2017 Orin Swift 8 Years In The Desert
John Rittmaster for Prima Vini Wine Merchants:
Once again our good friend, winemaker David Phinney, has mixed wine with performance art to great effect in his stunning return to the grape that first inspired his genius. I am not entirely sure about the imagery or iconography surrounding 8 Years In the Desert (and a trip to the website proved only more confusing) but Dave calls his return to making Zinfandel his most personal wine to date and, perhaps, his most important and I believe him. From a vinous standpoint, one thing is for sure, Phinney sure knows how to rock the Zin. Here he’s blended it with Petite Sirah, Syrah and a mysterious tincture of other grapes to create a wine of incredible personality and the panache that will remind Phinney Phans of the first Prisoner, the wine that turned conventional thinking about Zin on its ear. There’s drama here- the irrepressible richness of a compote of mixed berries and brambly spice too, like the canes of a blackberry patch in late summer, and hints of white pepper, vanilla bean, bitter chocolate, freshly turned earth, all kinds of things! Phinney’s wines never lack for the unique alchemy of the master blending and this might be one of his biggest triumphs. Smooth and delicious, it’s a wine whose finish goes on and on and will taste great alongside big, bold, highly-flavored meats and cheeses as well as all by its lonesome, the preferred way of many phans to enjoy their Phinneys. Just arrived, we suspect our allocation will disappear in very short order.