The Orin Swift journey started with Zinfandel, the varietal that would launch winemaker Dave Phinney onto the world stage in a big way. Today, when we think complex, drinkable Zin, those edgy, artsy Orin Swift labels are always front of mind. From another excellent growing season in California comes this boisterous yet elegant wine with plush layers of strawberry preserves, stewed plums, raspberry pie and round, ripe tannins. The long, earthy finish will leave you thirsty for more, so make sure your oasis is fully stocked.
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.
The exact proportions and origins of the 2020 Zinfandel Blend 8 Years in the Desert are deliberately kept fuzzy by the winery, but the wine does include Petite Sirah, Syrah and Barbera in addition to Zin. Aged in roughly half new oak, the nose brings an overlay of vanilla to a core of ripe blackberries. Full-bodied and open-knit, it adds briary, herbal notes on the palate, plus a bit of cracked pepper. Soft, dusty tannins mark the finish, along with hints of mocha and bittersweet chocolate. Drink it over the next several years.