The 2018 Opus One is absolutely exquisite. Bright red berry fruit, crushed flowers, mint and spice are all finely cut. The 2018 impresses with its energy and focus. It's a gorgeous wine, and is also showing especially well today, with all of the potential I first saw in barrel very much on display. Bright acids linger on the persistent finish. The 2018 is supremely elegant.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (January 2022)
The 2018 Opus One is incredibly elegant and polished, right out of the bottle. Silky tannins and lifted, perfumed aromatics add to an impression of finesse that distinguishes the 2018 from some of the preceding vintages in a pretty big way. It will be interesting to see if the 2018 gains body with a bit of time in bottle. It is pretty rare for Opus One to be so approachable at this stage.
Drink 2024 - 2043
95/100 - Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (January 2021)
Drink 2024 to 2042
Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (October 2021)
A little sweeter than the Monte Bello 2011 tasted alongside initially but it finishes dry and appetising – and definitely has a bordeaux-like structure. Impressively long.
Drink to 2034
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (March 2022)
Idyllic growing conditions.' 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 5% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec. 18-day maceration with 80% ambient yeast, followed by 17 months in 100% new French oak.
Deep, lustrous crimson – with a pale rim! Nose of warmth and ripeness but not heaviness. As though from a ripe Bordeaux vintage but then the tannins are so much riper than on most red bordeaux. Tangy freshness on the finish – one can only guess at the number of sessions in the tasting room that went into this blend! (Interesting to see more Petit Verdot than Merlot or Cabernet Franc.) Some delicacy, which I'm sure was the aim. Quite bordelais but so much more accessible. With impressive persistence. Neat, minerally and fine-boned.
Drink 2021 - 2035
Jancis Robinson MW, jancisrobinson.com (August 2021)
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.
Drink 2024 - 2058
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (February 2021)
The fruit is decidedly restrained in style, without the vivid punch typical of the vintage, but the gently mulled currant, cherry and bitter plum flavors are well-delineated and persistent, while notable savory, thyme and tobacco leaf notes play a prominent role alongside. There's a racy beam of acidity piercing through it all and a lingering iron note on the finish. An excellent example of the style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. 32,400 cases made.
Drink now through 2036
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (August 2021)
Extremely perfumed and floral with lavender, lilacs and violets to the sweet, ripe berries, such as blackberries and blackcurrants. Some slate and graphite, too. It’s full-bodied, yet ever so balanced and refined, with super fine tannins that last for minutes. Fresh herbs, such as bay leaf and lemon grass highlight the dark fruit. The quality of tannin is exquisite with wonderful polish and refinement. Lasts for minutes. So wonderful to taste now, but better after 2026.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (February 2022)
Extremely perfumed and floral with lavender, lilacs and violets to the sweet, ripe berries, such as blackberries and blackcurrants. Some slate and graphite, too. It’s full-bodied, yet ever so balanced and refined, with super fine tannins that last for minutes. Fresh herbs, such as bay leaf and lemon grass highlight the dark fruit. The quality of tannin is exquisite with wonderful polish and refinement. Lasts for minutes.
So wonderful to taste now, but better after 2026
James Suckling, JameSuckling.com (August 2021)
The 2018 Opus One is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This deep purple-hued effort leans to lively, fresher side of the vintage but has a brilliant, utterly classic style in its crème de cassis and blue-tinged fruit as well as notes of lead pencil, candied violets, damp earth, and chocolate-like nuances.
With a Pomerol-like elegance and purity, it's medium to full-bodied and has wonderful tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. It plays in the finesse-driven end of the spectrum yet is concentrated and seamless, with serious length. It offers pleasure today but should benefit from 4-5 years in the cellar, and my money is on it evolving for 30 years or more.
Drink 2025 - 2057
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (April 2021)
About this WINE
Opus One is among California’s leading wine estates. It was founded as a joint venture between two leading wine producers: Baron Philippe de Rothschild, the owner of Château Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, Bordeaux; and Robert Mondavi, one of the most influential figures in Californian wine history. The ambitious pair created Opus One in 1978, the first vintage following in 1979. It is located in the Oakville sub-region of California’s Napa Valley. There are four estate-owned vineyards, including considerable holdings in the prestigious To Kalon vineyard.
There are two wines produced at Opus One. Opus One itself is a red Bordeaux blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Like a lot of top Classified Growth Bordeaux, Opus One undergoes ageing in new French oak barrels for around a year and a half. A second wine, Overture, is also produced. Overture is also a red Bordeaux blend. It differs from Opus One in that it is a non-vintage wine, crafted from the fruit of several vintages.
Oakville is a renowned wine region in the heart of Napa Valley, California, USA. It is considered one of the premier appellations for producing high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The favourable climate, diverse soil types, and skilled winemaking practices have contributed to Oakville’s reputation as a top wine-producing area.
The primary grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon, which thrives in the region’s warm climate and well-drained soils. However, you can also find other Bordeaux varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, as well as some white wine grapes like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Oakville benefits from a Mediterranean climate with warm, sunny days and cool nights. The region’s proximity to San Pablo Bay allows for morning fog, which provides natural cooling, making it ideal for slow grape ripening and flavour development.
The diverse soils add to the complexity of the wines produced. The region features a mix of volcanic, alluvial, and sedimentary soils that offer distinct characteristics to the grapes. The Napa River runs through the area, further enriching the soils with sediment deposits.
Oakville is home to some of the most prestigious and iconic wineries in Napa Valley. Prominent names like Robert Mondavi Winery, Opus One, Far Niente, Screaming Eagle, and Harlan Estate have put Oakville on the world wine map.
Winemakers in Oakville employ various traditional and modern winemaking techniques to ensure the highest quality wines. Careful grape selection, hand harvesting, small-lot fermentations, oak barrel aging, and blending are standard practices used to craft complex and balanced wines.
In recognition of the unique terroir and distinct characteristics of the wines produced, Oakville was designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1993. This official appellation status further solidifies the region’s significance in the wine industry.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.