Orin Swift Cellars 8 Years in the Desert Red Blend 2020
(California) - [WA 91] [WS 90]
Regular price $50.00 Sale price $44.99 Save $5.01
About the Winery:
Orin Swift Cellars was founded by David in 1998: Orin is his father's middle name and Swift is his mother's maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multi-national brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe. In 2016, Orin Swift (the brand, remaining inventory and the tasting room in St. Helena) was purchased by E. & J. Gallo Winery. Founder Dave Phinney continues to be involved in a consulting role.
Notes from the Winemaker:
8 Years in the Desert is our homage to California. Anchored by a distinctly Californian grape varietal, Zinfandel, we have been able to source fruit from across the state and craft a wine that shows off our style. As a result of picking later than most, we have a higher risk of ‘stuck fermentations’ specifically with Zin; our methods have minimized those risks although they still remain year to year. Complemented by structured Petite Sirah and layered Syrah, this blend was carefully selected to be the fourth progression in the series.
Bright violet in the glass, the 2020 8 Years in the Desert is the epitome of our style, the reason we are even here in the first place. As it’s being poured, the aromatics hit squarely on the nose with a perception of sweetness: pure brambly raspberry juice and blueberry preserves with a hint of white pepper and High Sierra forest floor. Yet, the perceived sweetness on the nose is just that, perceived, and doesn’t carry through to the palate. Lush and enveloping with a beam of acidity, notes of blackberry pie, plum and kirsch flourish. Ultra-round tannins and lingering raspberry, the wine finishes in slow-motion.
Working with Zinfandel requires use of the Goldilocks principle — pick it too early and you end up with a stemmy wine; pick it too late and you risk a stuck fermentation; pick it just right...well, what do you think? Zinfandel tends to have more acidity compared to other grapes at the same sugar levels, therefore making it necessary to let them ripen more than usual. As a result, alcohols are rarely seen below 15% —some of ours much higher. Sourced from vineyards of pedigree, such as Monte Rosso, Bismark, Korte and Frei Ranch, the wine exudes the ethos of 8 Years in the Desert: a heart and body of Zinfandel with nuance and complexity from Syrah & Petite Sirah.
Aged for 8 months in French oak, 51% new
Ratings & Reviews91 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The exact proportions and origins of the 2020 Zinfandel Blend 8 Years in the Desert are deliberately kept fuzzy by the winery, but the wine does include Petite Sirah, Syrah and Barbera in addition to Zin. Aged in roughly half new oak, the nose brings an overlay of vanilla to a core of ripe blackberries. Full-bodied and open-knit, it adds briary, herbal notes on the palate, plus a bit of cracked pepper. Soft, dusty tannins mark the finish, along with hints of mocha and bittersweet chocolate. Drink it over the next several years." - JC (May 2022)
90 Points - Wine Spectator:
“A bold and brawny blend, offering straightforward dark berry and savory spice flavors. Ends with a peppery accent. Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Barbera. Drink now through 2030. 29,000 cases made.” - TF (Aug 2022)