Orin Swift

Wine, and art, go together. Go to any ‘vernissage’ (French term for preview of an art exhibition) and guests will be cradling a glass of wine whilst they take in the visual feast. Wineries that feature art aren’t uncommon. And art on wine labels – well, there are quite a few examples. Mouton Rothschild’s depiction on its label, of one great artist’s work every vintage – from Picasso to Gu Gan, comes to mind immediately.

A new entrant to wine is David Phinney, a would be lawyer who, after an epiphany in Italy, decided he wished to make wine in California. His wine labels feature art. They are unconventional, or if you were the slightly inhibited, you might deem the art work as bizarre. The fact is, Phinney’s labels are memorable (marketers strive to make their labels stand out so that consumers can remember the wine, especially when the wine sits on a shelf in a sea of other wines). Not only that, Phinney’s wine is quite good!

Phinney has chosen Orin Swift as the name of his brand. And wines go by the names of Machete, Mercury Head, China Doll, Blank Stare, Mute, Papillon, Trigger Finger, etc.

From a wine point of view – the wines stand on their own. Here are some tasting notes

Mannequin Chardonnay – Fresh ripe lemon, stone fruit and Madagascar vanilla, smooth velvety textured in the mouth, firm finish with some soft acids, lightly warm with hazelnuts and very long. Would you hug this mannequin?

Palermo Cabernet Sauvignon – Lots of dark fruit and small red fruit too. Herbs and spice nicely incorporated with very smooth tannins but still with the typical Cab power and weight. Does it bring back memories of my visit to Palermo? …. perhaps.

Slander Pinot Noir – Elegant with all the aromas of a fine pinot made from ripe fruit. Some florals, and sesame. Lovely smooth tannins.