If you read wine magazines you will recognize the type of article I am about to describe, which I hate with a passion: it’s usually an account of some vertical or horizontal of obscenly expensive, celebrity labels like La Tache, Ch Mouton, or Sassicaia and how great it all was. Then they go on to describe nuances of the various vintages, or maybe special vineyards. Who cares! As if we will ever sample even one of them let alone the whole shitload the author experienced, most likely precisely because he/she is an author for this “prestigious” magazine. For car enthusiasts, such articles are no different than those ubiquitous write-ups about handling and performance of $ 360,000 Lamborgini’s, or the latest Bentley you find in those magazines. Fantasy articles seem to be a daily staple in the magazine world.

So now that I got this out of my chest let me tell you all about my experiences with Opus One, that horribly expensive Mondavi-Rotschild venture I have hitherto had precious little experience with, because I don’t spend the kind of money required to acquire such knowledge. But a good wine friend of mine, a generous one who has, is giving me access to his stock.

So far we tasted 87 & 88. There will be more in the future. Stay tuned. The 87 was quite intriguing. Hints of tobacco & bacon on the nose and palate, well structured, and with a healthy acidic, food friendly finish. It was reminiscent of a Loire red such as Chinon, and made me wonder whether Cab Franc was somehow more pronounced in that vintage. The 88 was OTH as I call them in my tasting notes (over the hill). Typical Southern Napa eucalyptus nose, fruit already quite deficient, the skeleton that reamined to be tasted drinkable but undistinguished; another testament for those who claim Napa reds don’t age as well as Bordeaux.

Does Opus really have something going for it, or is it an overhyped marketing phenomenon dreamed up by two of the best bullshitters on each side of the Atlantic that ever came along in the wine world? I don’t know. As I said earlier, there will be more for me. As my opinions evolve, hopefully I will share them with you.

M Senegor