If you're looking for a high-end, fine wine with a history to back that claim, you've come to the right place. You've come searching for Opus One Wine.
Here's a brief background on Opus One and how it came to be.
Two Wine-Making Legends
Let's start this conversation off with the two men behind the magic- the magic that is wine-making. Let's learn about the two men who created Opus One, Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi.
Baron Philippe de Rothschild
First, we have Baron Philippe de Rothschild. Rothschild was more than just a successful wine grower. He was a race car driver, writer, and film producer, among other things. At only twenty, Rothschild decided to take over the family wine business, Château Mouton Rothschild. In 1932, he decided to sell a low-cost Bordeaux under a different name, Mouton Cadet. It became so successful they consider it one of the most popular AOC Bordeaux in the world.
It's safe to say that Philippe made the Rothschild family proud with his wine-growing and marketing skills.
Next, we have Robert Mondavi. Odds are, you've seen the name walking down the wine aisle. Mondavi was significant in the American wine industry. He was the first to open a major winery in Napa Valley after Prohibition ended. He had a way with technical and marketing strategies that got recognition globally. It was Mondavi's idea to label wines varietally, and this became the standard for New World Wines.
When it came to wine-making, Mondavi's goal was to make quality American wine that could compete with wine from around the world.
The Beauty Behind Collaborations
So, how do Rothschild and Mondavi connect and make Opus One happen? Well, it's serendipitous. It's 1970. Rothschild and Mondavi happen to be in Hawaii at the same time. They meet by chance and get acquainted. They obviously have a lot in common: Rothschild is the wine guy in Bordeaux, and Mondavi is the wine guy in Napa Valley.
It was not until 1978 that Rothschild invites Mondavi to Bordeaux and the idea of Opus One was born. It didn't start as Opus One, though. Opus One was initially known as Napamedoc, a combination of Napa Valley and Médoc, until 1982.
In 1979, Rothschild and Mondavi made their first singular wine, their first vintage, but released it to the public five years later. Success quickly came for the wine legends. By 1984, Opus One became the first ultra-premium wine available to the public.
One chance meeting in Hawaii resulted in one of the most incredible wine collaborations ever. Rothschild and Mondavi had a dream of making "a great wine that transcends generations," and they must be good dreamers because that's precisely what they did. Dream fulfilled!
What Does Opus One Mean?
We know that Opus One was originally named Napamedoc to honor and bring together Napa Valley and Médoc.
But what does Opus One mean? Opus One refers to a composer's very first masterpiece. It's derived from Latin, and well, the shoe fits. The Opus One brand is a masterpiece in the wine industry and sets the bar high for other brands to follow suit. In fact, Opus One is one of the most searched wine year in and year out.
The Wine-Making Process
Here's a bit about the estate vineyards, the wine-making process, and the goal for sustainability.
The Estate Vineyards
Four vineyards make up the Opus One estate vineyards. They're located in the Oakville AVA in Napa, California, in the western portion, and total around 170 acres of land. Two parcels are within the Kalon Vineyard and makeup 100 acres. The other two are the Ballestra and River parcels which comprise 70 acres.
Opus One Wine-Making
Modern techniques benefit the Opus One wine-making process. The process of making Opus One Wine is thorough and detailed. There's an essential human element to the process. Michael Silacci, the winemaker at Opus One, takes excellent care in tasting and sorting berries and ensuring the French oak barrels are aged to perfection to keep Opus One at the top of the game.
The Opus One Cabernet Sauvignon is after for 18 months. Once it's bottled, it sits for 15 months before its release. Each year, Opus One releases its batch on October 1st, and each release is a subtle celebration of how far the brand has come since the start.
Each Opus One release is different when it comes to aroma and flavor. For example, the Opus One 2019 has intense black plum, blueberry, and black currant aromas. It has a creamy texture with cocoa, espresso, and dark fruit flavors. Compared to 2019, 2011 is very different with cherry and boysenberry flavors and black tea, white pepper, and cassis aromas.
Each release will be different than the one before.
According to the Napa Valley Vintners - Napa Green Initiative, Opus One is considered a green winery.
What does it mean to be a Napa Green Winery? A Napa Green Winery is a winery that participates in sustainable wine growing programs that help them become carbon neutral to negative in 6 to 9 years. The Opus One Vineyard is part of the 40% of vineyards in Napa that are part of the Napa Green Winery Program.
The Opus One goal focuses on "climate action, regenerative carbon farming, and social equity."
Overture By Opus One
Overture is the second Napa Valley red wine that Opus One has released. Overture is a beautiful blend of 5 Bordeaux grape varieties that's soft and round in nature. It's complex in aroma and flavor and silky in texture.
The Cabernet Sauvignon brings blackberry and cassis flavors forward, while the Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec add flavors of black cherry, violet, and red currant. The wine's balance is an ongoing testament to Opus One's attention to detail in making quality wine.