Opus One is a joint venture, started in 1980 between Baron Philippe de Rothschild from Mouton-Rothschild (1er Grand Cru Classé from Bordeaux) and Robert Mondavi.
The idea was to create a red wine in Bordeaux style, made from particularly Napa Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Until 1982 the wine was called «Napamédoc», to give an idea about the philosophy of the project.
In 1989 they built a new, state-of-the-art winery in Oakville. Already one of the most expensive wines at that time from California, in the 1990’s it became a very popular wine with high demand in both Europe and Asia, reaching cult status. Although the Cabernet Sauvignon grape is used the most, they might also use the other «Bordeaux» grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec in their blend.
The wine will age for 18 months in new french oak barrels, and an additional 15 months in the bottle, before it will be released on the market, usually the first of October. The label shows the silhouette of both Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi.
In 1993, Opus One introduced their second wine, called «Overture», made from grapes which didn’t make it into the «Grand Vin». In 2005, the Robert Mondavi winery (including the Opus One share) was sold to Constellation Brands, but the Rothschild family still is a part-owner of the venture.
With almost 70 Ha under vine, the estate is capable of producing an annual average of 25.000 cases. Top vintages from Opus One are: 1990, 1997,2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
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