Opus One 1997
Bordeaux Red Blends from Napa Valley, California
Abundant sunlight in the previous vintage produced high fertility in the vine buds and a large crop in 1997, which Opus One thinned to the lowest per-acre yield in a decade. Though Napa Valley sustained rains in late August, Opus One's vineyards were unaffected, as warm winds dried the vineyards quickly. Harvest was early and very compact, comprising just 11 days. The 1997 Opus One offers concentrated aromas of vanilla, licorice, sandalwood and toasty oak. Showing supple tannins, its silky-smooth palate accompanies flavors of blackberry-cassis, clove and roasted coffee. Powerful yet harmonious, the 1997 promises a long life in the bottle.
Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot, 4% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
Vinous / Antonio Galloni - "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."
Wine Spectator - "A rich, decidedly earthy style of Opus, showing currant, anise, black cherry, mineral, leather and sage flavors that are focused and complex."
Opus One Winery
Opus One is a partnership founded by Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Chateau mouton Rothschild in Pauillac, France, and renowned Napa Valley vintner, Robert Mondavi. Producing luxury wines from its Napa Valley vineyards, the partnership made its first vintage in 1979 and has made wine at Opus one since 1991. The 2009 vintage is distributed in all 50 states and is sold in 65 countries worldwide. View all Opus One Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just granted an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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