AT A GLANCE:
Position: No 19
Name of wine estate: Opus One Winery
Wine region: Napa
Standout points: A show-stopping Bordeaux blend; the Rolls-Royce of Napa wineries
Winemaker: Michael Silacci
Wine style: Ultra-premium Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend
A Napa First Growth
In the so-called Judgement of Paris of 1976, Stephen Spurrier orchestrated a blind-tasting that transformed the wine world irrevocably. The tasting pitted the best wines of France against the best of California. California prevailed (more or less). No longer would Bordeaux, and more generally France, enjoy pre-eminence in the realm of fine wine; California, and the largely unexplored New World, would be seen as capable of producing wines just as haunting, just as profound. This is the context in which two giants of wine, Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, embarked on the challenge of creating a bona fide Napa First Growth, an ultra-premium Cabernet to rival the premier cru classé wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank.
A Rolls-Royce of a winery
Located nextdoor to Napa’s famous Oakville Grocery, Opus One immediately fills you with a sense that you are entering a special place. From the beautifully designed reception building to the pristinely lovely gardens, the spectacular winery and that singular, iconic Cabernet – everything the eye surveys confirms the same feeling that this is a Rolls-Royce of a winery and no mistake.
Tasting Opus One
The tour here (by appointment only) isn’t cheap, but then Opus One is pretty much the antithesis of cheap. Visitors are, however, made to feel very welcome. Construction work taking place until December 2019 may dictate that tours of the winery will not take place. But Opus One Winery does have a Tasting Pavilion in the vineyard where you can enjoy both seated and stand-up tastings. If you have made a tasting appointment, you are also free to stroll around the beautiful grounds and vineyards. In the tasting room you will have the chance to taste for yourself the most elite red wine in North America –a flight of the 2013 Opus One, 2015 Opus One and Overture will set you back $75. An expensive indulgence, but you’re worth it.