Wine Review: Orin Swift’s The Prisoner 2008

Dave Phinney’s story is one of the most unique and admirable in today’s wine industry.  After graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in Political Science, Phinney began pursuing his team by working harvest at the Robert Mondavi winery.  The next year he began Orin Swift Cellars with just two tons of purchased Zinfandel grapes.

Orin Swift has now become one of the top, if not the top, cult wineries in Napa.  Their flagship wine, The Prisoner, which made the winery famous has recently been sold to the mother company of Quintessa.  We are anxious to see what happens to the brand and the blend as the winery goes through some big changes the next couple of years.

However, we are now reviewing 2008.  Which we found to be a fantastic vintage for The Prisoner, one of our favorites.  The wine is composed of 46% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Syrah, 10% Petit Sirah, 2% Charbono, and 1% Grenache.  The wine is a deep dark garnet hue.  On the nose hint at cherry, vanilla and new oak.

The flavors and mouth feel of The Prisoner is what really gives this wine its character and personality.  Round and soft on the front palette, dark berries and a slight caramel taste fill your mouth.  A perfect touch of acid rounds out the wine and leads into the very soft and supple tannins on the finish.  For a soft wine, the finish is long with the perfect balance of dryness and fruit.  One of Phinney’s best vintages to date.

Decanted’s Wine Rating:  2.75 glasses

The other guys ratings:
92 points, Wine Spectator
90 points, Wine Advocate (Robert Parker)

Buy Orin Swift’s 2008 The Prisoner
$35 at decantedwines.com, 10% discount on a case.

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Posted on June 8, 2010, in Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Got a bottle of 2007 for Christmas so I came out here to read about it. The wine is quite wonderful and helped me laugh a bit more when I read about this nice man, Dave Phinney, who “began pursuing his team by working harvest.” Who knows what will happen when he starts pursuing his dream!

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