Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Report from ... Tasting Opus One with CEO David Pearson - April 17, 2013

There is nothing worse than arriving to a tasting late, I totally blame the crappy Toronto traffic I had to wade this on this Wednesday morning but I made it in time to hear a few anecdotes and to try the three wines.

Opus One CEO David Pearson

Fun Facts:
- original working title for the winery was Napa-Medoc
- names that were also considered before they adopted Opus One ... Janus and Gemini
- Constellation bought Mondavi in 2008 but Opus One continues to work as a separate entity from the rest of the company
- Opus One produces between 20,000 to 25,000 cases annually of which 52% is exported
- the label has never changed since inception
- label shows balance of winemaking traditions: while Baron Rothschild's head is higher on the label Robert's signature is first ... the label has always been considered a cross of old world tradition with a new world look
- there are 169 acres on the property and 155 are in production
- originally planted in 1983, and while some vines do exist from that time period the average age of the vines is only 15 years (due to a 1993 replanting)
- in 1993 a second label "Overture" was created - this is a non-vintage wine that is only sold at the winery.
- the make up of the wines are primarily 80-90% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10-15% Merlot and Cabernet Franc; and 2-3% Petit Verdot and Malbec; aged 100% in French oak for about 18 months

2005 - 2007 - 2009
The Wines:

2005 Opus One ... this grapes had the longest hang time of any of the Opus wines (November).  Nose is spicy along with blackberry, chocolate, tobacco and raspberry ... dry yet silky palate with cassis, spice, cocoa and smoke ... it's very drinkable right now - so pop the cork and enjoy.

2007 Opus One ... Pearson called this "the best vintage of this decade" although it was a difficult harvest where they almost had to freeze protect the grapes.  It is also the highest alcohol level ever for an Opus One wine.  The nose has milk chocolate and cherry and it really lures you in - it smells luscius and succulent, though if you dig deep enough you can smell the high alcohol (so don't dig too deep).  The palate has big fruit of both the red and dark varieties balanced by a rather spicy finish ... the key to this one is the sweet fruit and the nice peppery notes.

2009 Opus One ... this was the year of the rains, the most since 1934; this was also the year where Cabernet Franc made up 9% of the wine, which is the most ever used in a vintage of Opus One.  The nose has a lovely chocolate-dark fruit elegance along with hints of cherry and tobacco.  Palate shows red fruit finesse some tobacco, cigar box and cocoa also make an appearance.

Lunch ...

Sadly I did not take any pictures of the lunch - it was too good and I was really hungry after all those delicious wines ... though I did take of picture of the menu if you care to see what the National Club made us for lunch:
The Bison Tenderloin went very well with the wines.

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