I was so unbelievably honored when Opus One’s Winemaker, Michael Silacci invited me to dinner as a thank you for my Opus One 2007 wine review.  Well, honored is an understatement, I was so flipping excited, I could hardly contain myself.  For me, being in the company of a winemaker of his stature is like someone wanting to be a lyricist meeting Bob Dylan or a budding actor meeting Meryl Streep… it’s a big deal.

Opus One was founded by two of the most famous wine families in history, the Robert Mondavi family from Napa valley, CA and the Baron Philipe de Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild, Pauilliac, France.  The first vintage was in 1979… “A seemingly perfect growing season from bud break to the beginning of harvest, the 1979 vintage was challenged by rains in September.  Early harvesting yielded clean, well-balanced fruit and a wine of resilience and finesse.”

I was joined for dinner by my good friend, Rob, who is the perfect dinner companion and also the person who told me to start writing about wine.  Michael was joined by France Posener, Opus One’s East Coast Sales Representative and a sharp-witted, brilliantly funny woman, who kept us entertained throughout the evening. 

When I first met Michael, I wasn’t sure whether to curtsy, bow or kiss his big gold ring.   Okay, he wasn’t wearing a big gold ring, but I am trying to make the point here that this was a huge deal for me.  I may have curtsied just a little bit.

Dinner was at the elegant L’Espalier!  The decadent, over the top, completely extravagant journey of culinary delights, paired with wines, we were on at L’Espalier will be shared at another time.  Firstly, I wanted to share my very humble opinion of the Opus One 2008, which is not even out yet!  How lucky am I?

So, how different can a wine be from one vintage to the next?  Well, quite different as it happens. 

Going between the 2007 and 2008 was an interesting experiment and a first for me.  Whereas, the 2007 was quite subtle on the first nose, the 2008 is even more subtle and flowery – quite lovely.  The 2008 is a wonderful deep almost opaque dark ruby color.  I swirled my glass for quite some time (mimicking Michael a little bit) and then took in the aroma again – still subtle but with blackcurrant and smoky old fashioned pipe tobacco – it reminded me of my granddad a little and how he used to smell all smoky and musky.  My first sip brought a smooth, chocolaty, creamy taste that made you shut your eyes and wish you were in a log cabin with a fire place and perhaps with Michael Weatherly (aka Tony DiNozzo).  The wine opens up more and just tickles the palate with hints of aniseed and mild spices and then finishes leaving a perfectly balanced, juicy wine that is begging to be savored.    

You know I stated that the 2007 “was as good it gets” and I meant it at the time and I still mean it, however, it now has a rival in its own family.  I honestly could not choose, if indeed I was given the choice.  It would truly depend on my mood at the time and of course who was treating me to this wonderful, rich wine!

Another great story about the Opus One 2008 is that it was born out of one of the smallest crops Opus One has ever had due to extreme weather conditions that caused frost damage and a very cold spring and late summer.  To create such an amazing wine under these circumstances is a testament to Opus One and their ongoing dedication to making truly fine wines. 

I cannot even begin to put into words what an amazing evening I had so I will just say this…  “Thank you!”

My rating…