2018 Opus One
Region: Napa Valley
Opus One was created in 1978 by Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the legendary owner of Château Mouton Rothschild, and the famous Napa Valley wine producer Robert Mondavi. By combining both families’ winemaking traditions and innovations, the partners aimed to create an exceptional wine in the heart of the Napa Valley. Opus One was a success and has been acclaimed as a “Californian First Growth”. Opus One has 55 hectares (136 acres) of vines planted with Bordeaux grape varieties. Baroness Philippine de Rothschild inaugurated the new Opus One winery, one of the architectural gems of the Napa Valley, in 1991.
Constellation Brands acquired Robert Mondavi Winery in 2004 and reached an agreement with Baron Philippe de Rothschild SA in the following year to continue Opus One as a 50/50 joint venture. Asserting its independence and striking a perfect balance between its two partners, Opus One’s sole aim is to maintain its founders’ vision and passion for future generations.
Opus One: Exceeding the Ambitions
There’s no doubt that we are currently in Opus One’s Golden Age, and with the 2018, winemaker Michael Silacci has given us one of the finest bottles of all time. Grown in one of the top vintages of the past decade, James Suckling gave it a near-perfect 99-point score. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gave it 98—matching bottles from the legendary 2013 and 2016 seasons—and called it “a triumph.”
It only takes one sip to realize that this wine is something special. Showing a brooding shade of purple, it’s got powerful and forward aromas of black currant, blueberry, violets, cocoa powder, dried herbs, licorice, and cinnamon rising from the glass. The wine is broad and beautifully balanced, with chewy tannins that will allow it to age for decades.
Opus One grows on four unique vineyard plots in the choicest section of Oakville: the Ballestra and River Parcels, which flank the winery itself, and To Kalon North and South, located across Highway 29. At harvest, the fruit goes directly into the immaculate winery. Ffrom vineyard to tank, the journey rarely takes more than 12 hours.
The 2018 vintage contains all five Bordeaux varieties, dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon (84%). After spending 17 months in new French oak and a year in bottle, it’s one of the finest editions the winery has produced in the 40+ years since the Bedroom Summit. We’re thrilled to have earned the opportunity to bring this one-of-a-kind wine to your cellar
The Opus One 2018 offers profuse aromas of blackberry, cassis and black cherry. Elegant notes of violets, white pepper and rose petals follow and together they deliver a very seductive bouquet.
The seamlessly layered flavors build to a crescendo of fresh and juicy black-fruit, accented with hints of orange zest, licorice and dark chocolate. Beautifully balanced, the smooth round tannins and fresh acidity combine to create a soft, creamy mouthfeel and extend the flavors into a long persistent finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon 84%, Petit Verdot 6%, Merlot 5%, Cabernet Franc 4% and Malbec 1%
Robert Parker - 98 Points
Very deep garnet-purple in color, the 2018 Opus One soars out of the glass with bright, bold boysenberries, warm cassis and ripe, juicy black plums notes, plus emerging nuances of lilacs, oolong tea, cinnamon stick, tilled soil and black truffles. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with tightly wound layers of crunchy black fruits, supported by firm, grainy tannins and fantastic freshness, finishing with lifted fruitiness and on a lingering mineral note.
During my recent visit to Opus One, I tasted five vintages of the "grand vin," including a barrel sample of the 2019, which will be published separately in a dedicated report. Comparing the 2018 vintage with 2019, winemaker Michael Silacci commented, "There’s a little more richness to 2019. 2018 is elegant, and that's not an excuse for being lighter.
I like the intensity of the 2018s—2019 is a bit above it. 2018 was cooler with a little bit more acidity." Both vintages are a triumph at Opus One and a testament to the subtle changes that Silacci and his team have been conducting in the vineyards and winery over the last 15+ years. Bravo!