We have nothing but nice things to say about this abundantly aromatic Pinot Noir with notes of raspberry tart and cranberry sauce on the nose, followed by sage and forest floor. The palate speaks softly but carries a big stick, with a nice chewiness and an earthy lift to the opulent fruit and gentle tannin.
It's long been official – Dave Phinney of Orin Swift is a phenomenon. Whether it's the throngs of people we see jammed in his Saint Helena tasting room all summer long, or the constant stream of great press about his projects – not just in Napa, but around the world – this guy is on a serious roll. The fire that he sparked with The Prisoner shows no sign of abating. Phinney's genius was simply to perfect and popularize something that already had deep roots in California wine: the "mixed blacks" wine of yore—sweet-fruited, dark as night, served in a whiskey tumbler. His wines are unapologetically ripe, hedonistic, and just plain delicious. Simple as that.
Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels (42% new), the 2018 Pinot Noir Slander has a pale to medium ruby-purple color. It springs from the glass with notes of raspberry tart, cranberry sauce and rhubarb pie plus hints of Provence herbs and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is softly spoken with a nice suggestion of chewiness to the texture and an earthy lift on the finish.