Friday, December 17, 2021

Eight Years in the Dessert 2019

Eight Years in the Dessert 2019 - Big Bold Red Wine Flight for festive holiday party

Alec and Vivianna hosted a holiday party and we dropped in late following the wrap-up of our own holiday dinner gathering. All our kid's and their kids were gathered with several of their friends and families.

Alec assembled a wine flight of bold expressive reds - all in magnums for holiday festive cheers. I've written often in these pages about the fun of serving wine in large format bottles, and the benefit of collecting them for long term aging and cellaring. See Wine Bottle Sizes...Bigger is Better - Right Bottle Sizes...Bigger (or Smaller) is Better.

He also served a selection of craft beers and some special whiskys.

I've written often in these pages about our fun with the Venge labels and their predominant "V", which we serve in tribute to daughter-in-law Vivianna. The Scout's Honor red blend is a crowd pleaser, one of the labels we served for our festive Thanksgiving dinner

I opted to taste the Orin Swift "8 Years in the Desert" label. 

The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. 

Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, he founded Orin Swift Cellars 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 brand to what it is today.

Orin Swift has a broad portfolio of bold expressive wines - all with unique, distinctive, and in some cases weird or even creepy names or labels.  You be the judge ...

Some of his labels take the artistic label to almost an extreme such as Orin Swift Machete, which features twelve different labels with photos of a Black woman sporting a machete in repose on an old Cadillac in very positions. 

Taking the labels and branding to an even further extreme, his new label, a premium blend of California Cabernet, Syrah and Merlot, Face Value, which I have yet to see or taste boasts "96 different labels, all of which depict a person with true value".

Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert 2019

This is a Zinfandel Blend with some Syrah and Petit Syrah - three bold expressive varietals all together. What's not to like? Unless you defer to 'wimpy' wines. Lisa Perrotti-Brown of The Wine Advocate gave this 93 pts.

Garnet purple colored, medium full-bodied, not graceful or well behaved, full round concentrated, the ripe spicy brambly black and red fruits are overtaken by pepper and creosote with notes of cinnamon, clove, white pepper and graphite with earthy tree bark turning to chewy bold tannins on a long finish.

RM 90 points.