Opus One  2012 has released this morning through the Place de Bordeaux, which minimises parallel importing and establishes a global price from which it can springboard. This year’s release price is extremely compelling, £10 below the 2011 making it the cheapest vintage on the market and £210 less than the similar quality 2010.

This year’s release is special, the 2012 and 2013 vintages in Napa are emerging as all-time classics considered equivalent to the 2009 and 2010 vintages in Bordeaux. Robert Parker has stated that, ‘Both vintages are clearly the two greatest years for North Coast Bordeaux varietals.’ Parker has already awarded fifteen 100 point scores to Napa 2012 wines!

As such, it is no surprise therefore that Opus One 2012 is shaping up to be one of its greatest ever vintages, scoring 97 points from James Suckling who says it is, ‘One of the best Opus’ in years.’ Antonio Galloni has already awarded the 2012 96 points and while Robert Parker has not yet released his score, Suckling and Galloni’s marks make this the joint highest scoring and therefore most desirable Opus One vintage in more than a decade.

As one can see from the table below, the excellent Opus One 2009 and the exceptional and similarly scoring 2010 have already risen 13 and 14 percent since their release, two and three years ago respectively, representing attractive short term gains:

VintageJS AGPrice

Production is similar to Lafite and Mouton Rothschild at 25,000 cases per year, however, due to the immense popularity there is already an apparent shortfall in supply. The reason for this is that it is still priced very competitively against its Bordeaux equivalent First Growths, particularly given its incredible power, voluptuous mouthfeel and stunning purity.

Opus Ones’ rise to global acclaim began with its first vintage in 1979, released in 1984 and at the time it was California’s most expensive wine at $50 per bottle. Its genesis is one of privilege, a joint venture between two wine giants and leaders in innovation, Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild. Philippe de Rothschild was, from the beginning, adamant that Opus One be released through the Place de Bordeaux and Mondavi eventually acquiesced. This has allowed Opus One to establish an enviable global market. As one might expect it maintains pride of place in US restaurants and hotels; in Europe it sells out quickly on the Place de Bordeaux: the icing on the cake is that it is incredibly strong in Asia – Japan is its biggest market outside of the US.

The winery is located in Oakville, one of the most central wine regions in the Napa Valley. The valley straddles the Mayacamas and Vaca Mountain ranges, which create cool yet extremely sunny conditions, perfect for high quality grape growing. Opus One is grown on densely planted vineyards, bounded by a state of the art winery. The Estate’s buildings are defined by colonnades on either side, designed to blend in with the surrounding rolling hills and stylistically synthesise old and new world aesthetics, in the same way the wine combines the best features of Napa and Bordeaux. The limestone winery and the world beating wine have become a symbol and the apogee of great American winemaking.

Every year grapes are sorted tirelessly after harvest, reaching the winery with wonderful sugar and phenolic ripeness. The winery boasts the best winemaking technology available and the wine is aged for 18 months in new French oak (barrique) and then for an additional 18 months in bottle before it is released to the market. The assemblage in 2012 is 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 3% Malbec.

There is little question Opus One 2012 will be in great demand, representing one of the marquee releases of the year. Opus One 2012 is a wine to secure on release, before demand for this great vintage pushes the price upwards.

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