The 34th vintage of Opus One
Today marks the first release of Opus One 2012 – a great vintage for one of the Napa Valley’s most iconic wines. Started in 1978 by Baronne Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi, the operation has come a long way since the early days when all fruit was brought in from the To Kalon vineyard. Today fruit is selected from four parcels of prime estate owned vineyards in Oakland, each planted with traditional Bordeaux varieties, before being transported to one of Napa’s most recognisable and distinctive wineries. Wine-making follows traditional methods with an average of 18 days skin contact before 18 months ageing in new French Oak.
The 2012 vintage in Napa was pretty much a perfect growing season. Spring rains provided plenty of latent water supply while the growing season was characterised by an abundance of sunshine and moderate temperatures. We were fortunate enough to taste three vintages of Opus One just over a week ago: 2010, 2011 and 2012. Whilst the 2010 receives numerous accolades and the 2011 is understated charm personified, we found the 2012 to be in a league of its own. It shows tremendous potential for the future, combining power with finesse and richness of fruit with detailed layers of flavour. Structurally this is currently tightly packed but the quality of the tannins are exceptional - effortlessly sleek, gently gripping but ripe and all wrapped up in complex yet polished fruit. The exact blend is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 2% Malbec and harvest lasted from 21st September until 2nd October.
“Rich, powerful and seductive, the 2012 Opus One blossoms in the glass with superb textural richness and volume. Dark red and black fruit, smoke, cedar, new leather and tobacco all meld together as the 2012 shows off its personality. Fine, silky tannins support the huge, creamy finish. The 2012 has just been bottled, but it is superb. I expect the 2012 will offer a long and broad drinking window of pure pleasure.”
96 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous