Winery: Progressive winemaker David Swift Phinney was “introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked” during time spent in Italy in 1995, upon his return to the States he took a job as a harvest worker at Robert Mondavi. It was there that he decided “that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself”, and in 1998 Orin Swift Cellars was founded [Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name]. Today the company has grown into an international brand that includes 300 acres in southwest France along with projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations. However, his mission still remains a small, “passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine”. He is renowned for wines that “are unapologetically full-flavored and intense, yet with a backbone of structure that holds it all in place”.
Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from Napa Valley sub-appellations Oakville, Rutherford, and Howell Mountain, and include top vineyards such as Stagecoach and Morisoli. Aged for 16 months in French oak, of which 40% was new. Phinney designs all of his iconic labels, the Papillon label is a photograph by artist Greg Gorman.
Tasting Notes: Inky red-violet in colour with aromas of jammy fruit, vanilla, oak and peppery spice. An assertive wine that tells you who it is on the first sip. Big, bold flavours of black cherry and raspberry glide atop a current of chocolate ganache and earth elements. Super smooth tannins lead the way to the lengthy finish of sweet raisin and toasty oak notes. Enthusiastic and driving, the flavours are clear and well integrated, becoming like a big overstuffed leather chair that envelops you. [And that soaring 15.1% alcohol level is fantastically nowhere to be tasted, so do watch out…]
Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc
Bottled by Orin Swift Cellars
Enjoy now thru 2020
Rated 95 points by Wine Advocate