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)
The 1996 Opus One reveals an intense and expressive bouquet of black cherries, plums, cassis and spices; the prelude to a rich, textural and quite densely extracted palate impression with some firm tannins on the back end. By the mid-1990s, Opus One saw considerably longer macerations than was the case in the 1980s, and than is the case today, so their tannic profiles tend to be rather more monolithic. While the 1996 blend includes Malbec, which first became a component of Opus One in 1994, it is also the last Opus One not to include any Petit Verdot, a grape that has been part of the blend ever since 1997. (WK)
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. (ST)
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)
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