Opus One 1993 & 1997

90+ points

Napa Valley, California, USA. 13.5%

Both these wines are deep, concentrated, quite luxurious. I think they would stand out against most cabernet dominant Bordeaux, they have less prominent acid, less verve, much softer tannins, they are warmer riper, but not so much as Barossa cabernet. Closer to Chilean cabernet than perhaps anywhere else in the world (though a Don Melchor tasted alongside was much sweeter). The oak is warm, towards the cafe latte style, as if the winemakers have taken the characters they like most about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild and applied these to a Californian wine, which indeed probably was the recipe.

The Opus One house style was very consistent across these two wines, it was obvious they were related wines. The differences were that the 1997 was fresher, a bit more concentrated. It’s shaken off its youth but hasn’t built much of the complexity that comes with age. The 1993 is more rounded and a bit less forceful, more enjoyable to drink now. But it too is really one just out of its youth.

I like how these wines aren’t pungent cosmetic cabernet fruit bombs, they are deeper, more rounded and complete. That said I prefer a bit more elegance and complexity. These are hedonistic wines to be sure, but less intellectual than one might hope for given their price.


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