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September 10, 2013

Opus One 2010

Opus one head

“One of the highlights among the more recent releases,
the 2010 Opus One is flat-out gorgeous.”

Antonio Galloni

We are delighted to be able to offer the globally sort after Mondavi Opus One 2010, a vintage that is set to become one of the Estate’s greatest ever efforts. Antonio Galloni has given the wine 97 points which makes it their highest ever score. Galloni was Robert Parker’s (Wine Advocate) California expert until 2013 and 97 points makes it the Wine Advocate’s highest ever score for Opus One. The 2010 is a truly remarkable effort which sold out on the Place de Bordeaux in less than ten days. The 2010 offers incredible value, particularly when we consider that Mouton Rothschild 2010 costs £6,500 a case and that the 94 point scoring 1996 Opus One already trades at £3,200 a case, while the more recent 95+ 2005 has risen to £2,500 a case.

The genesis of Mondavi’s Opus One was a joint venture between two wine giants and leaders in innovation, Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. It represents a fusion between two competing styles, the traditional king of dominant Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot blends, Bordeaux and the New World pretender to the throne, Napa Valley. The announcement of the collaboration was huge news in the wine industry and greeted with great anticipation. The first vintage was the 1979, released in 1985 under the name Napamedoc, a wine stylistically created to represent a single Bordeaux style, based on Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Opus One quickly became a California cult wine and was sold extensively in Asia and Europe. In 2004 when Constellation Brands took over Robert Mondavi Winery, the Rothschild family negotiated full control of vineyard management and winery administration. Since then the wine has reached new heights perennially scoring in the mid to high nineties.

The winery is located in Oakville, one of the most central wine regions in the Napa Valley. The valley straddles the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges, which create cool yet extremely sunny conditions, perfect for high quality grape growing. Opus One is grown on densely planted vineyards, bounded by a recently built state of the art winery. The Estate’s buildings are defined by colonnades on either side, designed to blend in with the surrounding rolling hills and stylistically synthesise old and new world aesthetics, in the same way the wine combines the best features of Napa and Bordeaux. The limestone winery and the world beating wine have become a symbol and the apogee of great American winemaking.

Every year grapes are sorted tirelessly after harvest, reaching the winery with wonderful sugar and phenolic ripeness. The winery boasts the best winemaking technology available and the wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak (barrique) and then for an additional 18 months in bottle before it is released to the market. The assemblage is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.

Production is similar to Lafite and Mouton Rothschild at 25,000 cases a year, however, due to the immense popularity in the US very little reaches the shores of Europe and Asia. Despite the large domestic consumption in the US, Opus One is found on every good wine list, the wine’s popularity is growing in Europe year on year, leaving a shortfall in supply despite its ample annual production. The reason for this is that it is still priced very competitively against its Bordeaux equivalent First Growths, particularly given its incredible power, voluptuous mouthfeel and stunning purity; a true wine powerhouse.

Opus One may be managed by one of the greatest Estates of Bordeaux, however, unlike its parent it still offers collectors and investors a large incentive on release.

*2010 – 97, £1,800
*2009 – 94+, £2,200
2007 – 95, £2,200
2005 – 95+, £2,500
1996 – 94, £3,200
*Until 2007 the scores reflect Galloni at the Wine Advocate. The Wine Advocate have not scored Opus One since 2008, therefore we have taken Galloni’s own subsequent scores.

“One of the highlights among the more recent releases, the 2010 Opus One is flat-out gorgeous. Dark cherries, plums, graphite, cassis and pencil shavings are all woven together in a fabric of notable class and elegance. The 2010 stands out for its exceptional minerality, tension and pure power. Readers will have to be patient. This is a picture perfect rendering of this great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintage.” 97 points Antonio Galloni. Drink 2020 – 2035     

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