An inky, dark garnet sits in the glass with bursting aromatics even from afar—ripe blackcurrant and blackberry with hints of Kirsch, Madagascar vanilla and cigar box. Velvety and rich on entry and through the mid, the wine offers flavors of dark plum, blueberry and notes of fennel, fresh leather and a subtle minerality. Plush, layered and dense, the wine finishes with dusty tannins and a lingering touch of black cherry.
Orin Swift is the brainchild of a brilliant young man by the name of Dave Phinney. His Midas touch with grapes from seemingly anywhere in the world, is unusual, but the brilliance of the wines, his creativeness and unparalleled blending talents have built an incredible portfolio right out of the gate. He only started Orin Swift in 1998 and just recently sold it to the huge Gallo enterprise. Readers looking for personality filled wines of considerable character and complexity need to check out the Orin Swift offerings. They are not shy wines in any respect, but the quality is obvious, and if you are like me and believe that a wine is to be judged on just how delicious it is, you will be as impressed as I have been with the Orin Swift products.
My daughter was about 3 years old and I was walking through the vineyard with her on my shoulders. A butterfly flew by and she pointed and said, "Look, Dad, Papillon." I was like, wow when did you learn French? I had been thinking about my next label and I knew I wanted a prison style tattoo on somebody's knuckles. It clicked. Papillon is eight letters. I love the juxtaposition of this beautiful French word on these really gritty hands. I got one of our growers to be our hand model. He's one of the nicest guys and an old-school farmer, and we wanted that farmer's hands look. The photograph was taken by Greg Gorman, who shares my passion for wine.
Papillon is our Cabernet-based blend that's composed of all five Bordeaux varieties. The goal was to incorporate all the majesty of Cabernet Sauvignon with the subtleties of Cabernet Franc and Merlot and the power of Petit Verdot and Malbec.
92+ Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (robertparker.com)
The 2016 Papillon Proprietary Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged for 15 months in 45% new French oak. It has a deep garnet-purple color and features exuberant black and red plums, cassis and boysenberry scents with touches of pencil shavings, mossy bark and cast iron pan. Medium to full-bodied, firm and finely grained, it has a seamless structure supporting the elegantly played fruit, finishing on a lingering menthol note.
Orin Swift Cellars are an incredibly exciting and creative winery to work with. In short, the brilliance of the wines, creativeness and unparalleled blending talents have built an incredible portfolio with minimum words and maximum impact. Every wine is carefully crafted from start to finish, including the state of art labels.
Dave Phinney (Winemaker) - "Like so many, I stumbled into the wine business. On a lark, I travelled to Florence, Italy to study abroad for a semester. While I was there I was exposed to, and fell in love with, wine. Back in Arizona I had been studying Political Science and History with a post-graduate plan to attend law school… but, after my time in Italy, the die was cast. I returned to the States, graduated from university, and four days later moved to the Napa Valley. I had sent my resume to fifty wineries in the Valley and only one replied: Robert Mondavi. I showed up to my temporary harvest position interview wearing a suit and tie. They literally laughed at me, gave me a very basic math exam and asked if I could pass a drug test. A few weeks later I was hired.
I spent the harvest of 1997 working the night shift – The only Anglo on an all Latino crew. When they realized I was there to work hard they took me in, gave me a nickname, and showed me the ropes. I loved it! But I quickly realized that if I was going to work this hard, eventually it would have to be for myself. The very next year I started Orin Swift. Orin is my father’s middle name and Swift is my mother’s maiden name. The first vintage in 1998 was less than spectacular. It was a tough harvest, and I bought fruit from the wrong part of a great vineyard. I learned first hand that, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.” The truth is, when it comes to winemaking there are no silver bullets, no secrets. We as winemakers are only as good as our fruit source.
Our winemaking philosophy then was the same as it is today: find the best fruit from the best vineyards. Farm it right, harvest it right, bring it into the winery, and don’t screw it up. Thank you for reading my story and I hope you enjoy my wines."
California is the largest and most important wine region in the US – in fact, if California were a separate country it would be the world’s fourth largest wine producer! California stretches along the west coast of the USA meaning that soils and climates vary enormously depending on the area’s altitude, latitude and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Generally the cooler regions closer to the coast are most suited to the growing of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, whilst further inland (where the climate is much hotter) some of California’s most famous Cabernet Sauvignon wines are grown. The famous Ridge Estate is located here and produces some of the best and most sought after wines in California. If you enjoy Chardonnay, we highly recommend you take a look at Liquid Farm Winery, whose Chardonnay’s (we believe!) rival those of Burgundy.
Zalto Denk-Art Bordeaux Glass
For weightier style reds we recommend the Zalto Bordeaux glass, probably our most widely used glass when tasting in house, this glass is great for many different wines. The large bowl helping aerate and soften tannins whilst accentuating the wines depth and concentration. The Bordeaux glass is the ideal choice for Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Zinfandel, Bordeaux or Rhone style blends and many other red wines. Surprisingly, it is also the glass of choice for oaked Chardonnay as well, the shape of the bowl accentuating the balance of ripe fruits and oak.
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