Posted on 18 November 2008.
There’s little doubting that many in the Wine industry regard Charlie Hoppes as one of the State of Washington’s more premiere winemakers. His passion and know-how are about as good as you can find anywhere.
When he first kicked out his original “Optu”, it wasn’t called Optu it has the name of Meritage – and while the name has changed, it still consists of a blended wine which is made to be greater than the sum of its parts.
For the first time, Fidelitas has laucnhed an Optu white wine which I find really interesting as it sets to raise the bar for Charlie and Fidelitas in its efforts to help elevate the seriousness of white wine. All too many times, in many wine circles, white wine can sort of get a bad rap – red wine snobs; jeesh.
2007 Optu White Wine:
– Vineyards: 54% Gamache Vineyards, 35% Stillwater Creek Vineyards, 11% Rosebud Vineyards
– Varietal Composition: 54% Sauvignon Blanc, 46% Semillon,
– Aging: 9 months: 40% new French oak
– Alcohol: 14.5%
– Release Date: Fall 2008
– Price: $32
Nose: Pineapple, kiwi, lemon, vanilla with hints of pea-gravel and limestone.
Taste: Flavors of vanilla-toasted pineapple rings right off the grill floods the front palate which is closely followed up with nice notes of grass, hay, lemon drops and lingers with hints of kiwi. I also get really green – raw – asparagus tips on the end as well. Excellent acid/fruit balance.
This is an exceptional white wine that really needs to be tried by those who “think” they dont’ like Semillon or even Sauvignon Blanc – the balance of fruit and toastiness from its oak aging is very well done.
2005 Optu Red Wine:
– Varietal Composition: 55% – Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% – Merlot, 6% – Cabernet Franc, 3% – Malbec
Vineyards: Weinbau Vineyard (40%), Conner-Lee Vineyard (20%), Kiona (18%), Stillwater Creek Vineyard (9%), Champoux Vineyard (9%), Boushey Vineyard (4%).
– Oak Aging: 21 months – 50% new French and American Oak
– Alcohol: 14.9%
– Release Date: Fall 2008
= Price: $40
Nose: Bell pepper, leather glove, blackberry, black cherry poprocks, euchaliptus, dry mud, clay and road-tar.
Taste: Floods of black fruit – I’m talkin, blackberry, black plum, black cherry and black raspberry – if it’s black, it’s in here. An insane amount of fruit with a smooth transition across the mid-palate into a finish that lingers for months.
This wine is has an excellent layering effect of black-fruit flavors – HUGE, BOLD black flavors in fact, I’m sure there will be folks who try this wine who won’t “get it”. Also, you’ll want to decant this wine for several hours to enjoy it at its fullest. It could easily lay down for 10 years or more but who wants to wait that long to drink good wine?