This is one of the finest Opus Ones to date, offering a dark ruby/purple color, as well as a striking, intense bouquet of sweet licorice intermixed with blackberries, cassis, plums, and saddle leather. This seamless, full-bodied wine is more velvety-textured, opulent, and succulent than past vintages. The mid-palate is expansive and chewy. The long finish is filled with glycerin, ripe fruit, and sweet tannin. Drink this impressive, user-friendly yet richly concentrated effort over the next 15 years. (RP)
Bright full ruby-red. Pungent black raspberry, leather, game, chocolate, espresso, pepper and fresh herbs. Juicy, bright and very concentrated, with crunchy currant, tobacco and dark chocolate flavors supported and amplified by a firm spine of acidity. Long on personality. Finishes with dusty tannins and excellent length.
A total opposite of the 1995, the 1996 Opus One blasts from the glass with massive dark fruit, iron, scorched earth, graphite and new leather. The 1996 is one of the more virile, bombastic wines in this vertical. Plums, cloves, leather and tar all flesh out on the huge, imposing finish. Although a bit rustic and brooding, the 1996 is an outstanding wine if taken on its own terms. The finish is framed by substantial tannins and an element of burliness that is likely the result of a succession of heat spikes. (AG)
Dark, rich and intense, with layers of currant, blackberry, cedar and spice. The flavors are still youthful, yet this turns drier and earthier from midpalate on, with a brambly sage edge on the finish. The best of four bottles. -- 1996 California Cabernet retrospective. (JL, Web-2007)
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