Marks and reviews
The legendary Opus One wine brand was created in the 1970’s through a merger between two visionary individuals: Baron Philippe de Rothschild (owner of the famous Pauillac First Growth Chateau Mouton-Rothschild) and Robert Mondavi (an iconic American wine producer whose namesake wine empire stretches across California). Together, these two wine giants have developed a California wine that brings together the unique New World terroir of the Oakville AVA with unparalleled Old World French savoir-faire. Opus One stands as a brilliant example of the enormous potential of American wine country, conceived as the must-have Bordeaux First Growth of California.
The 2017 Opus One is produced from four different parcels situated in the western region of the Oakville AVA in Napa Valley, California. The first two parcels form the world-renowned To-Kalon vineyard, measuring roughly 100 acres in total. The grapes from here are blended with fruit from the River and Ballestra Pacels, forming 70 acres that surround the Opus One winery. The Opus One vineyards are planted with classic Bordeaux grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The 2017 vintage will be remembered for its abundant rainfall, with January recording the most rain in the past 20 years. In fact, the rain pushed the budbreak date back two weeks and the water reserves of the soil allowed for healthy vine development throughout the rest of the vine cycle. The summer of 2017 brought warm temperatures and optimal conditions for the ripening of the fruit. Harvest began earlier than expected, on the 5th of September.
Vinification and aging
Out in the Opus One vineyards, winemaker Michael Silacci (who has been at the winery for over two decades) begins tasting grapes rather early in order to pinpoint the perfect harvest date. Optical sorting at the winery ensures only the best fruit goes into the blend. The maceration period for the 2017 Opus One was 20 days and the wine was aged for 17 months in new French oak barrels.
The Opus One 2017 shows off a beautifully deep garnet-purple color in the glass.
On the nose, the Opus One 2017 reveals balanced aromas of rich, ripe dark fruit (black cherries, black raspberries, mulberries and cassis), roses and forest floor. Swirling the glass releases some of the wine’s more nuanced fragrances, especially fresh summer florals and wild sage.
On the palate, the Opus One 2017 reveals itself to be medium-bodied, with juicy cassis and raspberry fruit flavors upon a creamy layer of ripe and juicy tannins. The finish is long and supple, lingering long on the palate.