...vivid bright and deep purple, with bold aromas of dark, ripe cherries and blackberries on the nose.
All it took was a conversation with a California winemaker’s son over a dish of pasta in Florence for Dave Phinney to truly find his calling. Studies on an experimental Arizona vineyard, extensive tasting at a local retail shop, and a summer job working the harvest at Mondavi Winery educated and prepared Phinney for all of his future winemaking endeavors. He pulled together a few thousand bucks, purchased two tons of grapes, and put together a wine called “The Prisoner” — the rest is history.
That history has seen Phinney’s wines land in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines seven times in the last 11 years. He’s mastered the technique of blending — “revisit, revisit, and revisit again” is one of his mantras — and that mastery is showcased in “The Prisoner.” That same blending expertise has now toured the world, as Phinney’s “Locations” project has brought wine lovers — and WineAccess members — to Italy, France, California, and now Oregon.
The philosophy behind “Locations” is simple: “make the best possible wine from a given country or location.” The story begins in 2008, when a friend advised Dave to explore the incredible winegrowing region of Maury, France. Stunning landscapes and ideal growing conditions led Phinney to buy 300 acres in this Southern French gem — and hatch the idea to take this notion of “Locations” worldwide.
Phinney’s pursuit of a flawless marriage of soil, climate, and grape-growing eventually led him to the Willamette Valley. Whereas Burgundy’s Grand Cru sites are planted halfway up south-facing hillsides, most of Willamette’s best vines are rooted in volcanic and nutrient-rich lower slopes. Grapes bask in the high mid-day sun and warm temperatures, while nights are quite cool, helping the fickle Pinot Noir grape retain its natural acidity.
Some are calling the Willamette Valley’s 2015 vintage the best year yet; Antonio Galloni’s Vinous quoted producers calling it a “pinch me: I think I’m dreaming” type of vintage. Pinot Noir from the 2015 vintage seems to be cut from the same cloth as the phenomenal 2014s but with a more pronounced richness similar to the 2012s. But unlike 2012 and 2014, there was no disease risk whatsoever in 2015, making for clean and healthy grapes throughout the valley. Sugars were naturally high as acids remained firm, making for Burgundian-styled Pinot Noirs packed with vivid Chambertin-like concentration.
The Locations Pinot Noir OR5 Willamette Valley is vivid bright and deep purple, with bold aromas of dark, ripe cherries and blackberries on the nose. The palate is intensely fruit-driven, with layered flavors of maraschino cherry, pomegranate, and stewed raspberries overloading the palate. Slight spice and earthy forest floor combined with supple tannins lead to a strikingly long finish.
To the WineAccess members who have quickly snapped up our other offers of Phinney's “Locations” releases from France, Italy, and Napa, we’re glad to be able to offer you a pre-release exclusive offer of his Locations Pinot Noir OR5 Willamette Valley.
To those of you haven’t yet followed along as this “Value Winemaker of the Year” and “The Prisoner” creator tours the world in search of “Locations” worthy of his blending talents, what are you waiting for? Just $19.99 as WineAccess is first to market, but our tiny allocation of 900 bottles won’t last long; there’s just too many of us who know what Dave Phinney can do.
Dave Phinney has again given us a wine that is representative of its terroir. This is not This wine is not one you want to lay down in the cellar nor does it have the subtle nuances of a Burgundy. Rather you drink it for its hedonistic pleasure now. Full bodied with excellent fruit and a nice smooth finish. Very good value for a well made, if non-traditional, Pinot Noir.
The bold flavors on the nose are almost overwhelming--the wine smells as though it's going to be unbearably sweet. It's not, although it's very fruit-forward and probably won't appeal to fans of a more restrained style of Pinot noir. It finishes lighter than it starts. We liked it---but we favor fuller, fruitier Pinots.
I have been happy with several other Orin Swift wines and Locations did not disappoint. I will watch for it again.
Great Pinot for the price.
I keep being underwhelmed by the gazillion Orin Swift offerings. I think he has extended himself too much and is using tricks to win over folks...vanilla?...not sure exactly what it is but I keep finding a quality that i find in cheaper bottles I get served at dinners where they buy grocery store wines.
Disappointing. Nice fruit, very soft tannins for a velvety finish. Lacks backbone/depth. Seems to me it's as good now as it will get. A bit pricey for what it is.
Not indicative of Swift's capabilities with Zinfandel and other full bodied reds. This is a poor example of Oregon Pinot noir.
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