2015 Opus One Proprietary Red

Year: 2015
Appellation: Napa Valley
Country: USA - California
Wine Spectator: 93
Wine Advocate: 97+
Vinous Media: 97
James Suckling: 98
Red Wine
Price :
$349.95

JAMES SUCKLING Top 100 American Wines of 2018: #29

"Pure, rich dark berry, plum and gravelly earth flavors are framed by spicy, cedary oak notes, ending long, clean and elegant, with just the right touch of tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec. Best from 2020 through 2030. -J.L." (WS)

"Composed of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 2% Malbec, Opus One's 2015 Proprietary Red Wine is truly an iron fist in a velvet glove, delivering a powerhouse of flavors and structure with a seductively plush texture. It opens with a deep garnet-purple color and wonderfully spicy notes of cinnamon stick, cloves and fenugreek with a core of cherry preserves, redcurrant jelly, blackberry pie and warm plums plus hints of camphor, lavender and cigar box. Full-bodied, rich and bold in the mouth, it fills the palate with exotic spice-laced black and red fruits, framed by firm, beautifully ripe, grainy tannins and great freshness, finishing with epic persistence. Although it is already approachable, allow it another 3-5 years in bottle for its myriad of subtle accents to fully blossom and then drink it over the next 30+ years.

Call it a hat trick: Opus One knocks it out of the park with three excellent, if very different, takes on the the last string of vintages: 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Already previously reviewed as a barrel sample, the 2015 was a show-stopper from barrel and is equally impressive in bottle. The last of the "drought" years and a rather warm one at that, the resolute nature of these impeccably tended Oakville vines is apparent in the complex layers, beautiful freshness and rock-solid frame of this wine.

2016 is the vintage winemakers can't remember because it was so uneventful. "We had plenty of rain in the early part of the year," commented Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci, "followed by an early budbreak. We were able to pick fairly regularly with an even flow in the cellar." The more 2016s I taste, the harder it is to fault this decadent, rich, blue and black-fruited vintage.

2017 was, of course, another vintage story altogether and one that I will cover comprehensively in my full Napa report at the end of October. It was a year that started with a deluge, got blasted with heat during Labor Day weekend and then suffered the most devastating wildfires this area has seen just at the tail end of harvest. After all is said and done, I only judge what's in the glass, and what I've tasted so far (admittedly from some of the very best wineries in the Valley) is not too shabby at all. Readers can generally expect elegant, refreshing, medium-bodied wines—like this 2017 Opus One—with pretty perfumes, red fruit signatures and subtle dried herbs in the background. Tannins generally aren't as plush and ripe as in previous vintages, but it's nothing that judicious extractions can't manage. Smoke taint? I certainly didn't pick up any in this Opus One sample, although Opus One had nearly finished harvest (90%) by the first night of the fires." (WA)

"The 2015 Opus One is a terrific example of the year. Super-ripe and flamboyant in style, with tons of fruit pushed forward, the 2015 has a lot to offer. Today, the primary intensity of the fruit and some of the new oak need time to subside, but there is a lot to look forward to. A rush of super-ripe red cherry, plum, mocha, espresso and wild flowers build into the huge, creamy finish." (VM)

"Purity and brilliance on the nose with so much currant and flower character. Roses, currant bush and fresh leaves, too. Brightness is the word that comes to mind. Full-bodied and broad-shouldered. Juicy and so gorgeous now. Balance is so wonderful here. All about harmonious fruit and tannin balance. I like it slightly better than the excellent 2014. 81% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petit verdot, 7% cabernet franc, 6% merlot and 2% malbec. Drink or hold." (JS)