Those of you who have been lucky enough to get your hands on a hot-off-the-press copy of the annual special Auction Napa Valley edition of Haute Living, San Francisco, are familiar with the way the weekend works. Especially familiar are you, with my favorite experience of the four-day affair: The Friday night vintner’s dinner.
During this evening, wineries open themselves to a very small, select group of attendees for a specially curated dinner allowing those in attendance to leave with a better understanding of what that brand represents, past, present and future, along with a new-found appreciation for the product and the way it changes and matures.
This, my third year visiting The Napa Valley for the Wine Auction, and as our hosts reminded us, the year of the Dragon, was also the first opportunity I have had to experience this dinner at Opus One.
The widely-regarded brainchild of Robert Mondavi and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild, Opus One is in many circles considered the Rolls Royce of wines—a fitting title since the winery recently collaborated with the car giant in a unified celebration of the new Rolls Royce Ghost. And as we learned yesterday evening, the products high appreciation rate internationally and a current and active popularity in Asia, made for the perfect backdrop to celebrate the year of the Dragon in Opus One style.
Dancing dragons greeted guests as they walked down the impressive corridor that is the Opus One entrance; and as the live music created a steady pulse, guests pranced up stairs where a glass of Krug champagne initiated what would be a series of toasts over the course of the evening.
A live calligrapher kept with the evening’s theme, artfully writing each guests name on poster-size red sheets as they watched over each brush stroke. The attention to details and tradition also very Opus One if it were treated as a trending topic.
Once inside, the evening really got interesting, Opus One winemaker, Michael Silacci walked guests through the entire winemaking experience, even sharing that they pick their grapes at 3am to make sure they’re at their prime—full of water, that is.
In attendance, an interesting mix of folks from all areas and, well, areas of concentration. Ruth and Alan Zelcer of Isaco International, Haute Living CEO, Kamal Hotchandani, Opus One team members, including Roger Asleson, Vice President of Public Relations and Robert Roux Vice President of Sales and Marketing, and a small group of other participants totaling twenty-five.
All in all it was a marriage of quality of construction and appreciation of good company that resulted in the kind of night only Opus One could deliver.