Cellar Spotlight: Orin Swift

Most winemakers in the industry have personalities as bold as their wine. Dave Phinney founder of Orin Swift is surely an Alchemist. His wine is made methodically in a traditional style. I watched a few interviews on Orin Swift’s Instagram to try and get to know the cellar. I couldn’t help but smile at the giant (truly monstrous) Rancid poster followed by a collage of black & white badasses. He established Orin Swift in 1998 with the names sake as an homage to his parents. Dave’s story is succinct. He fell in love with wine while in Italy followed by a stint at Robert Mondovi in California – Orin Swift was born.

Dave Phinney hit it big with two flagship blends Mercury Head and the Prisoner. Yes, THE prisoner which we also sell at Dodici. However the trade secret is currently owned by the Prisoner Wine Company. Despite not owning a vineyard Phinney utilizes numerous blending grapes from around Napa. Today there are several blends worth checking out.

What I love most about this brand is everything ties together. The imagery on the bottle sets the tone and the wine is pleasing to the palate. Balance your evening out with bold, bougie food – good times just happen.

Dodici’s Orin Swift offering.

Our first Orin Swift feature is a Chardonnay called Mannequin. This is just a badass wine. The bottle is elegant, the label is edgy and the wine is beautiful. The pour is a golden straw color with an ABV of 15.2% so, it packs a punch but, is balanced with intimate florals and a citrusy zest. On the palate you will taste silky caramel thanks to the French oak barrels with notes of peach and pineapple. Mannequin will pair best with Dodici’s peach caprese, spinach & artichoke dip, or the arugula salad. Since Mannequin is so bright I would choose the Scampi, Funguy or the Maestro as the perfect accompaniment!

I never had a problem calling a wine jammy. To me, jammy combines a sweetness with a lip-puckering, almost sour finish. Our next Orin Swift offering – Machete is the perfect wine for a Petite Syrah fan. The wine is a stunning violet hue. As it opens up the nose is greeted with hints of plum, espresso, and black pepper. The ABV on this heavy hitter is 16.1% which allows the drinker to experience bright acidity. Due to the bold nature of Machete I would consider pairing this wine with sweet. As always the Meat & Cheese board is simple decision. Pizzas like the Maestro, Dottore and Fresca Due (pro tip add figs and balsamic drizzle) will elevate the Petite Syrah’s fruity nature. I would not recommend pairing this wine with a red sauce dish. Machete’s high acidity and tomato wont quite balance each other out.

Lastly, Dodici offers Orin Swift’s Mercury Head at $150 a bottle. Do not let the price drive you off from this studly wine. The bottle simply emblazoned with an early 20th century Mercury Head dime piece. Hence the name. The wine is a classic Napa Valley style Cab. Be prepared for rich tobacco, chocolate, and leather aromatics accompanied by blueberry, dark berries and caramel. The ABV listed on the wine fact sheet is 16.1% – another sky high alcohol content but, again balanced with brightness and tannins. Since Mercury Head is such a show stopper I would plan to savor it over the course of your Dodici dining experience. I would start with an earthy beet salad, a simple yet savory Classico or Mia Margarita and finish with decadent chocolate chip cannoli.

Have you tried any Orin Swift wines? Make your reservations at Dodici today.

*All Orin Swift information was taken from Orin Swift websites, wine spec sheets and their Instagram*

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