January 14, 2008

Opus One Vertical Tasting

Whenever I get the chance to taste the original, 'ultra premium wine' at a good price I'm all over it, and once I found out the local wine store was having an Opus One vertical tasting, I couldn't wait.

1984 Opus One:
Very dark, almost brickish color in the glass, the '84 is over the hill. Completely devoid of fruit, there are smoked meat aromas on the nose. Some bacon fat and slight hints of cedar. Would have been nice to taste at it's peak.

1986 Opus One:
Very dark, nice shade of red in the glass, this wine is still excellent but I think it's on the way out. Savory aromas of herbs, oak, licorice and cherry meld together to fill the nose, leading into a pleasing mouthfeel with currant, a bit of leather and cherry. Nicely structured this wine finishes with soft, whispering tannins.

1987 Opus One:
This is one of those enlightening experiences every wine lover lives for. I believe this wine is at it's peak right now and it's amazing. Vibrant dark red in the glass, the nose on this wine had me spellbound. Notes of mint, tobacco, oak, and dark red fruit intertwine together in perfect unity. I could have sat smelling this wine for hours. The mouth is pure velvet, with complex flavors of currant, herbs and plummy, leathery undertones that leave you wanting more. Still a little grip, this might have a few more years left.

2004 Opus One:
In stark contrast to the parents, this wine is such a baby and is very hot and tannic, but it could grow up to be something great. A dark garnet color, there are the usual suspects on the nose- oak, nice berry fruit and hints of herbs. Massive in the mouth with nice structure and balance, the flavors are the same as the nose with a finish that falls a bit short. This has good potential, but at the release price, it's hard to justify the purchase.

All in all it was a great evening, but I don't think I'll be scouring the secondary market for any older vintages. I would love a few bottles of the '87 but I think they're fairly scarce and fetching too much money. With the standard of Opus set so seemingly high, it's a shame they routinely get out-performed by other less expensive wines. What will the future hold for the brainchild of two winemaking legends?

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