Opus One Dinner, Four Seasons Maui, May 6
This dinner offers a taste of five Opus One vintages, with Opus winemaker Michael Silacci there to tell you about the wine.
Courtesy Four Seasons
Upfront: This costs $350 a person, and you have to get to Maui to try it.
Still, you may want to be one of the three dozen folks who have a seat at the table when the Four Seasons Maui hosts an Opus One Dinner, May 6.
Opus One winemaker Michael Silacci (below left) will be bringing along five vintages of California's most noted Bordeaux-style red wine: 1981, 1995, 2001, 2005 and 2007.
Opus One was the creation of Napa wine pioneer Robert Mondavi, who teamed up with Baron Philippe de Rothschild to create a California red that could equal a great Bordeaux. With its first release, the 1979 vintage, it became California's most celebrated (and often most expensive) wine.
Accused of inconsistency in the early years, Opus One has settled into a firm reputation now that it has its own mature vineyards. Silacci (formerly of Stag's Leap) has been its winemaker since 2004.
With the wine comes a four-course dinner, served under the stars on the Four Seasons' oceanfront lawn, created by the resort's executive chef Roger Stetler.
Opus One may have a certain restraint and elegance, but there's nothing quiet and delicate about it. It's a powerful red wine. We talked to Stetler about how you create food that will stand up to an entire dinner of Opus.
"With a full-bodied, heavy wine, you have to enough fats and intense flavors," said Stetler (below right).
He's not shy. He's kicking off with foie gras. "It seemed perfect," he says. Since chocolate flavors seemed also to go well, he created a syrup of aged port and Mexican chocolate. This comes, believe it or not, with parsnip ice cream. "We're having this with the '07, which is young for Opus, but has opened up well," says Stetler.
To make seafood that will stand up to a big red, Stetler is simmering buttery lobster and baking it with steamed white truffles. Coupled with the '05 Opus.
To really do things big at the entree, Stetler is putting braised oxtail (tender, pressed, smoothly textured) on the same plate with crackling Kurobuta pork belly on a dark acai berry reduction, the acai being full of chocolate and blackberry flavors and low-acid for a berry.
There are two wines with the entree, the oldest, '95 and '81.
Dinner will be preceded by champagne and hors d’oeuvres and concluded with an array of seven desserts and selected cheeses. You're unlikely to go home hungry.
"I'm looking forward to it, it's exciting," says Stetler.