1997 Opus One
Decanter | 100 DEC
Decanter | 100 DEC
The 1997 Opus One tastes like it was made yesterday, not 16 years ago. One of the most opulent, racy wines in this vertical, the 1997 literally explodes from the glass. Juicy dark red cherries, menthol, tobacco and licorice all make an appearance as the 1997 opens up over time. Readers holding the 1997 are in for a thrill. Even though the growing season was defined by hot weather, a short maturation cycle and a large crop, the wine turned out beautifully. In 1997 the blend is 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 1% Petit Verdot, a first for Opus One.
Antonio Galloni | 95 AG
A rich, decidedly earthy style of Opus, showing currant, anise, black cherry, mineral, leather and sage flavors that are focused and complex. Drink now through 2010. 26,000 cases made.
Wine Spectator | 94 WS
Wine Details for 1997 Opus One
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: Whether it's Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Zinfandel, Californian red wine producers have a lovely habit of taking a varietal and expressing its essence in a unique, never before seen way. From Napa Valley to the regions south of Los Angeles, there's a red for everyone - and it's never too late to start exploring.
: Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.
: As one of the most prolific and innovative wine regions in the world, America is a joy to explore. Most wine connoisseurs will agree that the nation's finest and most compelling wines are being produced today, which means that we have front-row seats to one of the most inspirational stories in wine history. While other regions tend to focus on specific wine styles and have somewhat strict rules as to which varietals you could grow, areas like California have few such restrictions in place. As a result, creative visionaries behind America's most reputable estates have been able to develop compelling, unique, and innovative styles, with a level of terroir expression that rivals even France's largest giants.
: With a history of wine production that dates back to the 18th century, California currently sits as one of the world's most prolific and reputable wine regions. With an area as vast as California, you can expect a colorful collage of terroir profiles, a series of microclimates, and micro-environments that give the wine a unique, memorable appeal. The region's produce is far from homogenized in that sense, and it would take you countless hours to sample all of it. While the region boasts scars from the Prohibition era, it went through what can only be described as a viticultural Renaissance sometime after the 1960s. At that point, California went from a port-style, sweet wine region to a versatile and compelling competitor on the world market. Today, no matter which way your taste in wine leans, you can find a new favorite producer among California's most talented.
Notable sub-regions include legendary names like Napa Valley and Sonoma County, places that any wine lover would die to visit. California's quintessential warm climate allows for incredibly ripe fruit expressions, a style that provides a stark contrast to Old World-inspired, earthy classics. Even where inspiration was clearly taken from staple French appellations, Californian winemakers put their own unique spin on the wine.
: When Robert Mondavi and the Baron Philippe de Rothschild met and became friends in 1970, it’s a curiosity if either knew their friendship would blossom into an internationally recognized joint venture. In 1979, the two brilliant and world renowned winemakers founded Opus One in Napa Valley. The formation of this incredible collaboration would play a significant role in elevating the stature and reputation of the entire Napa Valley.
By using parcels from Mondavi’s To Kalon Vineyard, a wine was created that became an instant hit in both America and Europe. The original 35 acres were planted on the already existing Mondavi property but Opus One would quickly expand with the purchase of 100 acres of vineyard land located on the east side of the famed Highway 29 in Napa. Another 48 acres were acquired from a long term leased section of the Mondavi K-Block of vines, known as Ballestra Vineyard.
At first the venture was named “Opus,” however, with the suggestion of Rothschild, “One” was added to the name and Opus One was stamped into the history books. The name was suggested due to its Latin origin (derived from the Latin “Oper” and is associated with a composer’s first Masterpiece) as well as it being easily pronounced in multiple languages. In 1984, Opus One saw the initial release of its first two vintages of 1979 and 1980. Unfortunately, both were poor years for California wine and Opus One was forced to wait until the 1984 vintage was ready to be released for a successful wine. That same year, another 49 acres were acquired as well as the designing of their still modern looking architectural winery, which broke ground in 1989.
Opus One is a blend consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The varietals are harvested from four estate vineyards. Two reside in the famed Oakville AVA on 100 acres and within the original To Kalon Vineyard, which has famed and tremendous terroir. This is complemented by 70 acres of the Ballestra and River parcels which envelop the winery. The entire vineyard is hand harvested along with other traditional approaches. The estate is not against modern techniques; however, and will utilize them when it will benefit the winegrowing process. Very rigorous methods are implemented, which are researched, evaluated and integrated into practice.
Rothschild and Mondavi believed that everything begins in the vineyard and very little but essential human touch brings forth the characteristics of each vintage through a balance of delicate coaxing and gentle restraint. Opus One is the realized dream of two highly respected and accomplished men with the goal of producing a single world-class wine each year. A second wine was however, introduced in 2012 and named Overture. The two wines have an annual production of a stunning 25,000 cases, mostly due to the size of the vineyards. Opus One is one of the top selling, high end branded California Cabernet Sauvignon based wines, not only in America but around the World.