Tag Archives: Orin Swift

David and Goliath: The Independent Winemakers

22 Jul

I’ve been a long time fan of small, independent wine makers. It’s easy to see, by my reviews.

With the independents, you can find great personality, unusual choices, sometimes chances being taken that can be greater highs and perhaps greater lows. But the highs can be mind-blowingly good, and create loyalty amongst followers. Even more importantly, oenophiles find amazing VALUE and personalized service from independent winemakers. For example, I can’t call Prince Robert of Luxembourg (the owner of Chateau Haut-Brion) personally, but I can call up Jason Moore or Blair Fox and ask for a case of wine to be shipped in time for Thanksgiving, and get it! You might even find something you like as much as that second growth/premiere cru. At least, you can find things that you will adore to come back to time and time again, affordably!

Here are a couple of resources that might point you in a direction to try:

The Observer’s David Williams’ “California Wine: Why the Independents Rule”

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/feb/15/california-wine-david-williams?CMP=twt_fd

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/technology&id=9201811

http://www.winesnw.com/news_reviews/archive-goingsolo.htm

 

Here are MY personal favorites from the USA for right now.

http://www.orinswift.com/

http://moduswines.com/

http://www.blairfoxcellars.com/

http://ripkenwine.com/

These are winemakers who have thrown a stone from a sling and hit time and time again, square in the temple. They might appear small, but they are powerful, equipped, and skilled winemakers! Over a period of months, Dave Phinney exploded from anonymity to fame based on one wine. Who will follow? Only time will tell.

What are YOUR favorites independent winemakers from the USA?

à votre santé!

Orin Swift’s Abstract 2011

23 Jan

Abstract Wine 2011 Red Blend by Orin Swift Cellars, Napa, CA

Deep violet color with ruby edging. The nose is plum with hints of wildflowers, cedar, clove, and anise. Huge fruit initially on the palate: raspberry, blackberry, with a slow finish that features gravel and peppercorns. After that initial taste, I decanted a glass and was quite pleased with the way the wine opened up, pushing the fruit back and introducing structure and balance that was previously absent. Decanting also allowed me to detect additional floral and red fruit in the nose, a touch of cacao and oak on the wine’s finish along with some welcome tannins. As always I suggest you drink responsibly, noting this wine features a high alcohol content at 15.2%.

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The bottle states “Red Blend” and I noted it tasted like syrah and grenache with a small amount of cabernet. The Orin Swift website says it “is a blend of Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah primarily from hillside vineyards.” As you might guess from my notes above, I highly suggest decanting. Found locally in Columbus, OH at $29/bottle, online as low as $23/bottle. I enjoyed this wine over several days after decanting, but preferred Swift’s Papillon even more. David Phinney is a winemaker to follow and watch, his work is fascinating, unusual, and delicious.

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à votre santé!

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