s one of the flagship wines that put California on the map as a quality wine producing region, Opus One is a cult wine in the truest sense. To understand what makes this wine so special, we must look at its heritage, which begins with one of the most prolific winemaking partnerships in history.
If you are familiar with Bordeaux, the Rothschild family need no introduction – and Baron Philippe de Rothschild in particular, who managed the Mouton Rothschild estate after taking over from his father at the age of 20. One of the wine industry’s most important pioneers, he introduced Chateau bottling among other achievements within Bordeaux.
Many miles away in California, Robert Mondavi established his first winery in 1966. With his appreciation for the French notion of terroir, meaning ‘of the land’, he wanted to combine the best winemaking techniques with respect for tradition in order to make wines that truly reflected the soil, climate and features of the land on which the grapes were grown. Opus One would go on to become one of the most prolific wines to carry the Mondavi name, and Rothschild’s most significant project outside Bordeaux.
Baron Philippe and Mondavi first partnered in 1979, and this first vintage of Opus One was released in 1983. At this time, it would have set you back £50 per bottle. Californian wine has significantly grown in popularity since then, and Opus One has developed something of a cult following. A Bordeaux style blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (77% in 2006), with 12% Merlot and smaller quantities of Cabernet Frank, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, the wine typically spends 18 months in French oak barrels, and a further 18 months in bottle prior to release, giving it a robust structure and making it capable of ageing magnificently.
Many of California’s (and in particular Napa Valley’s) top red wines are made in the Bordeaux style and the rich, opulent style is known to be a real favourite of Robert Parker. You can expect a big hit of blackcurrant, liquorice and vanilla. The 2006 vintage had the lowest average temperatures during the growing season since 1981. This complex wine has layers of black cherries, cassis, bittersweet dark chocolate and espresso. If you are a Bordeaux lover that is delving into Californian wines for the first time, this is seriously impressive, and is likely to send you on a journey of discovery. The silken smooth texture and lingering finish affirm it as one of Napa’s finest wines. It’s one for the cellar though – no need to crack it open yet.
In contract to some of California’s other big names such as the wines of Screaming Eagle and Harlan Estate, getting hold of Opus One need not be an ordeal, and as such we are pleased to offer quantities of the 2006 vintage for sale. If you are intending to buy it for investment there is good profit to be made from the 2006 vintage. For 3 years’ growth, expect +41.6% and for 5 years, + 74.5%.