Opus One 2017 has just released this morning, which as always is one of the most exciting, popular and allocated wines of the year. The 2017 vintage in California will be one of the most famous ever. It started with winter floods and heavy rain between January and April, whilst May and June saw two heat spikes, with July and August some of the hottest in recent memory. However, the vintage will be remembered for the October wildfires. These destroyed some vineyards, blocked off access to others and caused widespread power cuts: some Estates harvested in good fashion. As such quality varies considerably, some wines are luxurious and others overripe or even unbottled. Opus One is one of the must own wines from the vintage, the Estate picking 91% of the grapes before the fires, losing two plots only, while simultaneously reducing 25% in measures to continue in their paradigm of excellence. Antonio Galloni awards the wine 95+ points calling it ‘A remarkable wine for the year, the 2017 Opus One is a dense, full-throttle beauty.’ Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate agrees, awarding it 95 points and describing it as having ‘compelling notes of baked black cherries, mulberries, black raspberries, warm cassis and blackberry pie with nuances of spice cake, yeast extract, tapenade, licorice and dusty soil with a waft of wild sage.’
 
By all accounts this is a very fine Opus One and perhaps more importantly they have listened to the market and reduced their price 7% on last year, with today’s release priced at £1,370. Opus One historically displays a brilliant vintage premium, as presented in the table below. It provides consistent and attractive long-term price appreciation and repays loyal collectors. From the 2009 to 2015 vintages collectors have been rewarded on average 48% price appreciation from release price to the current market price. The 2016 release saw an uncharacteristic jump in price, as they have prided themselves on consistent pricing for collectors. The 2017 release returns to this trend continues this trend, with the average trading price of vintages back to 2005 trading 14% higher. The similar scoring 2009, 2008 and 2007 trade at £1,600, £1,750 and £1,800. The price of £1,370 today on release is an excellent offering from one of the world’s most iconic wines. The global demand is staggering and the reduction of 25% will make fulfilling this problematic.
 

Opus OneWAJSGalloniReleasePrice
2017959595+£1,370£1,370
201697+9996+£1,470£1,375
201597+9897£1,300£1,450
2014969796£1,250£1,450
201397+10097£1,075£1,550
2012969795£900£1,450
2011n/a9294£900£1,500
2010969697£900£1,600
2009n/a9394+£850£1,600
2008n/a9495£800£1,750
2007959392+£740£1,800
200693+9393£720£1,600
2005959293£620£1,950

  
The production of Opus One is similar to Lafite and Mouton Rothschild at 25,000 cases per year, with less than 19,000 this 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 One’s 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.
 
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 wine-making.
 
Along with Opus One 2017 we are pleased to be able to offer their second wine, Overture, though the market sees it as an alternative parallel expression to Opus One. It has been made since 1993, designed for family consumption and restaurants. It is fashioned to provide maximum pleasure with food and to be accessible younger. This is achieved by creating a multi-vintage blend sourced from the same vineyards as Opus One. By blending vintages, they can achieve a standardised quality factor, which has been brilliantly received in leading restaurants. During this time, its star has risen so high, as has its demand, that they have decided to make is available commercially.
 
Opus One has a relentless pursuit in their vineyard, to farm every parcel with the focus to produce their flagship wine. However, in some vintages, some of these parcels do not make it into the final blend of Opus One. It is these parcels that are afforded additional barrel time. Each parcel will latterly be blended into Overture, a multiple vintage super cuvee. Overture is in fact a homage to Bordeaux Blends. It is a classic Bordeaux Blend with Cabernet Sauvignon making up around 70% of the wine, but also contains the other classic Bordeaux varietals: Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Its extra time in barrel before blending, gives it a greater elegance, with dark fruit flavours, smoke, toast and leather. It drinks beautifully young, hence its great restaurant attraction, but stands the test of time, brilliant after a decade or more. It is a superb expression of the Estate, which currently costs just over one third of the average trading price of Opus One. The price today is £600 per case of six and the Estate are pushing the price forward. Indeed, there is considerably less Overture available and it is priced brilliantly for its quality.