2022 Orin Swift, 8 Years In The Desert, Napa Valley, CA

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From the grape that started everything OSC, the ‘desert’ gave us an opportunity to explore the diverse range of California’s grape varietals. But, as soon as those eight years were up, we had a plan in place to pay homage to our home.

Zinfandel holds a very special place in our hearts; it is one of California’s signature grapes, easily associated with the state. Suited to the warm growing regions across the west coast, we focus on finding great vineyards that produce Zinfandel to our liking. There’s a perfect window when picking Zin—pick it too early and you end up with a thin, “green” wine; pick it too late and you risk a stuck fermentation; pick it just right...well, that’s our goal. Sourced from vineyards of pedigree, such as Stefani, Barrelli and Monte Rosso, the 2022, sixth iteration, exudes the ethos of Eight Years in the Desert: a heart and body of Zinfandel with added nuance and complexity from Petite Sirah and Syrah—the quintessential California Red Wine. 

At first glance, the 2022 Eight Years in the Desert looks to be almost black, but after closer inspection, a dark crimson starts to shine through with a tinge of purple on the rim. The nose is rife with notes of ripe blueberry, black plum, wild raspberry, espresso bean, sweet oak and a hint of crème de menthe and cedar. The entry is akin to walking through a tunnel of velvet walls with blackberry jam, reduced strawberry and a touch of rhubarb. Bright acidity throughout the palate, the wine closes with round, ripe tannins, fresh pluot and dark chocolate.

BLEND: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah  MATURATION:  Aged for 6 months in French Oak, 32% New

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.