1985/1986 Opus One

Hello, I am new to the forum and apologize if this is in the wrong thread. If the post needs to be taken down I understand and apologize beforehand.

So I recently had a uncle past away and he was an avid wine drinker/collector. I came across his collection and found that he had 2 cases of Opus One 1985 and 2 cases of Opus One 1986. Upon further inspection I noticed the wine had varied in condition from bottle to bottle. Some were filled to the base neck and some had fill levels to the mid/top shoulder. Every bottle was in their wooden cases wrapped in the white tissue paper that it comes in. Some had some signs of leakage and some seemed perfectly fine with no leaks. My question is, how can I tell if these bottles have been compromised? Whether or not these bottles are acceptable for drinking/selling? I am not much of a wine drinker, so any information would be greatly appreciated.

Even if the wine has gone bad, it’s not hazardous to your health, so I’d gather some friends and open a bottle or two and see what you think.

Opening a mid shoulder fill bottle may not yield accurate info on the remaining bottles if it is off/compromised. If so, you may need to open a neck fill bottle. If it is also off you may a have a problem with all the bottles. If a neck fill bottle is good that would be encouraging but by no means a guarantee for the other bottles.
It is a bottle by bottle situation with all older bottles, so opening a couple may yield a basis for an educated guess.

You may have better success with the 1986 vintage, the Napa wines were more structured than in 1985, as I recall.

If a few have leaked, storage wasn’t ideal. So that’s certainly not good. But Brian, you’re not a wine drinker. You might well open one and say “yuck” whether ruined or not. Understand, a 30 year old Opus is gonna be, almost certainly, unrelatable for better or worse to anything you’ve had. There’s little chance in my mind you’re going to like it. As Jordan said, it ain’t gonna hurt you, so drink up if you want. But these are worth real money if good. Is there no very good wine shop in your town you could bring them to and get a more expert opinion?

Thanks for the response. Yes Richard, I have more bottles that are filled to the neck and have less leakage from the 1986 than the 1985. So the 1986 seems to be in better condition overall. Ive tried a contact a few online wine buyers, and upon sending them pictures, none seemed interested to my avail :frowning:

Brian, Ive contacted a few wine vendors and stores here around the Atlanta GA area, but a lot of the responses I was getting was, that its illegal in the state of Georgia to buy wine from a personal collection in GA. Im hoping ill get a proper response and maybe can get a expert opinion on these bottles soon.

I can try and post some pictures on this thread if only I knew how too… rolleyes

If you’re not much of a wine drinker, I can assure you that if those bottles are still good, you may have a spiritual experience trying one or at least think differently afterwards. Many people on this forum didn’t have an aha moment until they tried a wine with significant age, and those Opus One can age very well if stored properly. Personally speaking, one of the great joys that I look forward to in my retirement, is trying the bottles I’ve purchased with 20 to 40 years of age on them. Both 1985 and 1986 were tannic vintages so that means they were great for aging. Please report back, cheers.

I’ve had great bottles of 1985/1986 CA cabs in the past few years including Dominus, Pahlmeyer, Ridge and Caymus. I’m sure they are fine but storage may be an issue. Also, they are at peak or slightly past so you’d have to be an appreciator of “mature wine”. Could offer a great lesson in CA cab evolution.