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What Is Opus One Wine

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Opus One Takes Technology And Precision To A Whole New Level

Best Wine-Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon Review

At Opus Ones state-of-the-art facility, the winemaking team goes to painstaking lengths to maintain quality. Grapes are hand-harvested in individual lots nothing too extreme about that but, from there, each lot is sorted and fermented separately, requiring over three dozen giant steel fermentation tanks.

Rather than being sorted by hand, harvested grapes are processed by a custom-made optical sorter, which uses cameras to analyze the size, shape, and color of every grape.

Finally, Opus One uses 14 different cooperages to provide over 1,000 new oak barrels annually. Tastings take place in a high-tech lab by chief winemaker Michael Silacci before the final blend is decided upon.

An Introduction To Californias Opus One

Added by: Peter Shakeshaft on 7th September 2021

Californias investment wines are enjoying a golden era and the US West Coast is now home to the second most expensive fine wines in the world after Burgundy. We look at one of the regions iconic cult wines the product of a marriage between Bordeaux aristocracy and New World talent Opus One.

  • The Liv-ex California 50 index hit an all-time high in August 2021
  • Californian investment wines account for 7% of trade share on Liv-ex in 2021
  • UK remains the largest overseas market for Californian investment wines
  • The Opus One index is up 33% in the last 5 years

Californias famous Opus One is the product of the shared vision of two of the most influential winemakers of all time, Chateau Mouton Rothschilds Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Napa Valleys Robert Mondavi. Sadly no longer with us, they have both been responsible for great innovation which will continue to shape the fine wine industry for the foreseeable future. They originally established Opus One to combine the best of Old and New World wine making expertise in one of the most sought after plots in the Napa Valley.

It all started in Hawaii at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in 1970, where Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi met for the first time. Following years of planning, they formed a joint venture in 1980, to which Mondavi sold 35 acres from his famous To Kalon vineyard in Oakville, Napa.

Of The Blend Comes From Napas Legendary To Kalon Vineyard

The To Kalon vineyard is jointly owned by a number of famed Napa producers. It is generally regarded as the best winemaking land Napa has to offer. In 1981, Mondavi sold part of his share of the vineyard to the newly launched Opus One venture, providing high-quality grapes that serve as the backbone of the blend.

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Does Opus One Have A Wine Club

Opus One, the Californian winemaking jewel that merged the Old and the New World. So that is why we are ecstatic to bring three fantastic wines by Opus One as the August offer for members of our Wine Club: the wonderful 2015 and 2016 vintages of its homonymous flagship wine, and its second label, the fantastic Overture

Winemaking At Opus One

Opus One 2014 750ml

Today Opus One is produced from four different parcels in the western zone of the Oakville AVA of Napa Valley: two parcels forming the famous 40-hectare To-Kalon vineyard and the River and Ballestra Parcels, which form 28 hectares in total and surround the present-day Opus One Winery. The vineyards are, for the most part, managed with traditional practices, like manual harvest of the fruit. Nevertheless, modern winemaking and viticultural techniques are sometimes applied at the winery and out in the vineyards, but only after careful examination to determine whether they are indeed better suited to the vintage. The wine is a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which is complemented with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, true to the style of Bordeauxs Left Bank. The various wine plots are vinified separately in stainless steel tanks before they are aged in barrels of new French oak for a period of around 18 months. They are then kept for another 15 months before they are released on the market on October 1st of each year.

Starting in 1993, the estate also began to produce a non-vintage second wine named Overture from a blend of the same five varietals, in limited quantities. These wines have become known for a great elegance and complexity, worthy of their famous label.

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Opus One Vs Caymus: Which Should You Collect

Comparing Opus One vs. Caymus reveals that Opus One is earthier, while Caymus is more fruit-forward.


As two of the biggest names in the Napa Valley wine industry, Opus One and Caymus make highly sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon blends of outstanding quality. However, this is where their similarities end. When you compare Opus One vs. Caymus, theres a clear difference in style and flavorthe former is heavily inspired by Old-World Bordeaux blends, while the latter is unapologetically New World in style. In simplistic terms, Opus One is elegant and complex and Caymus is powerful and concentrated. For this reason, most wine lovers will have a clear preference for one producer over the other. In this guide, youll learn what the flavor differences are between Opus One and Caymus as well as the differences in value, age-worthiness, and collectability so that you can curate your ideal collection of great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Opus One Wines : Key Points

The world-renowned Opus One was created in the 1970’s as a result of a merger between two visionaries, Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi . It was their aim to develop a New World equivalent to a Bordeaux First Growth in the Napa Valley region of California. The exceptional style of Opus One resulted from the combination of their talent, their vision and the unique terroir of the Oakville AVA . Today, this highly sought-after wine is produced from four different parcels, two parcels making up the famous 40-hectare To-Kalon vineyard, along with the River and Ballestra Parcels surrounding the Opus One winery. While the exact proportions depend on vintage, the blend is dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, complemented by Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, reminiscent of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. The wines are vinified separately before being matured in French oak barrels for a period of 18 months. They stay in the cellar, ageing in bottle for another 15 months, before being released on the market in October of each new year.

Opus One A Brief Look At Their Origins

Opus One Winery 2013 Offering

It began with Château Mouton Rothschild winemaker Lucien Sionneau and Robert Mondavis son Timothy who made the partnerships first vintage at the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1979. The following year the partners officially announced their joint venture.

In 1981 a single case of the joint venture wine sold for $24,000 at the first Napa Valley Wine Auction the highest price ever paid for a California wine. The following year Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild began label design. The partners agreed to choose a name of Latin origin for the joint venture, allowing for easy recognition in both English and French. Baron Philippe announced his choice, Opus, a musical expression denoting the first masterwork of a composer. Two days later he proposed an additional word: Opus One.

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Opus One Napa Valley California Wine Cabernet Sauvignon

Everything about Opus One Napa Valley CaliforniaCabernet Sauvignon wine producer profile, wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, history of the property, information on their wine making techniques, terroir and soil. You can also read about the Grapes used for California wine and learn about the extensive History of Napa Valley, California Wines

Opus One History, Overview

Opus One was founded in 1979 when two of the worlds most famous wine families began producing wine from their joint venture in Napa. Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild became friends back in 1970. Less than a decade later, using parcels from Mondavis To Kaylon vineyards they created a wine that became an instant hit with wine lovers in American and in Europe. The first parcels of land for Opus One came from 35 acres of vines already owned by Robert Mondavi, located in the famous Q block of the To Kaylon vineyards. That purchase became solidified in 1981.

At first, the partners referred to their venture as Opus. A few days later, thanks to a suggestion from Baron Rothschild, they lengthened the name to Opus One. The partners chose Opus One as the name of their wine due to its Latin origin. More importantly to the two extremely, savvy wine marketers, Opus One was easy to pronounce in multiple languages.

The Founders of Opus One

Opus One Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking

Serving and Opus One with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Live From The Vines: Opus One Winery

Hosted by Michael Silacci & Warren Winiarski

Opus One is the realized dream of two men: Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux, and Napa Valley vintner Robert Mondavi. Together, the founders set out to create a single wine dedicated to the pursuit of uncompromising quality. This singular mission has shaped their every vintage. In this episode of Live from the Vines, our team goes behind the cellar door into the intricate world of Opus One Winery, where hand-harvesting and traditional approaches reign supreme. We meet founder and winemaker Michael Silacci, and Opus One winemaker, Warren Winiarski, to discover how modern techniques are rigorously researched and evaluated to assess their benefits, before being integrated into practice.

Opus One, Napa Valley 2017 Opus One, Napa Valley 2016 Opus One, Napa Valley 2013 Opus One, Napa Valley 2011 Opus One, Napa Valley 2008 Opus One, Napa Valley 2004

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Comparing The Best Opus One And Caymus Vintages

Blind tasting is the best way to identify the wines that appeal most to you and to compare Opus One vs. Caymus on a level playing field. For an apples-to-apples comparison, taste the flagship labels separately from the second labels . Its also important to taste the same vintage side by side, as some vintages are bolder and more concentrated than others. For example, in 2015, California experienced a heatwave, and, as a result, most of the wines from Napa Valley that year are higher in alcohol and residual sugar than usual. Comparing 2015 Opus One to a cooler Caymus vintage, like the 2010 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection, will provide an atypical example of the differences and similarities between these producers.

Keep in mind that average critic scores arent the most important factor to consider when you shop for wine.

In the list below, youll see how some notable recent vintages from Opus One and Caymus stack up against each other :

Opus One
2012 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection 92 points

When Should I Drink Opus 1 2006

Buy 2012 Opus One, Napa Valley, California, USA Wine ...

The 2006 comes across as a bigger, more structured wine than the 2007. The tannins are bolder, more dramatic, and more present. The wine displays impressive depth, not the velvety elegance of the 2007, but is a more muscular wine that begs for 2-3 years of cellaring and should drink well for 20-25 years.

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Opus One Produces Just Two Wines

The flagship Opus One red wine is a Cabernet-dominant Bordeaux blend, which also contains smaller quantities of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Merlot.

Opus Ones second and only other wine, Overture, is made with the fruit that doesnt quite make the Opus One grade. Its name is another musical reference, meaning an orchestral piece at the beginning of a composition.

Choosing Between Opus One And Caymus

To decide which wine is right for you, its helpful to consider whether you usually prefer Old-World or New-World wines. Collectors who love New-World styles will likely prefer the sweet, fruity taste of Caymus, while collectors who enjoy more herbaceous and earthy notes will favor Opus Ones Bordeaux-style blends. However, keep in mind that while Opus One does taste more similar to classic Bordeaux than Caymus does, these wines still have a great deal of New-World influence. Opus One is a great transition wine for people who normally only drink Old-World wines and would like to branch out into more modern California wines. Likewise, Opus One is a great option for collectors who usually only drink New-World wines and would like to explore more traditional styles.

Generally, Opus One is a better investment for collectors who want to resell their collections on the secondary market.

Price is another factor to consider when comparing Opus One vs. Caymus. Generally, Opus One is a better investment for collectors who want to resell their collections on the secondary market, as these wines are more sought after and increase significantly in value over time. For example, Opus One frequently ranks among the top 20 best-performing wines on the market each year, according to Liv-ex. Caymus wines can be resold as well, but you will generally make less profit from selling these bottles.

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Now that your sponge is damp, dot your foundation evenly around the face. Once the product is distributed, youre ready to blend. Rather than swiping the sponge across the face, youre going to use the large side of the sponge to bounce/dab all over. Its best to use a stippling motion, advises Ferreri.

Is Opus One A Blend

Opus One Wine Tasting with Rhett Gadke

Is opus one a blend? Opus One is a Proprietary Bordeaux-style blend made from a selection of their best grapes. While the grape composition of each vintage is different, Opus One is most often a blend of five grape varietals Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

What kind of wine is Opus One? The wine is a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, which is complemented with Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec, true to the style of Bordeauxs Left Bank.

Is Opus One a red blend? The 2014 Opus One exudes subtle aromas of fragrant florals, fresh garden herbs and forest floor that give way to a concentrated blend of red cherry, blackberry and black currant.

What is so special about Opus One? The winerys signature Opus One wine is made by blending varietals such as cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, cabernet franc, merlot and malbec to achieve a wine with lush fruit flavors, elegant floral and herbal aromas and complex structure.

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Spotlight On Opus One

Location: Oakville, Napa Valley, CaliforniaOwners: Baronne Philippe de Rothschild, S.A. and Constellation BrandsFounders: Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert MondaviFirst vintage: 1979Average annual production: 25,000 casesColour: RedGrape varieties planted: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit VerdotWines: Bordeaux-style blend

Earlier this year came the announcement that David Pearson, the long-time CEO of Opus One, will be leaving the Napa Valley estate to embark on a new project with Bill Harlan . Pearson has stood as CEO since 2004 and has worked for BPR and Mondavi since the early 90s. In a Liv-ex interview in 2016, Pearson said that his road to Opus One was a result of the fortunate chain of events through his work for Rothschild and Mondavi, and that through the years everything at Opus One has evolved and changed, while we have stayed true to the original vision of our founders.

Opus One was founded in 1978 as a joint venture of Baron Philippe de Rothschild and the celebrated American winemaker Robert Mondavi. The first vintage was produced in 1979 from the best vineyards of Mondavis winery in Oakville. In 1981, however, the founders began acquiring their own vineyards and went on to purchase around 56 hectares of land in just three years. The brands first vintages were simultaneously released in 1984 and quickly became international news.

Opus One on the secondary market

Index Performance

Pricing and buying appetite

Read Our Updated Profile Of Opus One Wines

Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci claimed that the high alcohol in California wine today is a concern that is voiced mostly in Europe. Speaking at a vertical tasting in London last week, organised by the Institute of Masters of Wine, Silacci was responding to questions about the marked rise in alcohol levels since the wines first vintage in 1979.

He attributed higher alcohol to healthier vines, warmer vintages and yeasts that are more efficient at converting sugar to alcohol in the winery. He also acknowledged that when making decisions about when to pick at harvest time, skins are more important than sugar. This focus on the flavour and texture ripeness of grape skins results in fruit that is picked when riper than in years past, when the primary or sole measure of ripeness was sugar.

Silacci, whose first vintage at the winery was 2001, said that he aimed to enhance tradition and maintain innovation. He pointed out that the relative rise in alcohol levels in Opus One was moderate in the context of other Cabernet-based wines from California , and that this is a trend that is not limited to California but extends to other regions, including Bordeaux.

The tasting highlighted Opus Ones evolution and included a selection of Silaccis favourite vintages.

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