This famous wine, first created by the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild and the late Robert Mondavi, started off life as a very good, but rarely exceptional wine. Over the last ten or more years, the administration at Mouton Rothschild, particularly the team led by Philippe Dhalluin, has truly pushed the level of quality to the point where this is clearly one of the great wines of Napa. And after so many years, it represents the pinnacle of French viticultural knowledge combined with that of California and Napa’s Shangri La-like microclimate. The 2005 Opus One, a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, has a ruby/purple color and a beautiful, sweet nose of créme de cassis and spring flowers. Complex and medium to full-bodied, with silky tannin and superb purity and balance, this is exactly what Opus One was meant to be when it was first proposed. Of course, it is a popular wine to criticize, but the quality has never been better, and certainly 2005 is a beauty. It is reaching full maturity at ten years, but I think there is still another 10-15+ years of upside potential in this wine. It is full-bodied, opulent and, dare I say, delicious. Given its popularity and brand recognition, it’s nice to know that even at a major steak house you can probably find this wine and be thrilled to buy it and drink it.
Bordeaux-like in its structure and balance, showing cedary oak, dusty berry, dried currant and mineral, with hints of herb and sage. The flavors firm up on the finish, and this is rich and intense without being heavy. Needs decanting. Cabernet…
The groundbreaking concept for Opus One was concocted by Mouton’s Baron Philippe de Rothschild and California winemaker Robert Mondavi in the mid 1970’s. Their goal was to combine the best qualities of Bordeaux and the Napa Valley into one wine. In doing so they validated the quality of California wine and steered more foreign investment to the infant wine industry in Napa Valley. In 1979 they produced their first vintage in California. Mouton-Rothschild wine makers crafted Mondavi’s grapes into fantastic wine aging it in French oak barrels. Benchmark is offering you the opportunity to add this wonderful meeting of two cultures to your cellar.
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