Opus One | The Food Party! | Laura Stec | Mountain View Online |

Local Blogs

The Food Party!

By Laura Stec

E-mail Laura Stec

About this blog: I've been attracted to food for good and bad reasons for many years. From eating disorder to east coast culinary school, food has been my passion, profession & nemesis. I've been a sugar addict, a 17-year vegetarian, a food and en...  (More)

View all posts from Laura Stec

Opus One

Uploaded: Aug 29, 2016
It’s cold around here. While our friends and family back east suffer record heat and drought, I turned on the heat tonight.

I get all unseasonally-snuggly cuz it’s cold, and open a nice, red O.P.C from Buoncristiani; gift from a good friend. And the label reminds me…. wait a minute - I got a dinner invite last night from a guy who’s going to open some original, 1979 & 1980 bottles of Opus One.

Can YOU say Food Party!?

“In the crazy days before I was married…” that’s how our conversation starts.

The next part of this wild story, about how he gets the wine, has to wait because, well, it just has to wait for right now, but then I ask,

Is it a Cab?

“It’s Opus One,” he says.


- photo by the guy

So I know Opus One. I mean, I know the name and it’s important because….....well..... ........ ok… I don’t really know why.

From Opus One


Château Mouton Rothschild winemaker Lucien Sionneau and Robert Mondavi’s son Timothy made their partnership’s first vintage at the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1979.

In 1981 a single case wine sold for $24,000 at the Napa Valley Wine Auction – the highest price ever paid for a California wine.

In 1982 Robert Mondavi and Baron Philippe de Rothschild designed the label. The partners agreed to a name of Latin origin, easily recognized in English or French. Philippe chose, “Opus,” a musical expression denoting the first masterwork of a composer. Two days later he proposed an additional word: “Opus One”.

The 1979 and 1980 vintages were simultaneously unveiled in 1984 as Opus One’s first release. Opus One then became known as America’s first ultra-premium wine, establishing a category of wine priced by the bottle at $50 and above.



My guess… the wine got all a’buzz because it was the early collaboration of wine behemoths, like Bono singing with Bennet. The wine sold for a lot, not because it was so great, but because a rich friend supported the cause. But that price set brand identity, and it lives as legend ever since.

But is it a Cabernet?

I checked the web and still don’t know. Note my gracious host doesn’t actually confirm yeah or neh.

Anyone?



And what if it IS so great?



Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Bill Boos, a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks,
on Aug 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

This is way too easy, but then you may have made it that way deliberately to elicit comments -- you clever one. Opus One is described as a Bordeaux style blend and a red Bordeaux blend from that region is primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Lauralies, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Bill Boos, you are a quickie. Thank you. I didn't actually see the grape, but then I was excited to write, and I know Food Partiers! are smart. Someone would know.

And why, it's you.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by thomasf2220, a resident of St. Francis Acres,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 1:49 am

thomasf2220 is a registered user.

It looks really great. I like the way you explained the history of it. interesting . The picture is really good too. A perfect lifestyle blog it is.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by The Guy, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

The '79s might not be so good. They might have been done in 2014. The 1980 bottles are supposed to be good until 2020.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Lauralies, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 7:11 am

Thanks we better open those '79's!


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by John D, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 8:42 am

Warning: Wine Geekiness ahead....

The interesting thing about Opus one is that it has more of the Bordeaux varieties that the typical Napa "Meritage" blend. It includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The only one missing is Carmenere.



 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 4:34 pm

We like geekiness John D, especially with this wine.

Does anyone know why this wine was/is so highly prized? Was it really that amazing, or was it just a result of the lucky advertising of selling for so much early on? I assume wine bottles have gone for much more since 1981. I wonder what the highest is now for a bottle of CA wine?

A quick search shows Opus One 1980 bottles going for $160, $300, $450 and $999. Didn't find any $24K.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by John D, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 6:24 pm

My opinion is that it' 50/50. It's a really good wine, but at least half of the appeal is the marketing hype.

I think there are better options from Napa Valley- For example I've had the 1997 Bryant Family cab, and I think it's far better than any of the Opus One vintages I've tried. Almost unbelievably concentrated and lush.

Having said that, I'm more an old world wine guy and prefer more food-friendly wines. I tend to avoid the RP high score wines and go with wines that pair better with lighter fare.



 +  Like this comment
Posted by John D, a resident of Woodside: Kings Mountain/Skyline,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 6:32 pm

Don't know what the record is for most expensive CA wine. I did find this 1.5 liter bottle of 2012 Screaming Eagle for $14K:

Web Link

Still doesn't come close to DRC!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Aug 30, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Coit Tower through a wine glass, eye-catching photo from high in the Fairmont.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura Stec, a resident of another community,
on Aug 31, 2016 at 7:46 am

Interesting John D, thank you.

And Musical, good peg - I am impressed at your geographic agility. I thought this photo came out rather nice myself


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Laura, a resident of another community,
on Aug 31, 2016 at 6:40 pm

Screaming Eagle doesn't sound like much of a story. I guess this is a lesson in marketing, this week at The Food Party!



Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:

Follow this blogger (Receive an email when blogger makes a new post)

SUBMIT

Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

You Dirty Little Thing
By Laura Stec | 10 comments | 14,153 views

Celebrity chef pulls out of BFD Menlo Park; to reopen as new concept
By Elena Kadvany | 6 comments | 6,072 views

“Housewife” a Journey of Transgender Marriage
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 2,314 views