Thursday, August 11, 2011

Opus One Winery: missing pieces miss the mark

Opus One is a Napa icon, cult wine, part of American winemaking history. It is founded by two men forever linked to Old and New World wines: Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Ch√Ęteau Mouton Rothschild and Robert Mondavi of Mondavi family. The idea was to create a Bordeaux style blend from Napa Valley: New World grape made by Old World rules. After Mondavi flagship winery became a prototype for so many Napa ventures he wanted to differentiate once again. Opus One became his next venture.

View from the front of the Winery
When you drive on Route 29 in Oakville it’s across from original Robert Mondavi Winery – take a look. My advice is this is all you need. Do not stop. Your time and money are better spent elsewhere. If you are looking for piece of history stop by Rubicon Estate: Mr. Coppola, its owner, did an amazing job of preserving and recreating original Inglenook estate. If you want view of Napa check out Rutherford Hill with its amazing sky high view. If you want tasting then choices are too many… For example, Mondavi other brother - Peter - offers more choices for much less money at Charles Krug.

Their wine didn't register with me. I am not big Bordeaux fan but 2 years later I still remember how good 2000 Twomey Merlot tasted. This didn’t happen with their Cab. If not for vertical tasting of 2006 and 2007 cabs I wouldn’t appreciate 2007 as much (please, excuse my French, if you drink and love French-made Bordeaux).
View from the deck

And, one more thing, WTF is Opus One architecture? I have no idea how they came up with this kitschy, cold, confusing building. It is round but you can’t drive around it. It is 2 story but they hid the stares. It is big but it has few places to sit. The whole thing looks and feels like Stalin mausoleum (if it ever existed) – rather sober tribute to winemaking…

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