Greetings and happy Monday to you all. One of the great Napa houses known for intense and full-throttle red wines, Orin Swift crafts some exceptional wines that are not for the weary. Orin Swift Cellars was started in 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, and he later landed a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. In 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. Starting with two tons of Zinfandel and not much else, David spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand.
The new wines were really outstanding across the board. The 2016 Orin Swift Machete (WWB, 93) shows a beautiful texture, sumptuous fruit weight and compelling complexity. A true heavyhitter, the 2015 Orin Swift ‘Mercury Head’ Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 95) is one for the cellar. Deep and rich, the wine has wonderful acidity and gobs of dark fruits. Learn more about Orin Swift’s strong lineup at http://www.orinswift.com. Here are some of the gorgeous release wines by Orin Swift.
2016 Orin Swift ‘Blank Stare’ Sauvignon Blanc- The nose has enticing aromas of honeysuckle, Honeydew melon and starfruit with a touch of baking spices. The mid-palate mouthfeel is seductive as the wine reveals lemon curd, cantaloupe and pink grapefruit flavors with a touch of butter. Drink 2018-2023- 91
2016 Orin Swift ‘Slander’ Pinot Noir- This deep colored Pinot Noir wine begins with aromas of cherry cola, bramble and wild blackberry aromatics. The texture to this wine is lovely as this reveals sexy flavors reminiscent of red cherry starburst candy, orange rind, rose water and suggestions of pomegranate puree. Lithe and rich, this great effort will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2018-2028- 92
2016 Orin Swift ‘Abstract’ Red Wine- The 2016 ‘Abstract’ by Orin Swift is an intense blend of Grenache, Syrah and Petite Sirah which was aged for 10 months in 35% new French oak prior to bottling. This begins with bright aromatics of milk chocolate, sagebrush, black tea and black olive. The texture of this wine impresses as the wine glides across the mid-palate. Black tea, blackberry jam, and mocha flavors impress, as does the extremely long finish. A bit tightly wound, give this at least an hour in the decanter to fully develop. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2016 Orin Swift ‘Palermo’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 Orin Swift ‘Palermo’ Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 10 months in 35% new French oak prior to bottling. This deep colored Cabernet starts off with red bell pepper, sage, blackberry pie and suggestions of coffee grounds. Silky and wonderfully textured, the wine has a nice poise despite the 15.4% alcohol. Black tea, asian spices, blackberry jam and creme de cassis flavors impress. This is another gorgeous effort by Orin Swift and superstar winemaker David Phinney. Drink 2018-2028- 93
2015 Orin Swift ‘Papillon’ Red Wine- This exceptional bottling is a silky blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec which was aged in 40% new French oak for 16 months prior to bottling. This begins with beautiful aromatics reminiscent of blackberry cobbler, black cherry, boysenberry cordial and milk chocolate. The palate is smooth and seductive, revealing a wonderful combination of weight and tension. Blackberry jam, Black Forest cake, cigar ash and Turkish coffee flavors complete this outstanding bottling that shows some very nice balance in a hot vintage. Drink 2018-2030- 93
2016 Orin Swift ‘Machete’ Red Wine- You are immediately drawn to the highly compelling aromatics of this wine. Sweet pipe tobacco, dark chocolate molten cake, and blueberry compote aromas come to mind. Despite obviously high alcohol, this is highly poised wine as the tension shines through. Deep mocha, anise, creme de cassis and blueberry pie flavors impress. Seductive and intense, give this beauty at least a two hour decant before enjoying in its youth. Delicious now, this wine will cellar well over the next decade. Drink 2018-2028- 94
2015 Orin Swift ‘Mercury Head’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2015 ‘Mercury Head’ by Orin Swift is a stunning bottling by superstar winemaker David Phinney. This intense wine had heady aromatics of mocha, crushed mint, creme de cassis and anise. The palate is lithe and seductive as the wine reveals uber-dark fruit flavors of mocha, anise, creme de cassis and red bell pepper. This incredible wine will cellar marvelously for decades. Try to resist this intense and seductive wine for another year at least. Drink 2019-2333- 95