Brand new release from Orin Swift! Inaugural vintage of the Blank Stare, a delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Russian River Valley.
A blend of 95% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Semillon, it offers big tropical fruit notes on the nose with a subtle herbal nuance. Once it has a chance to breathe, the flavors are ripe and balanced with peach, pineapple, fig, white stone, butterscotch, baking spice and persistent clean minerals. The laser-beam focus is held together by loads of mouthwatering acidity. Fermented in 40% French oak and 60% stainless steel, the wine is rich yet fresh all at once.
Proprietor Dave Phinney told us with childlike glee about the Semillon that makes this wine extra special. He was told by the powers at Gallo to, "Go find whatever fruit you want." Well, he came across a parcel of 127-year-old Semillon vines in the Montebello vineyard! The complexity and depth of flavor contained in this special group of grapes really puts Blank Stare over the top.
D66 is the new release from Orin Swift's winery and vineyards in Maury, France.
93 Points Robert Parker: "A blend of 80% Grenache, 15% Syrah and a splash of Carignan, the 2014 Cotes Catalanes Grenache D66 IGP spent ten months in roughly 30% new barrels. This inky colored, downright sexy 2014 offers terrific notes of blueberries, blackberries, violets and chalky minerality. Big, concentrated and textured, yet still playing in the more elegant style of the 2014 vintage, this beauty will drink well for a decade....Winemaker Richard Case has been making terrific wines in almost every vintage now; he continues to fashion rich, full-flavored, gorgeously textured wines, eschewing the ridiculous trend towards making mid-weight, lean, so-called food friendly wines. These latest 2014s are up with the crème de la crème of the vintage."
The small town of Maury is in the outer Roussillon very close to the Spanish border and nestled in the Pyrénées-Orientales where owner Dave Phinney owns approximately 235 acres of mostly Grenache vines with a little Syrah and Carignan. The majority of the vines were planted more than 60 years ago, with many of the vineyards being even older. The terrain is dominated by black schist with a couple small deposits of Granite and Limestone in red rocky soils known as Angile. Schist is a crystalline rock based soil that retains heat well but is poor in organic nutrients and nitrogens. In other words, these vines really have to struggle. The result is a very dark, concentrated, and rich wine.
The Orin Swift 2014 D66 has a very dark, opaque red color with subtle aromas of toasted oak, ripe blueberry jam and dried rose petal. The entry is mouth coating and lush. Opulent plum and ultra ripe cherry are balanced with asian spices and a bright vein of minerality and acidity that give great structure, weight and balance to the long finish. The tannin chains are long and will lend to ageability for 5 to 10 years. A delicious blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan.
Shatter is a delicious collaboration between Dave Phinney (Orin Swift Cellars) and Joel Gott. Highly recommended.
Shatter comes from the small town of Maury in the Roussillon region of France. The hillside grenache vines were planted over 60 years ago in black schist, a slate-like, rocky soil common to the area. Though nutrient-poor, it retains heat well, allowing the slow-ripening grenache to reach full maturity through cool nights. Tough soil, strong winds and hot days push the vines and cause shatter, or coulure, in the grape clusters, naturally thinning fruit from the vines and producing more intensely concentrated flavors. After harvest, the fruit was cold-soaked for 30 days to help further concentrate the wine, then fermented and aged at Dave's winery in Maury.
previous vintage 92 Points Robert Parker: "A collaboration between Napa's Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, the semi-opaque Cotes Catalanes Grenache is a smoking blend of 100% Grenache that comes from the singular, black schist soils located around the village of Maury, in the Agly Valley in the Roussillon. Aged in French oak (a small part being new) and hitting 15.6% natural alcohol, this sexy, full-bodied, pedal-to-the-metal effort bears plenty of resemblance to the old-vine, 100% Grenache efforts coming from Chateauneuf du Pape. Kirsch liqueur, blackberry, toasted spice, garrigue and hints of vanilla bean all flow nicely to a seamless, silky, yet decadently styled red that has fine tannin, and a blockbuster, heady finish. It will certainly not appease those looking for lightweight aromas and flavors, but count me a fan. The oak is still present, so give it a year in bottle; it will drink nicely for another 5-6 years."
Brand new release from Orin Swift! Palermo is a fantastic buy in Napa Cabernet under $40.
A stunning, true-to-form Phinney wine: rich, dense, concentrated, fruit-forward and velvety. Each year, they purchase more Cabernet grapes than they need for Mercury Head and Papillon so they can have a virtual palette of vineyards and corresponding "spice rack" elements, if you will, to choose from to make the perfect blends. When their selection runneth-over and some of the sums of the parts behave more positively on their own, they deserve to be bottled separately and that is how a new wine was born, Palermo. 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc blend selected from Howell Mountain, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Spring Mountain vineyards.