Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Opus One - A Tour and Tasting

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One of the highlights during a recent trip to Napa Valley was my media tour and tasting at Opus One. After my immersion into Robert Mondavi during my April 2015 visit, I was eager to learn more of his story for an upcoming magazine feature I am writing. The continuation of the story, of course, involves his project with Baron Philippe de Rothschild .

The visual impact of arriving at Opus One is not to be understated. Beautiful rows of vines invite you up to a complex that is clean, modern and classic all at once. Upon entering, you have the sense of being in a museum, an art gallery or a very gracious home. My tour started in the salon where Christopher Barefoot, VP of Public Relations, told the famous story of how the partnership was formed and he continued with the history of the winery through the present day. We viewed several works of art that were selected for the winery by Margrit Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild.

From there we headed down to see more of the building including the lab and the fermentation room. As you can see in the photos, it was incredibly clean and quiet during our tour as harvest had not yet begun for this winery. Beautiful clusters of grapes were hanging all over the property. 

We next toured the barrel room. Opus One is always aged in new French Oak; there was a shipment of new barrels waiting for the new vintage. We then concluded in a private tasting room overlooking the barrels. There were two glasses prepared and waiting.

The Tasting:
2009 Opus One- A product of a classic Napa Valley growing season, this wine was an interesting mix of fruity ripe dark berries with dark chocolate, coffee and a bit of black olives in the long finish. Powerful, yet round and smooth, a seamless blend.
2011 Opus One- An incredibly wet year combined with low temperatures naturally decreased yields creating more concentrated fruit aromas and flavors. Lighter in color, lighter in body, this vintage displayed more red cherry/berry  character with cassis, sage and bay leaves and a white pepper nuance in the long finish. Elegant, round and smooth.

If you are visiting Napa Valley and are looking for the luxury experience, call the winery to schedule a tour and tasting to match your interests. Visitors are also welcome for tastings daily from 10-4 in the Partner's Room to enjoy a glass of the current vintage priced at $45, reservations are required.