Opus One 1980
The first vintage of Opus One, the legendary joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Robert Mondavi, was the 1979 from Mondavi’s Oakville vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. The Estate Vineyards now cover 69ha across four separate parcels, comprising 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Head winemaker since 2001 has been Michael Silacci. Over dinner in the elegant Opus One dining room in Rue Foy in Bordeaux we were served three seamlessly textured vintages and then the 1980, overseen by Tim Mondavi and Patrick Léon. 2013: an early harvest in perfect conditions gave a black fruit-dominated wine more of elegance than power, with a fine future (94/100pts, £261.67 (ib) Berry Bros & Rudd). 2010: a harvest lasting 30 days offered structure and tannins, deep and complex fruit with earthy nuances, still bursting with energy (97, £302.60 Berry Bros & Rudd). 2005: after a slow-ripening season, the wine is now showing lovely texture and balance (96, £408 Crump Richmond Shaw). 1980: one of the coolest seasons on record, the acidity has kept this extraordinary wine so young and vibrant, with unbeatable elegance and class – a triumph (100pts).