Sunday, August 18, 2013

Opus One Pride Highlight Anniversary Dinner

Opus One Pride Highlight Anniversary Dinner

To celebrate our anniversary, we dined at Sullivan's Naperville with dear friends Beth and Bill C. For the occasion I pulled from the cellar a wine befitting the occasion, OPUS One. I chose a '96 vintage following our horizontal tasting from that vintage the other night.  Also, that was the vintage we tasted on our first visit to OPUS during our Napa Wine Experience 1998. To round out our dinner feast we selected from the wine list Pride Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Prior to dinner Bill and Beth treated us to Tattinger Champagne.

The wines were all spectacular and paired perfectly with the food. Naturally we all dined on Sullivan's aged prime steaks - Bill the mushroom stuffed filet with Bordelaise sauce, Beth had the filet, Linda, the filet with the peppercorn cream sauce and I had the filet, artfully prepared 'Pittsburgh' style with lobster tail surf and turf. The spinach and dinner salads were perfect. The chocolate and berry deserts were spectacular.

We added cheddar au-gratin potatoes and creamed spinach side dishes.  Aaron provided superb service - cordial, attentive, informative and gracious in decanting and appropriately handling of the wines. The finale to the gala evening was a cellar tour (pictures coming).


The joint venture of the two masters of these top wine producing regions, Baron Phillip Rothschild of Mouton Rothschild from Bordeaux and Robert Mondavi from Napa Valley. I admit I've often considered OPUS as over-hyped, over priced and over played, the choice of image conscious drinkers with more money than taste. Tonight, OPUS lived up to all the hype and exceeded all expectations. In fairness, I think many of our OPUS encounters that left something to be desired were due to drinking it too early, too young. Tonight, the 1996 was at its prime and showed off the best of what OPUS can be.

The Opus was dark inky purple colored, medium to full bodied. It opened with a huge nose, reminiscent of a classic Margaux from the mid-eighties. Elegant, complex, smooth and polished it was a symphony of black fruit flavors accented by harmonious tones of leather, tobacco, lead pencil and soft tones of cassis and a hint of mocha. Decanted, over the course of the evening the fruit became slightly muted giving way to classic left bank Bordeaux earthy leather, but never losing its harmonious balance. The fragrant finish continued to linger for minutes.  

RM 94 points. Had the fruit held, I would have given this a 95.

Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

We visited Pride Mountain Vineyards and Winery high atop Spring Mountain of the Mayacamas Range overlooking Napa Valley to the east, and Sonoma Valley to the west during our Napa Valley Wine Experience back in 1999 and again in 2003. We've enjoyed Pride since and often 'gift' Pride to friends on special occasions. Being huge fans of rich concentrated extracted mountain fruit, we hold Pride Cabernet going back to the mid-nineties. We love the Spring Mountain expression of terroir which I believe is as complex and flavorful as the other popular mountain appellations.

So it was a tall order to select a wine that would complement Sullivan steaks during a special occasion dinner up against the legendary Opus One. We weren't disappointed as the 2010 Pride stood tall holding its own against such formidable expectations. All of use were pleasantly surprised by how well the Pride showed, especially given its youth.

We decanted the Pride before serving. It was bright garnet colored and was full bodied with complex, nicely balanced bright vibrant forward expressive ripe black raspberry fruits with a layer of sweet mocha, tones of tea, tobacco and cassis with hints of vanilla and soft oak with firm gripping but manageable tannins. Delicious already, this will no doubt improve with further aging for a decade or more. I am anxious to open and compare some of our vintage bottles.

Fruit is sourced from 53% Napa/ 47% Sonoma. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, and 7% Petit Verdot.

RM 92 points.

Chateau Brane-Cantenac Margaux Bordeaux 2004

After dinner we retreated to the C's for dark chocolate mud cake and fresh berries and Bill opened a 2004 Brane Cantenac Margaux.

Bill's posted his tasting notes - "Deep maroon color. Some light floral notes on the nose. Leather, earthy and full bodied on the palate. Integrated tannins are ready to drink now."

My notes - Dark garnet colored, medium bodied, subtle earthy, leathery black cherry fruits with a touch of anise, slight floral and spice on a lingering moderate tannin finish.

RM 88 points.

Cellarcrashers ...  The picturesque Sullivan's Naperville working/showcase wine cellar ...

Sullivan's showcase working cellar.

Sullivan's working cellar interior.

Cellarcrashers, Bill and Rick

Large format Imperials - Halo, Opus ... . Party!

Cellarcrashers ... anniversary couple - Linda, Rick ...
Tie in the wine again, I hate it when that happens!