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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Tasting: Opus One

Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week as part of our reports on our recent California trip we stop at a Napa Valley landmark.

Opus One means many things to many people. With a bottle of its Bordeaux blend commanding $180 and its Scott Johnson designed winery building commanding the valley floor near Oakville, everything the winery does sets a tone. Formed from a partnership hatched in 1978 between Robert Mondavi of California and Baron Philippe de Rothschild of France, Opus One consists of just 169 acres. It is a property that looms large on the wine scene if for nothing more than it establishes heights for others to scale.

The winery uses only new French oak of medium to medium heavy toast. Each has its center section stained with juice by the winery crew, as is the practice at Chateau Mouton Rothschild. The vines are planted to a French style density. The blend of grapes used each year varies as winemaker Michael Silacci looks to come up with the signature that best fits the vintage.

The 2004 Opus One consists of 86 percent cabernet sauvignon, 7 percent merlot, 4 percent petit verdot, 2 percent cabernet franc and 1 percent malbec.

The result is a wine with subtle touches of dark ripe berries, with slight amounts of spice, cocoa and some firm tannins. For Opus One fans this wine promises a solid ability to age gracefully for years to come.

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