The 2019 Opus One is a remarkably elegant wine. Silky tannins and bright, floral aromatics add to an impression of total finesse. Crushed flowers, bright red-toned fruit, mint, lavender and rose petal are all beautifully delineated. There's a touch of new oak today, but new wood has never been a signature of Opus One, so I imagine that is a stage in the wine's development. Interestingly, the 2019 is the first vintage fermented mostly with ambient yeasts.
Drink 2029 - 2049
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (February 2023)
The 2019 Opus One is a dense, beautifully layered wine, but it is also quite restrained. That should serve it well in time. Tasted next to the 2018, the 2019 possesses a bit more textural nuance and body, yet it has all the classicism that is such an Opus One signature. Bright floral accents linger on the sublime finish.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (September 2021)
Deep purple-black in color, the 2019 Opus One has an incredibly showy nose, with exuberant scents of warm cassis, blackberry preserves, and redcurrant jelly leading to suggestions of candied violets, dark chocolate, and clove oil. The medium-bodied palate shimmers with tension, delivering impactful red and black berry preserves layers, framed by very fine-grained tannins, finishing with epic length and energy. The blend this year is: Cabernet Sauvignon 78%, Merlot 8%, Petit Verdot 6%, Cabernet Franc 6%, and Malbec 2%. It was aged for 19 months in new French oak.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Drink 2024 to 2042
Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (August 2022)
Tasted blind. Mid, slightly dull crimson with a fairly pale rim. Slightly simple Cabernet aromas with some oak traces left but then it opened up into a pretty smart wine with Cabernet in ascendant. There’s just a slight greenness on the not-especially-persistent, sweetish finish. I thought this might be Pontet Canet but would have guessed this was Opus if I’d read my previous tasting note about the strong cassis aromas.
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (July 2023)
Winemaker Michael Silacci commented that usually the blends are finished in January or February after the vintage. This year, with the 2019s, he was still tweaking the blend, but he did mention that this is "pretty close to the final blend." Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Opus One leaps from the glass with notes of Black Forest cake, Morello cherries, mulberries and fresh blackcurrants plus hints of licorice, wilted roses, Sichuan pepper and iron ore. Full-bodied, the palate is jam-packed with juicy black, blue and red fruits, framed by velvety tannins and background freshness, finishing on a compelling earthy/mineral note. Tasted as a barrel sample, this is a truly magnificent Opus One in the making!
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (March 2021)
The purity of fruit is really something else here, with currants and fresh flowers, such as violets and roses. Flower stems as well. Fantastic length and structure to the wine, with tightness and focus. Wonderful fruit. Graceful. A blend of 78% cabernet sauvignon, 8% merlot, 7% petit verdot, 6% cabernet franc and 1% malbec. Try after 2028.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (December 2022)
The 2019 Opus One is brilliant and certainly a worthy follow-up to the 2018. Pure cassis fruits, notes of violets, rose petals, and lead pencil, medium to full body, nicely integrated background oak, and terrific tannins all define this beauty, and while it has the vintage's up-front charm, it's going to age beautifully for 20+ years as well. The blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
Drink to 2045
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (February 2023)
Similarly ruby/purple-hued, the 2019 Opus One is cut from the same cloth as the 2018 yet has a touch more baby fat and opulence, at least as this stage. Beautiful black raspberry, cassis, toasted spice, lead pencil, and subtle oak all make an appearance, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a rounded, layered mouthfeel, impressive tannins, and a great finish. I don't think it has the same precision as the 2018, but it brings another level of hedonism. It's another beautiful wine from this team. The blend is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot.
96-98/100 - 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.