blue and red fruits, framed by velvety tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling earthy/mineral note. Tasted as a barrel sample, this is a truly magnificent Opus One in the making!