A birthday wine – the ’99 Opus One

Last night’s wine was, among others, the ’99 Opus One. A gift from my good friend Nick, he insisted, “Denise, you must open this wine on your birthday”. Who am I to argue?  

opus-001I was having a small dinner with a bunch of wine professionals and their partners so I thought it would be fun to do a blind tasting and see what they guessed. The verdict was half New World, half Old World. Ana thought it smelled Old World but tasted New. Penny was thinking Old World, Nigel was convinced it was Italian. Funnily enough, it was the partners of Penny and Eleanor who came up with the the main varietals and provenance, guess they must be paying attention to all that grape talk. I think it’s quite apropos that a wine made jointly by Robert Mondavi and Baron Phillippe de Rothschild should exhibit the best of both New and Old World wine.

The wine was lovely, savoury on the nose, heavy minerality, graphite, lead, lots of secondary aromas. I have to admit I didn’t take notes, just busy inhaling the aromas. On the palate it was still quite fruity, loads of rich, ripe plums and black cherry, smooth, round tannins but plenty of acidity still left, the finish was nice and long, a really delicious wine. That’s all I remember. Well, what do you expect after a couple of bottles of champagne? I’m glad I remembered that much. A great wine with great friends, what better way to spend a birthday.

For the record, the ’99 was a blend of :

Cabernet Sauvignon 84%

Merlot 7%

Cabernet Franc 5%

Malbec 3%

Petit Verdot 1%

Retailing online in The States for about US$250.


  1. Happy Birthday, Denise! What a way to celebrate! Sounds like the wine was delish! Start a new year off right!

  2. I’d love to taste this wine…

    • I do consider myself lucky to have been able to try it! I do have some younger CA wines which still need to be drunk….

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