Opus One needs no introduction, but when The Partners’ Room opened in April of 2021, it was a welcome addition to the love child of two of wines most revolutionary visionaries, Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Opus One more than a handful of times over the years and I’ve always found its relaxed and understated elegance an irresistible combination. The wineries original architect, Scott Johnson impeccably married classic French architecture with sleek Californian style (Fun Fact: The aerial view of the winery also impeccably resembles a wine glass!).
That same feel seemed to translate to the tasting experience during your visit, where you would visit the quaint tasting bar, receive a pour of the current vintage and be invited to tour the grounds while you sampled the exquisite nectar.
But its important to remember that even this casual tasting experience was a marked improvement in terms of accessibility for Opus One, as despite Robert Mondavi being the first to open a winery in Napa Valley that dedicated 50% of its space to hospitality (with his eponymously named Robert Mondavi Winery), the winery was not open to the public from when it was initially founded in 1991 up until 1995.
That meant that if you wanted to visit Opus One, you had to either know Mondavi or Rothschild themselves to pass through the iron gates. Eventually, it was pressure from the local community that persuaded Opus One to open its gates to the public.
But it wasn’t until finally in April of 2021 that the Partners Room was opened, featuring a beautifully appointed tasting room where guests could sample the current vintage of Opus One, alongside two library vintages to showcase just how well the Bordeaux-inspired wines fare with bottle age.
The Partners Room tasting ($200/pp) is seated and guided by your own dedicated Winery Ambassador. Lasting approximately 90 minutes, our ambassador’s passion and knowledge of Opus One’s rich history made for an enjoyable and educational tasting experience – thank you Therese.
There’s also a spacious terrace featuring cozy seating with expansive, panoramic views of Opus One’s estate vineyards, of which there are a total of 150 acres planted to vine.
Your experience begins with an unexpected pour of goji berry and chrysanthemum tea from the Red Blossom Tea Company to whet and cleanse your palate before your tasting. I’ll admit that my thought was what an odd pairing – but I couldn’t have been more wrong – so much so that I considered asking for another pour!
But let’s face it, if you’re here, you’re here for a pour of Opus One – and in this case you’ll receive three. We had the opportunity to sample the 2012, 2017 and the current release 2019. While I’ve made it a point to focus more on the experience versus actually critiquing wine, It would be hard not to be smitten with the latest release from Opus One.
The 2019 is wonderfully pure and fresh, revealing fragrant aromas of black cherry fruit laced with kirsch, underscored by a distinct undercurrent of crushed rock minerality to keep things nicely grounded.
On the palate, its juicy dark core of fruit is intense, tightly wound and spicy, framed by grippy tannin and subtle sandalwood nuances that linger on the palate. It’s both opulent and refreshingly elegant, much like the experience visitors now have the opportunity to enjoy – without the need to dust off the rolodex and call in favors. All in all, it’s a winning recipe.
*Disclaimer: All photos with the exception of the tea service are borrowed from Opus One.