Opus One 2005 Review & Tasting NotesAmateur Guest Tasting Notes: Opus One 2005 Review

Summer holidays and happy memories. Back in the summer of 2010, my partner and I had spent a wonderful few days on Sanibel & Captiva Islands in the Gulf of Mexico.

Having fallen a little in love with Sanibel Island life we wanted to help support the local business as well as buy a little memento from our US vacation.

We decided a fine American wine would be a great momento and something we could keep for another special occasion.

The largest selection of wines on the island is held at ‘The Grog Shop’ wine store. The owner, Sam Bailey is a descendent from one of the original settlers on the island and is both friendly and knowledgeable.

Whilst chatting with Sam and looking at the collection of wines a bottle of Opus One 2005 caught our eye, it is a very prestigious and hard to come by American wine so just right for laying-down for a future celebration. The first vintage of Opus One was in 1979, and was created through the vision of the partnership of wine-maker Robert Mondavi, a great New World wine pioneer, and Baron Phillipe de Rothschild of the House of Rothschild.

A sufficiently special occasion to open this very special bottle finally arrived the other week when my partner completed an Iron Man event and yes, he told me that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder and if the training is tough, the event is even tougher.

With the wine chosen, we set off to one of our favourite venues the Cafe Rococo in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, England, where they accommodate ‘bring your own’ with a small corkage fee.

The Occasion

Opus One 2005 Review & Tasting NotesWe decided to open our 2005 vintage of Opus One an hour before arriving at the restaurant.

It had further time to aerate during the time it took to get seated, decide and order on the food delights for the evening. To maximise the best of such a prestigious wine and long awaited wine tasting experience, our wine was further aerated through the WineWeaver wine aerator into a decanter.

We are drinking our Opus at the 10 year marker so it is still slightly on the early side and the additional decanting from the wine aerator and decanter will be most beneficial.

We had chosen the perfect food match for a celebratory wine occasion – a Chateaubriand for two, from Cafe Rococo’s Celebration menu.

After polishing-off our starters of Roasted Goat’s cheese with Rosemary & Garlic we poured a glass each from the decanter, swirled, sniffed and tasted…..and tasted again, oh and just a little bit more with our perfect beef.


The 2005 Opus One vintage is a blend of predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (88%), Merlot (5%), Petit Verdot (3%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Malbec (1%). It is aged in New French Oak Barrels for 18 months after having had skin contact for 29 days and then bottled and laid down for a few years.

The direct advice from the winery is that Opus One wines will reward your patience with long cellaring especially if you enjoy greater complexity and the delicacy of a more mature wine. For those preferring a younger, fruitier wine, then the wine can be enjoyed as soon as 3 years after harvest. The majority of wine drinkers tend to drink Opus One between eight to fifteen years after the vintage date.

Opus One 2005 Colour ColorPreparation:      Opened 1 hour prior to dining, then aerated via a WineWeaver aerator into a decanter.

Ageing:                2005 Vintage – drunk 10 years after, in 2015

Tasting Notes:   The color of the wine was a beautiful ruby red. Whilst our palates are still developing, we could pick out red berry fruits as well as subtle spice and pepper flavors with a hint of smoke. It was well-balanced with very smooth, soft mouth feel – almost velvety –often described as silky tannins with a long and elegant finish.

Verdict:                Altogether a fine red wine and a great choice to have with our celebratory meal. Whilst we could probably have kept our bottle a little longer, we thoroughly enjoyed it 10 years after the vintage.

Opus One Sommelier’s Tasting Notes: Christopher Delalonde M.S.

“I have been lucky enough to taste some of the earlier vintages, namely 1981 and 1982, and at the time I recall being surprised by their European structure and freshness….. a revelation at the time. Today, it is not the easiest of wines to purchase as not just deep pockets are needed but also the wine’s availability.”

Official Tasting Notes from Opus One:

Frequent spring rains through the month of May led to a year of cool temperatures and slow ripening, with an extended harvest that ended on November 2nd. A voluptuous garnet, the 2005 Opus One offers concentrated aromas of blueberry, rose petals, white truffle, licorice and nutmeg. Flavors of cassis, black olives, raspberry and dark chocolate culminate in a long and luscious finish.”

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