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About this Episode

Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier, and Robert Tas review the wine list at Opus, named one of the top 91 restaurants in the world, and has earned the Wine Spectator Grand Award consistently for over 20 years. This is no easy task because their cellar holds over 52,000 bottles. Luckily, Michaela navigates the list and finds a range of bottles that will satisfy the palate, whether you are looking for a quality, value wine, a special bottle, or a unique wine from a rock-star winemaker.

Wines reviewed include:

  • 2019 Rotem & Mounir Saouma Inopia Blanc, Rhone Valley

  • 2005 d’Arenberg “The Dead Arm”, McLaren Vale, South Australia

  • 2015 Vincent Giardin, Volnay, Vieilles Vignes, Burgundy


Transcript: Opus


RT: Hello and welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where, in each episode, we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Michaela Quinlan, certified sommelier.

Hello Michaela, it’s great to be back together for another episode.

MQ: Hi Robert!

RT: Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.  

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list. 

RT: Today we are talking about Opus Restaurant. Located in Toronto, this upscale and modern restaurant combines Mediterranean, French, Asian, and Canadian cuisines with their standout wine list. 

Michaela, I can’t wait to hear what do you think of their wine list?

MQ: Opus has been named one of the top 91 restaurants in the world and has earned the Wine Spectator Grand Award consistently for over 20 years. Their cellar consists of over 52,000 bottles. You will need time to review the stellar 2,300 selections. Come enjoy today’s selections in their main, private, and courtyard dining locations.

RT: That’s really great, as you looked at the list did you see anything jump out at you?

MQ: The first wine that caught my eye was the 2019 Rotem & Mounir Saouma Inopia Blanc from the Rhone Valley of France. The blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne, features aromas of tropical fruit, such as pineapple and kiwi with notes of white flowers and clove on the round finish. A perfect companion to sushi and seafood.

RT: That is for sure unique. Did you find any others that caught your eye right away?

MQ: A favorite producer instantly caught my eye. Consider the 2005 d’Arenberg “The Dead Arm” from McLaren Vale in South Australia. This 95 point rated, organic Shiraz is truly a standout. Dead Arm is a vine disease that affects many vineyards, where branches, or arms, die. However, d’Arenberg maintains these vines because they find the grapes that are grown on the remaining branches of the vine maintain incredible characteristics. The 2005 vintage is rich with ripe prune, plumb, and blackberries, along with smoke, earth, spice, and minerality. This is a perfect red wine to complement herbed proteins.

RT: So Michaela, their list seems to have lots of range but was there anything that you would say is a “must-try”?

MQ: Let’s head to Rias Baixas in Spain for the 2017 Albamar, Pai Albarino. This light to medium-bodied white wine features bright acidity, lime zest, mango, and apricot, along with notes of saline and minerality on the creamy finish. This is a beautiful, dry, white wine to pair with seafood and spicy dishes.

RT: These are some great calls. So you know I’m getting thirsty and will need to order a bottle with my dinner, where would you guide us?

MQ: Since Opus features menu items with French influences, consider the 2015 Vincent Giardin, Volnay, Vieilles Vignes, from Burgundy, France. This Vieilles Vignes, or ‘old vine’ Pinot Noir can stand up to all richly sauced dishes. The ripe tannins, ripe black cherries, and blackberries, with notes of spice and minerality of this complex wine make it a winner for the table.

RT: Ooh, Terrific. Michaela, speaking of price, sometimes people have a budget in mind. Any other great value wines you’d point us to? 

MQ: Portugal has never disappointed me with wines of excellent quality and value. One to consider is the 2021 Carm White from the Douro region of Portugal. This blend of Codega de Larinho, Rabigato, and Viosinho is light and dry with notes of lemon zest, grapefruit, tangerine, white flowers, and a mineral finish. This white wine is crisp and refreshing, making it an excellent pairing for shellfish and seafood, or as an aperitif.

RT: That sounds great. What is your other value selection?

MQ: The next wine is truly a unique wine. The 2020 Merkin Vineyards, Chupacabra, from the Buhl Memorial Vineyard, in Wilcox, Arizona. The name of this vineyard may be familiar to some 90’s rock fans. The wines are produced by Tool front man Maynard James Keenan. The grapes in this blend consist of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache from the 70-acre Buhl Memorial Vineyard and showcase ripe blackberries, plumb, smoke, tobacco, and cassis, with notes of lavender, sage, clove, and cinnamon. This is an incredible, limited-production wine of excellent quality and value to pair with richly sauced proteins and pasta. There is also an excellent documentary about Maynard James Keenan’s crossover from rock star to winemaker that is great fun called ‘Blood into Wine’ that you should consider as well.

RT: Now Michaela, what if I have a big client dinner or special occasion where I want to take it up a notch?

MQ: With so many exceptional wines on this list, it was difficult to make a selection. One to consider to add to any special occasion, along with richly sauced dishes,  would be the 2013 Sine Qua Non Syrah from the Central Coast of California. Sine Qua Non has been creating limited-production, Rhone varietal wines since 1994. The 2013 Syrah blend has received 98 points from Robert Parker and showcases ripe blackberries, ripe raspberries, smoke, leather, minerality, and rich, round tannins. Notes of cinnamon and vanilla are also present, as this wine spends several months in French oak. A limited and special wine to add to any occasion.

RT: Michaela Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Opus’ wine list. I can’t wait to go try them myself. 

To our audience, thank you all for joining us here on CorkRules.

If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@CorkRules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. 

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.


Thank you.









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