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Opus One 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from Oakville, Napa Valley, California
  • RP94
14.2% ABV
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4.8 4 Ratings
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4.8 4 Ratings
14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The harvest of 2003 began on September 17th and concluded on November 2nd, the day before the start of heavy autumn rains.

Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 91%, Cabernet Franc 3%, Petit Verdot 3%, Merlot 2%, Malbec 1%

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Malbec aged 17 months in French oak is a strong effort offering creme de cassis, cedarwood, white chocolate and spice box. It possesses a Bordeaux-like personality, as one might expect since Opus One is owned by Baroness Philippe de Rothschild and the winemaking team comes primarily from Pauillac. The significant tannin in the wine provides a slight austerity, but this is a full-bodied, rich effort that marks the beginning of a period when Opus One finally began to live up to the enormous potential first announced in the late 1970s by the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild and the late Robert Mondavi. Although accessible now, the 2003 will benefit from another 4-5 years of cellaring and should keep for two decades.
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Opus One

Opus One

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Opus One, Oakville, Napa Valley, California
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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.

Oakville

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Home to some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in America, Napa Valley’s Oakville district stretches across the center of Napa's valley floor and foothills between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. This AVA is home to the legendary To Kalon Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard, as well as many powerhouse wineries including Screaming Eagle, Silver Oak, Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Far Niente and Groth.

The climate is generally warm and agreeable. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay. The diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages.

Cabernet here is often bottled varietally but is also popular in Bordeaux blends. Oakville wines are known for their silky, sensual textures, structured tannins, dark and brooding fruit and lovely aromatics. These age-worthy and prestigious wines are favored by collectors throughout the world.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

BMT88725_2003 Item# 88725