The vineyards enjoyed idyllic growing conditions with consistent weather and milder temperatures in 2018. The beginning of the year was notably dry; however, well-timed rainfall just before budbreak provided the necessary water for canopy development. Flawless conditions ensued during flowering and fruit set which led to higher-than-average yields. While the season got off to a later start, veraison occurred only seven days later than the average which gave the fruit the necessary time to ripen perfectly. Harvest began on September 19th with a steady pace that continued until the last fruit arrived on October 25th.
The Opus One 2018 offers profuse aromas of blackberry, cassis and black cherry. Elegant notes of violets, white pepper and rose petals follow and together they deliver a very seductive bouquet. The seamlessly layered flavors build to a crescendo of fresh and juicy black-fruit, accented with hints of orange zest, licorice and dark chocolate. Beautifully balanced, the smooth round tannins and fresh acidity combine to create a soft, creamy mouthfeel and extend the flavors into a long persistent finish.
99 Points James Suckling – “Extremely perfumed and floral with lavender, lilacs and violets to the sweet, ripe berries, such as blackberries and blackcurrants. Some slate and graphite, too. It’s full-bodied, yet ever so balanced and refined, with super fine tannins that last for minutes. Fresh herbs, such as bay leaf and lemon grass highlight the dark fruit. The quality of tannin is exquisite with wonderful polish and refinement. Lasts for minutes. So wonderful to taste now, but better after 2026.”
97 Points Jeb Dunnuck – “The 2018 Opus One is a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This deep purple-hued effort leans to lively, fresher side of the vintage but has a brilliant, utterly classic style in its crème de cassis and blue-tinged fruit as well as notes of lead pencil, candied violets, damp earth, and chocolate-like nuances. With a Pomerol-like elegance and purity, it’s medium to full-bodied and has wonderful tannins, flawless balance, and a great finish. It plays in the finesse-driven end of the spectrum yet is concentrated and seamless, with serious length. It offers pleasure today but should benefit from 4-5 years in the cellar, and my money is on it evolving for 30 years or more.”
95 Points Antonio Galloni – “The 2018 Opus One is incredibly elegant and polished, right out of the bottle. Silky tannins and lifted, perfumed aromatics add to an impression of finesse that distinguishes the 2018 from some of the preceding vintages in a pretty big way. It will be interesting to see if the 2018 gains body with a bit of time in bottle. It is pretty rare for Opus One to be so approachable at this stage.”
94 Points Wine Spectator – “The fruit is decidedly restrained in style, without the vivid punch typical of the vintage, but the gently mulled currant, cherry and bitter plum flavors are well-delineated and persistent, while notable savory, thyme and tobacco leaf notes play a prominent role alongside. There’s a racy beam of acidity piercing through it all and a lingering iron note on the finish. An excellent example of the style. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Drink now through 2036. 32,400 cases made.”