Orin Swift’s Proprietary Blend The Prisoner, the stuff of Legend

Geez the stuff of legend? Really, you may have been asking yourself as you're reading this review. But according to many that is exactly is what this wine represents. Frankly, this is the first time I have ever been able to try this wine for myself and boy right out of the bottle, no decanting needed this wine is a game changer.

I have read about it many times and have always wanted to try, but no samples were fourth coming to this humble little wine reviewer from San Diego. I this purchased from the Wine Vault and Bistro here in San Diego, where I purchased the last two on the shelf for a about $32 each.

Now, you may have heard of this wine before or have seen it on the shelf yourself and wondered what is in the bottle as you won't find a description on the bottle, except one phrase "Red Wine", which is not very descriptive at all. I guess your just suppose to just know or pick up your cell and give them a call or look it up online.

With that said here's the 411 on what's in bottle, this wine is predominantly Zinfandel with a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah blended in, and its composition varies year to year. If you are a huge fan of Zinfandel like me, than you'll want to get your hands on a few bottles of this wine. As it's right up there with the best California Zins which can cost twice as much. This means in my book, that this wine earns the coveted QPR award from the Cuvée Corner Wine Blog for being easy on the wallet and plush on the palate. What else could you ask for?

Many folks are also interested [or puzzled by] in the very different label artwork, which features a man in chains. The image is inspired by an original etching depicting a prisoner in chains Dave Phinney received as a gift from his mother and father (Orin and Swift) and thus you have Orin Swift Cellars Wines. This disclosure also highlights from where the name of the winery is derived. If you are interested Orin Swift also has four other labels and they are Mercury Head Veladora Papillon and Saldo. I will warn you right now, those other labels are quite pricey, so if you fall in love with the Prisoner and seek these other labels, remember you've been warned.

Swirly, Swirl: In the glass this features a lovely garnet colored core, segueing to a cerise toned rim.

Sniffity Sniff: On the nose you will find generous high-toned raspberry, blueberry and red cherry fruits, violet-floral, candied plums, creamy oak, and an overall sweet appeal, that really draws you in and is verified on the palate.

Slurp: Stated simply, this wine is plush and ripe, a decadent wine with excellent structure and great complexity and a deep consistent finish. A more precise note from the winemaker, "this wine has a creamy vanilla canvas, toffee and blue berry notes are scrawled over the mid-palate while the flavors shift toward sweet pomegranate and deep red fruits flavors", okay I agree. The finish is lingering and never less than silky, and the mouth watering acidity keeps the wines fruitiness from overstating itself.

Composition: The 2007 Prisoner blend is 50% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah and a dash of Charbono and Grenache or should I say it appears they threw in the kitchen sink as well. Regarding Charbono, I have to admit that variety was new to me and I had to look it up.

The Vineyards: Grapes are sourced from Oakville in Napa, California

Price and ABV: This wine sells anywhere from $32 - $38 and weighs in at 15.2 %, which I worried about a bit initially, that it would be a little hot, but nothing could be further from the truth. Smooth barely describes the way this wine glides across your palate, a beam of seamless perfection from the first pour to the last drop.

My Recommendation: Run out and grab yourself a few of "The Prisoner" for yourself, you won't be dissappointed. It is a wonderfully well built wine that will age nicely for a few more years. A great wine to give as a gift to someone you know who's maybe afraid of "Red" wine, or that White-Zin drinker you know or just a great wine to have around for when you may want to impress friends or clients.

This wine sells in the thirty dollar price range which a great deal for the caliber of wine you are getting. What ever the case you will enjoy this wine immensely, but don't take too long as this wine sells out quickly. After tasting this and sharing with my wife, the only Prisoner being held is my palates affection for a wonderfully well built and delightful wine, until next time sip long and prosper, cheers everyone

Other Voices: According to the Wine Spectator: This wine offers both style and structure, with lively aromas of black raspberry, cracked pepper and mocha, with plush and layered flavors of wild berry, fresh sage and licorice. Ripe tannins sneak in on the finish. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Charbono and Grenache. Drink now and drink oftern, the folks at WS scored it 92 pts.


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